Paediatricians are often requested to give an opinion on the age of a non-accidental bruise. In forensic textbooks, the colour changes which a bruise undergoes with time are not based on research in children. The purpose of this study was to document the sequence of colour changes in photographs taken following accidental bruising in children. Fifty accidental bruises of known age in 23 children were photographed by a medical photographer using the same equipment throughout. The photographs were reviewed by a single observer, blind to the true age of the injury, who described the colours present in the bruise. Red colouration was seen in 15 out of 37 bruises which were less than one week old. Yellow colouration was seen in 10 out of 42 bruises over one day old. Aging of bruises from photographs was much less precise than textbooks imply.
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