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The protocol when dealing with unexplained marks or bruising on children

Date: Thursday, 14th Mar 2024 | Category: General

The Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Children Partnership would like to remind all practitioners of the protocol when dealing with unexplained marks or bruising on children. Please remember that:


  • Non-mobile babies with unexplained marks, bruises & injuries require an immediate referral to children’s social care (CSC).

Brighton & Hove – via Front Door for Families (FDFF)  – Refer a child or family to Front Door for Families

East Sussex – Single Point of Advice ( SPOA) – Report a concern about a child or a teenager

West Sussex – Integrated Front Door (IFD) – Request support or raise a concern about a child


  • Non-accidental injuries do not always present with typical bruises.


  • CSC/Police should be arranging an urgent (same day) strategy discussion with a hospital paediatrician.


  • Non-mobile babies with unexplained skin marks require an urgent/same day/night medical examination by a paediatrician.


  • Infancy is the riskiest time of life for a child, with the risk of death or serious injury from Non-Accidental Injury (NAI) , Sudden Unexpected Death in Infants (SUDI) and infectious diseases being common causes.


For reference the guidance and protocols for bruising/marks on children can be found on the Pan-Sussex Policies and Procedures Website –  Sussex Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures Manual – Unexplained injuries to young children.


For further information about Safer Sleep and SUDI please see Safer Sleep and SUDI (Sudden Unexplained Death in Infants)