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Bruising in Children who are Not Independently Mobile

Bruising is the commonest presenting feature of physical abuse in children. Professionals sometimes underestimate or ignore the significance of bruising in children who are not independently mobile (those not crawling, cruising or walking independently). As a result there have been a number of cases where bruised children have suffered serious abuse that might have been prevented if action had been taken at an earlier stage.

The WSSCP has worked with partner agencies in West Sussex to develop guidance for professionals regarding the assessment, management and referral of children who are not independent mobile, who present with bruising or otherwise unexplained marks.

The guidance should be read in conjunction with the Pan Sussex Procedures online.

Referrals should be made to the Integrated Front Door (IFD).  A body map can be completed to annotate site, colour characteristics pattern and a number of bruises and or unexplained marks.

The decision to refer to West Sussex Children’s Social Care should be explained to parents or carers clearly and honestly. A leaflet has been developed to support this discussion. It is important to note that the explanation/discussion with the parents should only occur if this does not increase the risk to the child; in accordance with safeguarding children procedures and Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018.

Supporting documents