5 Top Tips for Bumps and Bruises

By Jennifer Bright

May 5, 2020 6 min read

Even while so many of us are staying safer at home, bumps and bruises still happen. I remember when my boys were toddlers, they had plenty of two-toddler collisions. Their personalities were so apparent when this happened: One son would usually burst into tears, while his brother generally jumped up and exclaimed, "I'm OK!"

When you're a toddler, bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes are a way of life. Luckily, when you're 2-feet-tall, the ground isn't that far away, and most bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes can be healed with a kiss. And a "Frozen" or "Spiderman" Band-Aid.

Here's what our mommy M.D.'s — doctors who are also mothers — do to help their own kids' bumps and bruises.

"Often when a child gets a minor bump or bruise, the strategy of 'pain, fear, focus' will get you through," says Amy Baxter, M.D., a mom of three, the CEO of Buzzy Helps and a National Institutes of Health researcher based in Atlanta. "First, remain calm. Your toddler won't be afraid if they know you're not worried. Second, treat the pain, and give them a distraction. When my kids were toddlers, I would grab a popsicle to put on the injury for pain. They put the wrapped the popsicle on their skin, and once they said they felt better, they ate the popsicle." Baxter invented the Buzzy Bee and Ladybuzz ice and vibration devices for needle pain and strongly recommends them for bumps, too. "Teach kids early to reach for bugs, not drugs, to treat pain!"

"I always keep a few washcloths on hand that are a dark color, such as maroon or navy," says Jennifer Hanes, D.O., a mom of two from Houston and a wellness physician at the website Dr. Hanes. "When a child is bleeding, using this washcloth will help to camouflage the blood and assuage their fears. When my kids were toddlers, I explained to them that bleeding is how our bodies clean out wounds. It helps remove the dirt and germs from our cuts. Then I explained that the scab is your own natural bandage."

"When my boys would get cuts, I cleaned them well with soap and water," says Amy Derick, M.D., a mom of two sons and a dermatologist in private practice at Derick Dermatology in Barrington, Illinois. "Then I applied a wound-healing prescription gel called Biafine. I put Band-Aids on cuts to keep the gel close to the skin."

"With six kids, we've had plenty of bumps and bruises," says Susan Besser, M.D., a mom of six grown children, a grandmother of nine and a family physician with Mercy Medical Center/Mercy Personal Physicians in Baltimore. "When my toddlers fell, I was careful how I reacted. If I panicked and made a big deal out of it, they would, too. But on the other hand, if I was calm, they'd likely stay calm, too. If you look at your toddler and say, 'Oopsie!' he will likely look at you like you've lost your mind and go right back to playing."

Dr. Rallie's Tips

"Toddlers get more than their share of bumps and bruises. Generally, kids will continue on without the need for any pain medication. I think it's fine to use ibuprofen (Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) when it's really necessary. The use of all drugs, including over-the-counter medications, carries a small but very real risk, and moms and dads must weigh the risks and benefits of using these drugs before giving them to their children.

"But which medication should you choose? While both acetaminophen and ibuprofen can alleviate aches and pains effectively, ibuprofen has the added benefit of reducing inflammation in body tissues, which might make it a better choice for conditions that involve swelling, such as a really painful bruise or a bump. Because ibuprofen is administered every six to eight hours, compared with every four to six hours with acetaminophen, it might be a better choice to use at bedtime.

"While most parents don't want to see their children suffer in any way, it's important to remember that aches and pains can play important roles in healing. In some cases, experiencing a bit of discomfort informs us and reminds us that our bodies are in need of rest and healing. If you've strained a muscle, the discomfort will remind you to rest the muscle and avoid overexerting it so that it can properly heal. Children experiencing pain from a serious bruise or a strain might not need to run and play as much as usual; they might need to rest more so that their bodies can heal." — Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H., mom of three, co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby's First Year," nationally recognized health expert and family physician in Lexington, Kentucky.

Jennifer Bright is a mom of four sons, co-founder and CEO of family- and veteran- owned custom publisher Momosa Publishing, co-founder of the Mommy MD Guides team of 150+ mommy M.D.s, and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years." She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: ElasticComputeFarm at Pixabay

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