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Bumps and bruises

Part of growing up

Minor cuts, bumps and bruises are a normal part of growing up. Allowing your child to explore the world around them (with supervision) helps them develop and learn. Most of your toddler's bumps will require no more than a cuddle to make them better. You will quickly be able to tell by the noise of the bang, the reaction of your child and the colour of the area affected, which are the more serious bumps.

If it looks like the bump may swell then use a cold flannel (soaking the cloth with cold water) or ice pack (but don't put ice directly onto the skin) to help reduce swelling and to cool the area for at least a few minutes.

If your child has had a bump to the head and it looks serious or symptoms worsen call NHS Direct. See the information under the head injury section for advice.

If your child is under a year old and has a bump on the head get advice from a doctor.

Head injury

One of the signs of a severe head injury is being unusually sleepy; this does not mean you cannot let your child sleep.

You need to get medical attention if:

If they are tired from what’s happened, or from crying, then it is fine to let them sleep. If you are worried in any way about their drowsiness, then you should wake your child an hour after they go to sleep.

Check that they are okay and that they are responding normally throughout the night.

Keeping them safe

Being a toddler means they are discovering the world around them. This can result in bumps and bruises. It is almost impossible to prevent every accident although there are things we can do at home which might help.

Think about safety gates, corner cushions for sharp furniture, cupboard locks, fireguards, window locks and non-slip bath mats.


My child has had quite a hard bump to the head. I have used a cold flannel on the bump.


They are tired. They have gone to sleep. This is normal after an upset.


Make sure your child is supervised.  Check regularly that they are okay and behaving as usual.

If you are still worried, contact your own surgery. If you cannot get help straight away go to the Accident and Emergency Department.