Bumps and Bruises

Poor little guy with bruises and cuts.As a parent, you are no doubt always watching out for hazards and dangers in your toddler's life. You probably work very hard to avoid situations that could injure your child and may even find yourself offering words of warning frequently throughout the day. Statements like don't climb on that, be careful, you might get hurt, watch out, get down from there, and the all inclusive shrill and heeding NO quickly become part of your routine dialogue.

Unfortunately, despite all your efforts to keep your toddler accident free, they are still bound to wind up with bumps and bruises from the many calamities that it seems only a toddler can find. Often something as simple as just walking down a concrete driveway affords enough opportunity for a toddler to get hurt. It is an alarming introduction into a new world where you do not have as much control over things as you did just a few short months ago, when your toddler was completely immobile and attached to you at the hip. So what is the best way to handle all of this?

The first thing to realize is that bumps and bruises are part of growing up. Skinned knees, bruised shins, knots on the head, stubbed toes, and scraped elbows are signs that your toddler, although a bit clumsy, is interested in the world around them and doesn't place a fear of not succeeding above the desire to learn more. Toddlers do not have the ability to see danger and think feats like climbing a fence, riding their tricycle down the steps, or scaling a bookcase are just a simple part of the wondrous world they see. Although scary for a parent, there is a certain inherent beauty in this time in their life where the world is most certainly their oyster and everything is theirs for the exploring.

Part of learning about their environment is being able to test, touch, taste, hear, and feel everything around them. Toddlers are blissfully unaware of the idea of limitations and few have developed the vocabulary that includes “I can't do that.” If only there was a way to preserve this confidence and encourage this love of life without stifling it with fear.

As a parent, it is important to supervise a toddler at all times. But we must be able to recognize their abilities and allow them to learn through doing. Sometimes this may lead to bumps and bruises. Obviously, we don't allow them to climb up on the roof and jump off, but enabling them to try things for themselves so they can learn what works and what doesn't allows them to develop confidence, decision making skills, pride, and gain an understanding of their world. If we stifle this too quickly by reacting in our fear of them getting hurt, we will end up with children who are fearful themselves. It is also important to explain things to our toddlers so they can begin to realize consequence and cause and effect.

Dealing with bumps and bruises is an easy thing. You can use ice and colorful band-aids, as well as the incredible healing power of your hugs to wipe away the pain. Stocking up on Neosporin and carrying inflatable ice packs and a first-aid kit in your bags at all times will ensure you are always prepared. At some point, one of their injuries may lead to an unfortunate broken bone or stitches, and most parents just pray that it won't leave a scar. This is the easy stuff. But dealing with insecurity, lack of confidence, fear, and a toddler who grows into a child that feels unequipped to make decisions or use their own thinking process to figure things out, is not such an easy fix. It can take years and years to undo the damage. Whereas a bruise is a visible wound that allows a toddler to retell their ‘deadly' feat in detail – a bump to their emotional freedom and creative exploration can hibernate for years deep in your toddler's psyche. The best advice is to use caution when you can, contain your own fears long enough to allow your toddler to be free, and always be there with a Scooby-Do Band-Aid, icepack, or Advil when your toddler needs you.

What do you think?

Bumps and Bruises

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30 comments

  1. Profile photo of susan susan says:

    Some kids will have more bumps and bruises than others… Mine were completely different. But they will all have some at some point

  2. Profile photo of Timothy Timothy says:

    it almost always looks or feels worse then it actually is… rub some dirt on it..

  3. Profile photo of cindy cindy says:

    Children are going to have them. I have experience this with all three but we just have to provide the safety for our children and make sure we just keep a watchful eye out for them.

  4. Profile photo of Tessa Tessa says:

    My son definitely pushes limit at home because of the number of people living with us. When its just me and him he couldnt be better but add even one more person and he is a wild child. Our house gets hectic and his mood definitely reflects the current situation of the house

  5. Profile photo of melissa melissa says:

    my son is almost 2 and he is biteing me when he plays 2 times now ive said no bite and moved to play with different toys with him so far so good

  6. Profile photo of Maria Maria says:

    This information was very helpful. My youngest is two years of age and she has some of the worst tantrums that I have ever encountered with a child. Thanks to this article, I now can come up with an intervention strategy that will help her calm down and also keep me sane.

  7. Profile photo of bmattler92 bmattler92 says:

    i cant keep track of how often my son gets bump and bruise because he quite commonly has them. For some reason he likes headbutting the wall is that normal?

    • Profile photo of Sara McTigue, CLCEditor Sara McTigue, CLC says:

      Some kids just seem to be more prone to bruises. I have one fearless girl who crashes through life and has the injuries to show for it! But if your son is intentionally causing himself harm and headbutting the wall hard enough to leave marks, it’s worth talking to the doctor just for peace of mind. Kids are curious, and sometimes they just like testing their limits to see what happens, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to their safety, right?

  8. Profile photo of mommy nhoj mommy nhoj says:

    Her first bump was when she was playimg with daddy in bed. I almost cried when I saw her crying face. Her first bruise was on dec 23. She learned to stand using the tv stand and been crawling there every chance she can get.

  9. Profile photo of Theresa Theresa says:

    My 10 month old daughter fell off my bed for the first time about 2 months ago. She hasn’t fallen since.. i try to keep my eyes on her at all times, but i think she may be more cautious towards the edge now. She likes to climb on top of me when i lay down. lately she has been trying to stand while holding on to my body, but mostly she tumbles sideways and hits her head on the wall. today, i put a pillow next to the wall, she fell on the pillow and cried liked she did when she hit the wall. Trying to milk it for sure. She was fine after a couple seconds though. 🙂

  10. Bumps and Bruises lol i love this my son is only 7 months old and he seems to understand that it happens he’s trying to walk on his own and when he falls he looks at me and i tell him its ok but if he wants to get around he’s going to have falls and he’s right back up and trying. It is his father who gets mad because when he falls he thinks it is not fair to have him back up trying. But momma knows best and as long as he is not really hurt or i dont freak out he does not cry every ones happy. well bug and i that is!

  11. Profile photo of Joy Joy says:

    that’s crap…I tried to post my comment and it stopped me and said they detected a duplicate comment it appears as though ive already said that!! This is my 1st time on this sight and the 1st comment ive ever posted! whatever…I wont be posting again. What a pain.

  12. Profile photo of Joy Joy says:

    I love this article. my son is right at the age where he needs mom to let go and let him learn what works and what doesn’t. He is getting the hang of it. He listens when I say be careful, he is cautious but unafraid. Which makes it a little easier to let go. But I never thought about the affects my fear FOR him could have ON him!! There’s food for thought! Thanks!!

    • Profile photo of Melanie DenneyEditor Melanie Denney says:

      It’s hard to let go, right? But it’s necessary. I look back and think of all of the things my parents let me experience when I was a kid, and I can only imagine how scary it must have been for them.

  13. I cried harder than my little girl did when she fell and busted her lip on her activity table. She somehow got he legs twisted up and fell straight down hitting her mouth as she went. I saw the whole thing happen from just a few feet away but I was just a second to late. It bled for all of like 10 seconds and she cried for less than that but I balled for what seemed like the rest of the night. It’s easy for LO in the exploratory stage to hurt themselves from time to time. Hopefully all the booboos will be so minor.

  14. Profile photo of ProudMomma ProudMomma says:

    very important information

  15. Profile photo of TrishK TrishK says:

    Might I recommend Aquafor as an alternative to Neosporin? It’s what my dermatologist has recommended to help prevent scarring. It’s more gentle too. 🙂 Sometimes I want to Bubble wrap my baby!

  16. Profile photo of PamelaPlus3 PamelaPlus3 says:

    First boo boos are always tough!

  17. Profile photo of neisha neisha says:

    I remenber the first booboo my daughter had she was probably about 18months an i was pulling her in a wagon well she fell out an scraped her knee really bad. i felt so bad that it had happened but she still wanted to ride in her wagon

  18. My 3 1/2 year old daughter used to get more freaked out by my reaction to her falling or bumping into something that she would automatically think she was hurt no matter how small a boo boo it was, until I learned to give her the room to explore with me still watching but not reacting to her every move. Also we started telling her to "shake it off your okay" and she realized it wasn’t as bad as she first thought she gets up shakes it off by herself and goes on about her business like nothing happened.

  19. Profile photo of heps7 heps7 says:

    I swear my son feels no pain. He will fall and I won’t even realize he hurt himself until a giant knot appears on his forehead or his knee is bleeding because he very rarely cries when he hurts himself. The one thing I dread is the first broken bone because if he is anything like his daddy there will be a few. He is absolutely fearless.

  20. Profile photo of jody jody says:

    My little one is 23mos and is a climbing monkey!!

  21. Profile photo of Angela Angela says:

    Yikes, I didn’t know bumps and bruises were so common. This is my first time being a parent. I hope my 5 month old will be a good little one without all the pain.

  22. Profile photo of natalie natalie says:

    My little boy likes to run into things head first. >.< He is only crawling. I have a feeling this tip is going to be easier said than done for me.

  23. Profile photo of sukismom sukismom says:

    My daughter never got hurt until she started crawling and standing, now it seems to be everyday! No blood yet 🙂

  24. Profile photo of MLS MLS says:

    There the best!

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