HIPS Bruising Protocol updated

The Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth & Southampton (HIPS) Protocol for the management of actual or suspected bruising or other injury in infants who are not independently mobile (Bruising Protocol) has been reviewed and updated and is now available on the HIPS Procedures website.

Bruising is the commonest physical sign of child abuse. A bruise can be a sign of abuse in a child of any age but bruising in non-mobile babies is unusual and can be associated with life threatening injury.

The revised protocol includes an emphasis on injury as well as bruising in babies, particularly babies that are not yet rolling or crawling. All non-mobile babies with a bruise should be fully assessed and referred immediately to Children’s Services, even if parents feel they are able to give a reason for the bruise. Staff will give parents a copy of the ‘Bruising in young babies – Information for parents and carers’ leaflet (available from GPs and Health Staff). Children’s Services will make background checks and arrange for a paediatric assessment as soon as possible (within a maximum of four hours).

Following the paediatric assessment, a strategy discussion takes place between the social worker, police, and paediatrician, and may also include agencies that are involved with the family, before the outcome is explained to the parents.