Injuries to children's upper arms (caused by efforts to defend themselves), the trunk, the front of their thighs, the sides of their faces, their ears and neck, genitalia, stomach, and buttocks are also more likely to be associated with nonaccidental injuries.Injuries to their shins, hips, lower arms, forehead, hands, or the bony prominences (the spine, knees, nose, chin, or elbows) are more likely to signify accidental injury. You don't recall bumping into anything, but lately you seem to be bruising frequently. Most bruises form when small blood vessels (capillaries) near the skin's surface are broken by the impact of a blow or injury — often on the arms or legs. Although most bruises are harmless and go away without treatment, easy bruising can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem.
Eventually your body reabsorbs the blood, and the mark disappears. However, if you bruise easily, a minor bump — one you might not even notice — can result in a substantial bruise.
It is important to determine the ages of bruises to see if their ages are consistent with the caretaker's explanation of the times of injury.
Age dating of bruises can often be determined by looking at the color of the bruise.
It’s important to note that studies in the latter category found greater success at determining the age of bruises, which further emphasizes the unreliability of visual assessment alone.
The articles below address bruising in a wide range of populations.
Some specifically address pediatrics; one specifically addresses older adults. You’ll find both the Word doc with active links and the more printer friendly, sharable PDF version.