What’s Black and Blue and Happy All Over? Ask Your Child’s Doctor

Hi Folks — I love this exchange on Facebook about kids and bruises! Wrote one mom:

I brought my 5 year old son to the dentist yesterday and she was amazed to see that he has scratches and bruises. She said she never really sees those kinds of small injuries on kids nowadays because they play inside all day. What is happening to childhood in this country that seeing a scratch or small bruise on a 5 year olds shins is something out of the ordinary? When I was a kid my knees were always scraped and my shins were always bruised because that was just part of playing outside.

Wrote another:

I hate to admit this, making myself look neurotic, but when my son was 2, when he really started getting brave, his little legs were covered in bruises/knots/you name it. He had a few on his arms, but his legs looked (to me) awful, and I obsessed myself into thinking something must be terribly wrong–surely he had some kind of bleeding issue! A blood disorder! I finally got up the nerve to take him to the pediatrician (had to steel myself for the inevitable bad news, of course), and she looked at him, and looked at me, and said, “He has busy little two-year-old boy legs, and if he’s lucky you’re going to let them stay that way.” She also advised that I chill out before I drive us both (all?) crazy. Best advice I’ve ever gotten–and he is, to this day, covered in bruises and scratches and who knows what, because he rides his bike and jumps off everything he sees, and thank goodness he can. – Paula Kiihnl King

Wrote me:

This reminds me of the time I spoke to an advertising exec at Tide and he said kids’ clothes aren’t getting that dirty anymore. Bad for laundry detergent, bad for kids! – L

Remember when “Leapfrog” was an actual game, outside?

69 Responses

  1. Just hope you don’t have douche bag neighbors who will call CPS on you if they see those bruises and scratches on your kids’ legs.

  2. How sad. The little men in my household are forever COVERED in scratches and bruises, even in the middle of winter….and for that matter, I usually am, too! We live life to the fullest!

  3. Older son (almost 5) doesn’t have that many scrapes & bruises; this kid has remarkable balance & lands like a cat when jumping off things …yes, I allow my 5 year old to climb on things (top of a low fence, boulders, etc) & jump off. My 3.5 year old son …he’s got scraped knees & shins x 2 right now. He’s Mr Klutzy like me …runs & falls all the time.

  4. So glad the dentist and doc had the common sense to not overreact and call authorities to report child abuse. I think one of the reasons kids are no longer allow to play normally is that parents are terrified of knee-jerk reactions of doctors, teachers and day care operators.

  5. I have to say that the various doctors we’ve seen have always responded approvingly to my kids’ cuts and bruises, even the ones that required stitches. There is hope in the world.

  6. It is sad that, as parents, we have to worry about people looking down on us and possibly reporting us to authorities because our children are having fun playing and being kids! I actually have a professional acquaintance whose school called them in to talk about the bruises on their child’s shins.

  7. My parents are visiting just now and they have an iPad. My 5 yr old son has wanted to nothing but play that thing since they got here. I was so proud of him 5 mins ago when he said, I think I’ll go outside and play baseball. YAY! I didn’t even have to prompt him.🙂

  8. My 5 year old is a super brave climber and jumper off of stuff, and she always has shins that are COVERED in bruises! When she was little, I kind of freaked out about them, too… thinking that she was bruising excessively or something, and my mom and our doctor both told me I was crazy, and that bruised shins are just a part of life for an active little kid.

  9. My kids are always covered in bruises, scrapes, scratches and everything else. Amazingly no broken bones (they are 12, 10 1/2, 9 1/2, 6 and 2), though.

    My 9yo daughter, especially. It’s a family “joke” around here. I’ve lost track of the number of times she’s fallen and skinned her knees to pieces. She mangled herself one time falling off her bike into some gravel. She got herself home but there was blood everywhere and her knee was just a mess. But we bandaged it up. Months after it finally healed she fell and tore it all up again. And as soon as that started to heal… you guessed it, she fell AGAIN. That knee is going to have so many scars when she gets older.

    The fear of others overreacting isn’t necessarily a new thing (probably just magnified but our “tattle on your neighbors” mentality we have now). My mom told me when I was about 5 or so she took me to the doctor for something routine and was very nervous about all the bruises and cuts I had all over my arms and legs from playing. She kind of mentioned it off hand and the doctor (who I had from the time I was like 2 until I graduated high school at 18) just laughed and said, “I’d be suspicious if she DIDN’T have any bruises or scrapes, that’s just how normal kids look in the summer.”

    That was 30 years ago that my mom was worrying about getting into trouble about the state of her kids. And, actually, I’ve had pediatricians that have said basically the same thing about the bruises on my kids. It’s not normal for kids to not get scrapes and bruises.

  10. Well I don’t use tide, but I should buy stock in oxyclean. I’ll give myself props for that today.

  11. On an ER visit for an allergic reaction when they were hooking a heart monitor up to my then 18 month old son, I said something to the effect of “now where did that one come from?” with a grimace, referring to a new bruise (of which there were many, he’s quite the daredevil) The nurse said to me “I’d be more worried if he didn’t have any”🙂 and my sister recently asked (completely in jest) if she is ever going to see my daughter without some kind of scrape or bruise. She’s less adventurous but more prone to accidents.

  12. Our pediatrician had the same comment on our child’s bruises: “I’m more worried about the kids that don’t have any.”

  13. I recently took my daughter to her pediatrician. He had a student in that day. While he was examining her, he pointed to the bumps and bruises on her legs and said, “These are the kind of bumps and bruises we *want* to see. It means she’s running around and active.” Made me feel like a good parent for once!

    I also had a great exchange with her preschool teacher. I came in and she apologized because my daughter’s clothes were all muddy. I said, “What? Apologize if they’re *not* muddy. I want to pick her up every day and see dirt and mud. If she doesn’t get at least one skinned knee or bruised leg a week, I’ll know she’s not running around enough.” Now her teachers proudly tell me when she’s gotten dirty. And she’ll point to bruises on her leg and say, “Daddy, I was being a kid today!”

  14. I tried to do an informal research study on laundry detergent commercials using YouTube a few months ago… because I thought I noticed that the depictions of how kids got dirty had changed so radically in a couple of decades.

    I remember Tide’s “Extra Action Kid” ads from the early 80’s… “An extra-action kid needs an extra-action Tide” was the tagline, and the imagery was all of boys running around getting grass stains on their clothes. Sure, there was an occasional grape juice spill or something food-related, but mostly it was from doing sports, playing in the dirt, etc.

    Fast-forward to today, and the commercials feature kids in fashionable outfits getting FOOD on them. “Oops, Jimmy’s hotdog leaked catsup on his polo shirt” or “Oops, Jenny got chocolate sauce on her dress.” No one is playing outside, no one soils their clothing except with food and drink.

    SAD, I say. Just sad to me. And a definite commentary on American life and how it has changed.

  15. When I took my 3 year old son for his routine checkup last year, the doctor actually asked why his legs were covered in bruises and scrapes! ????Aren’t they supposed to be? I ‘d be a lot more concerned if they weren’t!

  16. I took my 3 year old son to the doctor a few months ago for something or other. Doc looked at little boys brused knees and shins and turns to me and say “this is good, this is perfectly normal. If I didn’t see bruised knees on a 3 year old, I’d worry”. I love my ped! What made me sad is that he felt he even needed to explain this to parents! I have a big, healthy 18 year old and have been caring for kids since I was 11 years old. Bumps and bruises don’t bother me one bit, but that’s not the case with parents these days.

  17. The people at Tide now have to worry about kids eating those Tide Pods now…because they spend so much time indoors even laundry detergent looks appealing.

    Off topic, but I was at Petsmart today and there is an entire aisle devoted to “Indoor Puppy” with all kinds of pee-pads so the dog doesn’t even have to be taken outside for walks. My dogs would go bat-shit crazy without their daily walks and runs, much like my children. I am waiting for the day I go into Target and see an “Indoor Toddler” aisle….it’s just a matter of time.

  18. I didn’t have a fear about bruises until my kids were older. My eldest was 14 years old and a freshman in high school when we went “adventuring” for the day. My husband, our three kids, our daughters best friend (also 14) and myself went on a little road trip through the Columbia Gorge, we stopped at all the waterfalls, the river you name it. At one point T (14 yr old daughter) slipped on a rock while standing in the water and landed on her butt. Her friend was behind her and pulled her back up by placing his hands on the outside of her upper arms. This resulted in a bruise on her butt and small finger bruises (not dark bruises but very light like you bumped into a wall passing it).
    The following week a social worker and two police officers barged into our home demanding answers about her serious injuries. The social worker (a male) demanded to interview her in private as well as he wanted to see those bruises. When I said ONLY if there is a female officer present he accused me of being paranoid like all abusive parents and if I continued to refuse to cooperate he would have me arrested at work so every one would know what kind of person I was.
    The female officer rolled her eyes and asked if SHE could speak with my daughter in private and see the marks. I said yes. Afterwards she told the social worker that the marks were consistent with our story AND showed him the time stamped photos from the weekend to give our story more weight, including one that showed the friend pulling her back up out of the water.
    The worker insisted we were abusive and stated he would make sure we paid for the abuse if he had to watch us for the rest of our lives.
    Nothing ever came of it because the officers backed us up. But my kids have been terrified for the last 3 years about ever being seen with scratches or bruises because some “well meaning” citizen will assume they’ve been abused and get them sent to foster care.

    Later we found out that a friend from T’s PE class saw the mark on her butt in the locker room and told her mom who turned around and called the police. Her mother taught her that bruises and scratches ALWAYS mean abuse and she had stated that if a kid had marks on their thighs or butt it meant they’d been raped, probably by their father. I think some one was projecting their own past onto the rest of the world and nearly ruined our lives because of it.

    Bruises and scratches are a normal part of an active life! I won’t apologize for my kids being active and playing outside.

  19. My kids Grade 1 teacher is in the process of adopting brothers who are 5 and 6 and they have no other children. A few families from school went camping and she took notice of how bruised all of the kids shins were. She said that the last time they saw the social worker they were questioned about a bruise on one of their little boys legs and made to feel bad about it, and that sw is terrified to let them do things that might get them marked up until te kids are officially theirs. I was surprised a social worker wouldn’t mention to first time parents like them who and working so hard at giving these little boys the childhood they never had, how normal it was and that it means the boys are getting out there and playing and having fun!!!

  20. You could always tell when it was summertime by my knees. If they were covered in scabs, you knew it was summer. I got good at scraping them up, heading to the bathroom to clean them, sticking on a band-aid, and heading right back out. Good times.

  21. Can I brag on my kids a little bit? Their favorite thing to do is pick vegetables out of the garden. Their second favorite thing to do is water the garden, which they can do with almost no supervision. They’re 5 and 3.

  22. On the other hand, our boy’s bruises on his shins were almost certainly caused by bullies kicking him during recess. It’s a good thing to keep an eye out for.

  23. Reminds me of the time when my son was 4 or 5 and he was due for his annual physical. I was almost embarrassed to bring him in because his shins were so bruised up from playing hard. But to my surprise, our pediatrician was delighted to see the bruises – she said it just showed that he was a busy boy. Never worried about it after that!

  24. I have always told my son that bruises and scrapes on his legs are the sign of being a real boy.

    When my son went to the hourly daycare center at the base where I used to work, I showed one of the workers some of the fresh bruises and cuts on my son’s legs. I was worried about being turned in for child abuse. She said that scrapes and bruises on the legs were perfectly normal for an active kid. It was the kids who had no marks on their legs that she worried about because that meant they weren’t getting enough exercise and outdoor play.

  25. I have a very active son. When he was 3 or 4, he was in for a check-up, and the doctor mentioned something about “bruises all over his legs.” Thinking she was implying something, I responded with the incredibly intelligent, “Uhhhh…” and was preparing to defend myself when she said, “No, no, no. These are good bruises. I know the difference. These I like to see. Bruises on the leading edges are good. It means he’s active.”

    Yay! I love my pediatrician.

  26. I’m glad to hear the docs are still saying “I’d be more worried if they didn’t have any.” I have a now deceased friend who said she was told that, but her kids are all in their late 20’s and 30’s now and I was wondering if things had changed — not necessarily because they were more inclined to expect abuse, but maybe because kids were being so coddled that being bruise-free was the new normal.

  27. I’m glad our ped is very down to earth! I’ve yet to have to take kiddo in there over the summer (knock wood), but I doubt she would be terribly concerned. My husband is an avid bike rider, and our son wants to be just like him, so there is a lot of biking in our house. And there are the expected falls, scrapes, etc. Kiddo is only 3, so he’s still learning a lot about balance on a bike, even with training wheels. He also likes to tease the cat, which results in scratches.

  28. Our doctor is awesome. She also has three boys of her own. My wife and I have never felt apprehensive about taking our kids to her-bruises, scratches, injuries, whatever. She has been our doctor for over 10 years and knows us very well, and our kids. To contrast, I was on leave a few years ago and had to take my son in for stitches to a clinic near my mothers house. I was partially in uniform and he had a split lip and an eyebrow (trying to ‘fly’ off the bed, and he missed and caught a corner of a small bed side table). I was separated from him (and his first time having stitches) by a nurse that proceeded to quiz me multiple times about the injury and how it happened, and I found out later that the attending has asked my son similar questions as well. I was really pissed off. We never take our kids anywhere but our doctor anymore. I shouldn’t be under suspicion for letting kids be kids, or because of my (then) chosen profession.

  29. This reminds me of how I feel when I pick up a kid from preschool. The dirtier they are, the more I feel like I got my money’s worth!

  30. My youngest fell out of his tree house (only about 5 feet off the ground and definitely NOT the first time he’s fallen out of it) and broke his femur last month. Had to have surgery and now he’s off it for the rest of the summer, but he’ll be fine. It was a total fluke. My husband has proceeded to become severely paranoid. Our oldest son is now bearing the brunt of his father’s craziness–poor thing gets yelled at for doing normal 10 year old kid things, like riding his bike too fast or climbing the aforementioned tree or jumping on things. I keep telling the husband that he’s doing what kids are supposed to do and that the little one breaking his leg was not forseeable and things happen and it will be fine.

    We had a fight about it just yesterday and he went on and on about how if we end up in the ER again, then CPS will come take away the boys. I told him he was being a paranoid ass and now he’s all mad at me, but I just don’t think it is fair to take away their summer because shit sometimes happens.

  31. Sadly, we had the opposite experience. I took my daughter to the pediatrician for something that I thought was an odd mole. He looked her all over and said, “Does she usually have this many bruises?” I looked at the bruises on her shins and knees and thought, “Sure… she bumps into things, plays outside, rides her bike… she’s always got bruises.” It turned out she did have a blood disorder, ITP, and she was hospitalized that day for treatment.😦 I guess I was too lax about her bruises. Now I’m the hyper one about bruises!

  32. I call it “summer legs” and tell them that’s how I know they are having a good time and are playing hard enough. Oh, and from an earlier post about the “Big Pool Test”, my youngest (age 6) just passed yesterday. They have to swim the length of the big pool and then tread water for a minute. He is so proud to have passed and got his name up on the wall. I’m so happy because now I have graduated to the side of the pool where the Moms get to socialize with each other. Yeah, summer!

  33. @licia
    Your story is horrifying and proves that our government is far too intrusive. Whoever believes the State is more qualified than a parent to decide what’s right for a child should be strung up. Yes, there are cases of abuse out there, but this whole notion of guilty before being proved innocent is sickening.

  34. My three- and two-year-olds are always covered in assorted bruises, scrapes, and mosquito bites. My two-year-old tried to do a handstand a few days ago, and ended up with a scraped forehead. His hairdo is a shaggy bowl cut (fancy language for “I’m too lazy/don’t want to deal with the fight of getting it cut every 6 weeks”), so it is fairly hidden. Yesterday, my daughter tripped coming up the step between our family room and kitchen, and hit her face on the edge of one of our kitchen chairs. She’s currently (proudly!) sporting a black eye, and insisted on calling my parents to tell them about her newest bruise.

  35. Maybe enlist the laundry detergent companies to our cause. It would be soitenly in their best interest.

  36. I remember being proud of my constantly skinned and scabby knees. I was a tomboy and it was a great way to advertise how tough I was. I remember when I was about 15 1/2 I became interested in boys and let my scabs heal, not wanting to be viewed as “gross” by the opposite sex. Now I have a two-year old boy and I feel like I’m doing my job right, because he has scabby knees, evidence that he is out in the world exploring it and sometimes falling down.

  37. Ann, that’s not as unfortunate as all that. Your doctor was on the ball, recognized between normal and abnormal bruising (you had no basis of comparison, there’s no guilt here!), and was able to get your kid diagnosed instead of jumping to the conclusion of abuse.

  38. I was questioned by a doctor at my parents’ request. They suspected a teacher of abuse – it was a classmate.

    My sister was questioned by our parents, teachers, and doctors due to severe bruises midarm that she couldn’t remember getting. Turned out to be a minor collision in PE, that was repeated the next day. Sis did have a minor medical problem combined with very fair skin.

    I am a veteran teacher in a tough school. I’ve only called CPS twice in eleven years for an outcry, and for whip marks.

    I landed in the ER 10 times, sis 5 before graduating HS no-one called CPS. Another cousin landed there so often he knew the docs by name. No-one called CPS. Right now we have 6 kids from 1 – 9 in the extended family. Since last August there have been 3 kids having cuts on their faces glued all near the eyes, 2allergic reactions, and a couple of make sure they didn’t break something in a fall visits (family history of breaking arms, with little to no bruising and swelling makes us a little cautious about certain types of falls) No CPS visits.

  39. My kids are what some call “rough and tumble” but I consider them quite normal. They haven’t had sick visits in years and our pediatrician is happy to write down their activity levels to advise on the amount of calories they need vs. telling them to get more exercise. As others have said, he worries more about the kids who don’t get their knees busted.

    Yesterday we went peach picking at our local orchard. We go every year and the kids have perfected their picking. First, the best and biggest peaches are up high in the trees. They team up and climb in the trees (peach trees are great for climbing) and pass down or pull down branches so the other can pick. They avoid the ground level ones, the proverbial low-hanging fruit, because they are smaller, and the small branches tend scratch or poke. There are also tons of dropped fruit on the ground that is rotting and has bees on it.

    My kids were way up in a tree when I first heard the mom talking about them. “They could break their arm!” she said, and was yelling at her kids who were picking peaches that weren’t to her liking- too small, not ripe, etc. Her kids were in flip flops and complaining of stepping in rotten fruit and worried about the bees stinging them. Sure enough, one kid got stung by a bee and started screaming and they left, fruitless. Another family came by and asked if they could climb trees like my kids. The mom, who saw the disaster family just leave, thought picking peaches in a tree was a great idea. We moms gathered the fruit at the base of the trees. We both left with 20 lbs. of peaches and dirty, happy kids. Anyone have any good peach recipes??!

  40. Maybe that’s why Tide isn’t working so well on my kids’ clothes. It’s probably been reformulated because clothes just aren’t as dirty as they used to be. Conspiracy, I tell you!🙂

  41. Arizona has a license plate that says, “It shouldn’t hurt to be a child” that I hate. While I understand that sometimes bad things shouldn’t happen to kids, I soooo worry that we carry that too far as a society.

  42. I know a woman who interrogates her sons daycare whenever he gets a scratch or bruise. She needs to know when and how he got it, and who was watching him when it happened. Even if he says he got it playing floor hockey she needs to know why the floor hockey balls are so hard and why they let the kids hit them that hard, and what they are going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again. When he was five her mother-in-law took him to the playground, where he fell and broke his arm. She refers to it as “The time Grandma broke his arm.”

  43. My two youngest kids, in particular, are always covered in scrapes and scratches and bruises. Youngest carries the same affectionate nickname my wee brother did – the walking disaster area. If you can fall off it, up it, down it, onto it, into it or off it, she will! Her brother just looks like someone beat him with a stick half the time, and a stick with a nail in the other half of the time. I once saw him hurl himself head first over a fence a foot taller than him, to go and fetch a ball!

    I love that they can do this, but I wonder how long it will last. See, they just brought out new guidelines for doctors over here in the UK. Amongst them is one line that made my blood run cold. It says ”The guidance stresses the need for doctors to consider the risk of child abuse in every case they see.” Now, whilst I don’t think that doctors should automatically discount that possibility, I don’t think they should be looking for abuse in every single case, either. I can see a number of potentially very bad scenarios as a result of this new guideline. People will flood out A&E, to ‘be on the safe side’. Or they won’t go at all, for fear of being accused of child abuse. Or you could, potentially, end up with a lot of parents being stigmatised and families being traumatised because of over zealous doctors with bog all common sense.

    Frankly, all of the above worry me. I won’t stop my kids being kids, but I foresee a lot of trouble because of one line in ‘guidance’ issued by the government.

  44. I always ALWAYS interrogate my children about their bruised legs – I love the adventure stories and how they tell them – it’s no different from when they bring a piece of artwork home from preschool and I ask them to tell me about how they made it.

    Concerned? Suspicious? No way – I just enjoy listening to them reliving the excitement!

  45. If the Tide people really want to see kids with dirty clothing, they should come to Germany. My son and his friends all have very dirty clothing after an afternoon of playing football (soccer) on wet, muddy grass. All of the boys would be perfect models for “before” and “after” using Tide. They do their share of playing video games indoors, but whenever the weather’s nice they would rather play outdoors.

    I noticed a difference between Germans and Americans with regard to kids and dirty clothes. When my son was preschool age, he sometimes went to the hourly care center at the base where I used to work. Whenever his clothes were dirty from playing outside, the center workers were apologetic about the dirty clothes and would change him into clean pants or shirts. When I picked my son up from his German preschool and his clothes were dirty (which was pretty much every day), his teachers would comment on how much fun he had playing outside.

  46. Sorry, Lenore, but I can’t agree with that “bold education agenda” in your Twitter links. It’s a call for replacing all of real life with google and facebook, which are about tracking, monitoring (I though you were against constant monitoring) and marketing.

    For something good about education, try John Taylor Gatto or John Holt.

  47. I kind of miss having the spectacular bruises I used to get as a kid!

    More seriously, I remember my mother remarking how she had to take one of my siblings to the doctor as a child, and feeling quite self-conscious about the fact that my sib was covered in bruises – she worried that the doctor might think there was some kind of abuse going on. Fortunately this was a sensible doctor like the one in your second example, who said that all healthy young kids picked up bruises like that🙂

  48. My 10 and 12 year old girls and my 3 year old boy are all covered in scrapes and bruises because we let them go out and play and play and play. If it’s nice out, we send them outside, even if the girls protest because they think they need to watch a movie. I’m 30 years old and still get bruises and scrapes because my husband and I also go outside and do things. I have scars from childhood and each one of them is a good story, well not all, a couple are just me being a klutz.

    I can also say that if all of Tide’s other customers aren’t letting their kids get dirty, my kids are sure as hell keeping them in business.

    I’m not sure why so many parents today are letting TVs and video games raise their children for them and why they get some paranoid about kids get hurt or dirty. Did they forget they survived childhood?

  49. I always like your little extra comments at the end and just had to comment on this one, “Remember when “Leapfrog” was an actual game, outside?” One Christmas, my husband asked his nephew what he wanted for Christmas. He told him he wanted a game called “Backyard Football.” My husband started talking to him about how he used to play ball outside all the time and how fun “Backyard Football” sounds. He asked him what kind of things it had with it and how you play it. The child looked at my husband like he was crazy and said, “Uncle Brian, it’s a VIDEO game!” When I heard the story, all I could do was shake my head.

  50. @lexi – Me too!! I’m 29 now and my knees are pretty much solid scar tissue. On one hand, it’s kind of gross, but I’d rather have the fun memories and scarred knees than perfect knees and a boring childhood!

    It’s really nice hearing that so many pediatricians are still unfazed by normal bruising. I know when I was little my mom was often nervous about taking me to the doctor because I had the unfortunate combination of extreme clumsiness and extreme paleness, so I bruised very easily. No one ever questioned my bruises as a child, but when I switched to a new doctor as an adult, the lady genuinely thought I was a victim of spousal abuse! I’m still pale and clumsy, so I was covered in bruises, plus I had burn marks on my arms from a failed attempt at savings some baked eggplant that started to slide off a baking sheet, and scratches all over my shoulders from where my pet rats would sit. Good times.😛

  51. When I took my 1 yr old to her checkup after her birthday I was a little embarrassed about the little bruises on her head. She was good at finding things with her head when crawling and had just started walking. The doctor just smiled and said she’d be worried if she didn’t see those little bruises and not to worry, they were completely normal.

    I just had the thought yesterday at how sad I feel at not getting my kids outside to play more this summer…being 34 weeks pregnant and in a lot of pain I’m just not able to take them all the places I had wanted to and we don’t have a yard:/ I am definitely excited about next summer when I will have a 3 yr old, 2 yr old, and almost 1 yr old to watch play and get dirty. I always feel better after my kids have had a fun filled afternoon running around outside, and I am sure they do too!

  52. @Stephanie: I’m a klutz, and I study martial arts (the latter actually helps a lot with the former). I am forever covered with bruises, even at the ripe old age of 40. I pretty much look like a domestic abuse victim all the time. But once people learn that I am 1) a black belt and 2) 6 inches taller and 30 pounds heavier than my husband, they realize that really, no one is beating up on me but me, and I’m really good at it.

  53. “Later we found out that a friend from T’s PE class saw the mark on her butt in the locker room and told her mom who turned around and called the police. Her mother taught her that bruises and scratches ALWAYS mean abuse and she had stated that if a kid had marks on their thighs or butt it meant they’d been raped, probably by their father. ”

    Your butt is there to land on and thus may get bruised at times for completely innocent reasons. Heck, I’m a thirty-something and just spent several weeks with some really horrid-looking bruises on my knee, up the outside of one of my thighs and on my butt because I fell while dancing/doing a jump spin and landing really badly.

  54. My son’s friend came over yesterday evening and they decided to ride bikes. My son was trying to ride and ask me a question when he fell and got a nasty scrape on his knee. He got up, and got back on his bike. There was a little blood, but as it wasn’t running down his leg, I figured he was good to go.

    His friend proceeded to ask him if he remembered the day that he, and both of my sons, went down the wrong side of the road and hit the washboard section on the hill. All three of them, one after another, wrecked and got some cuts and scrapes. One spill resulted in a new bike helmet. The friend recounted the day with pride….they all learned something that day road conditions and keeping rubber to the gravel. I hope that they will carry the knowledge with them when they are old enough to drive cars.

  55. Your comment about Tide made me think about the persil advertising campaign in the UK where they positively encourage dirt – though they do also look at felt pens leaking or similar

    http://www.persil.co.uk/category/dirt-is-good/

  56. I love when I go to the pediatrician and he or she comments on my kids’ bruises! And my middle child/second daughter has the most of them. I’m sure the boy will catch her up someday. My oldest daughter prefers to sit and read (just like her mama), but she gets her share of fun in the sun, too. I’m just happy to have healthy active kids.

  57. My three year old son has bruises like a Thai kickboxer and is happy as can be.

  58. When I was a kid my shins were perpetually bruised and often dented. I ran and jumped on everything. It was an occupational hazard, but every scrape and bump was a badge of honor. Getting banged up, getting a band-aid and going right back out to play meant that you were tough, and cool. I look at the super-safe rubberized playgrounds around town and I’m sad for the kids who don’t get to enjoy the danger of banged shins, scraped knees and hands full of splinters.

    In fact I believe my fine motor skills were honed picking the splinters out of my hands with the point of a needle – it hurt less if I did it myself.

  59. With all current emphasis on safety even for minor things (i.e. “safety devices” to prevent a door closing, so kids won’t pinch their finger…), it is way too easy to become over concerned with minor accidents. Even when the accident itself doesn’t merit concern, then we worry about what others will think. Instead of a doctor getting me past this, it was a 3 year old and her mom.

    I was at synagogue, and my baby was happily cruising along the seats during oneg. My girl slipped, fell, and cried. A 3-year-old pointed and asked her mom what was wrong with the baby. I looked up, to find the other mom looking at me, and apologetically said, “she slipped.” I expected a grimace, perhaps an “it’s so important to be careful.” Instead I got a sympathetic smile as mom turned back to her girl and said. “The baby is learning to walk. You fell a lot too when you were learning.” So much of my new mom neurosis fell away in that moment… which is part of why I almost never miss the “tot shabbat” services.

  60. This thread reminded me of a short commercial thingie that Adult Swim had on after King of the Hill – 1980 vs 2012.

  61. I wouldn’t let my boys come in until they got good and dirty!

  62. When I grew up, during the 80s, it was sort of anticipated that you’d (any child) would fall down on something or other; off a bike, down from a tree or just generally tumbling over and that a few visits to the ER was to be expected. I certainly did. I once suffered some major facial trauma; I fell face first into a park bench after tripping on my untied shoe laces. My poor parents where basically interrogated at the hospital to establish why I looked like I had been beaten. After telling the same thing 8 times, they were satisfied that I had indeed fallen into a park bench.
    I’m sure it wasn’t all that easy for my parents to let me out again but they did. There would be bruises and cuts, falling off bike and getting back on. And I did have a few ER-visits after then as well. Later it was established that I have some motor skill dysfunction. Still, they encourage moving around, testing matters. It’s how you learn body awareness and I haven’t had any major or smaller injuries since I was 15 so I guess it worked.

  63. sanityhasleft: I strongly suspect that the paranoia about dirt and “ouchies” (minor self-limiting injuries like scraped knees) is driven by worries about what other moms will think of them. In particular, dirty clothes are associated in a lot of people’s minds with low socioeconomic status (a holdover from the days when peasants worked the fields while aristocrats stayed indoors just to demonstrate that they could afford to), so the absence of dirt is a status symbol.

  64. When “Princess Bitchface” was 9 some kid pushed her at school and she hurt her arm, when she got home and told me I asked her to wriggle her fingers- she could but a little painful, but no blood, no tears rule was enforced, so I sent her to her friends birthday party, did a “slow and throw”, picked her up a few hours later and she was whinging a bit more, but she was tired. Fast forward 4 days her complaining on and off, us telling her there is nothing wrong with her, Finally her father says ” just take her to the hospital so they can tell her there is nothing wrong with her” ( insert swear word randomly).

    she came home in plaster…..

  65. When my daughter was 6 or 7, my husband took her to her well-child visit. Our MD was being shadowed by a med student that day, and the student apparently raised her eyebrows a bit when she saw C’s bruised shins. But the MD just laughed, shook her head, and said “typical kid.”

    I always say that it can’t be spring until you’ve scraped a knee or two…

  66. Wow! Reading these comments, I think I need to find a new pediatrician for my kids….one that’s “with it”!

  67. @spitlermaggie, When my son “Satan Jr” was 2 he was doing some crazy stand up and jump into a sitting position in the bath..of course there was an accident. He came down straight onto a pokimon( I think) toy, it went where no pokimon should ever go… so I wrap him in a towel throw him in the car ( it was bleeding but not much) and rush him to A&E. I was prepared for DOCS to come in and instead the male nurse and the doctor nearly wet their pant laughing coz “Satan Jr” was screaming ” The pokimon went up my bum”. Thank god we didn’t have your dr…. lol, I totally agree you need a new one🙂

  68. The problem nowadays is that “worse case scenario” thinking is the norm. Paranoia and fear, are common place in many people’s heads (thanks to media and lack of common sense). That when they see a child with cuts or bruises, the first thing that comes to their mind is “abuse”. lol Really, “abuse”? The worse part, some people with their holier than thou attitude, and lack of common sense will report it immediately to authorities without ever getting their facts straight. This causes parents much inconvenience, and trouble. It makes normal parents become more fearful or apprehensive parents. A vicious unnecessary cycle. If I saw a kid with bruises or cuts, the first thing that comes to my mind is, “what was he doing at the time?”, NOT “who did this to him?”. Why? Because I know how kids are.

  69. Blanket of fear, ignorance, revenge and laziness. Being a CPS worker, mandated reporters do not work with us some of the time and report anything from normal bruises to healthy sexual behaviors along with suspicious abuse so that they are not held liable for a child’s risk of being harmed. Parents are irate because mandated reporters call CPS to harass and bully the parents to get the to follow whatever recommendations they want them to follow. And don’t let a parent get into a verbal altercation with a mandated reporter because more than likely you can expect CPS to show up at your door. Don’t get me wrong all reports called in and accepted have to be investigated but parents have rights and need to exercise them. Learn about the law and become more proactive in your child’s life. The other half of our reports come from the other parent, an angry neighbor or the infamous anonymous caller. Just like anything else, there is always someone who will abuse his or her power but please don’t judge us all the same way.

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