Bruising and Physical Child Abuse

Kim Kaczor, Mary Clyde Pierce*, Kathi Makoroff, Tracey S. Corey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Bruising is one of the earliest, most common, and easily recognizable signs of physical child abuse and can signal escalating interpersonal violence within a household. Early detection of abuse through recognition of bruising coupled with appropriate intervention may help to prevent future and potentially more severe physical assaults. This article provides an overview of precise terminology and definitions, contusion pathology, development and appearance of bruises, characteristics of bruises suspicious for abuse, photographic documentation, techniques to help visualize bruising, conditions that may be confused with abusive bruising, and the difficulties encountered when attempting to estimate the age of bruises.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-160
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • bruising
  • contusion
  • physical child abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Emergency Medicine


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