Arch Dis Child 86:291-292 doi:10.1136/adc.86.4.291
  • Acute paediatrics

Prevalence and distribution of petechiae in well babies

  1. A J Downes1,
  2. D S Crossland2,
  3. A F Mellon2
  1. 1Newcastle General Hospital, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 6BE, UK
  2. 2Sunderland Royal Hospital, Kayll Road, Sunderland SR4 7TP, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr A J Downes, Newcastle General Hospital, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 6BE, UK;
  • Accepted 12 November 2001


Aims: To determine the prevalence of petechial spots in well babies.

Methods: A total of 116 babies under the age of 12 months were fully examined at child health surveillance clinics. The number and site of petechiae were recorded together with details of possible causes.

Results: A total of 27.6% of babies had one or more petechiae, 8.6% had two or more petechiae, and 2.6% had more than two. None of these babies subsequently developed sepsis.

Conclusions: Many well infants examined in the community are likely to have petechial spots. In this setting one or two petechiae are common and their presence should not be taken as pathological without other clinical signs. Recognition of this fact may also be helpful when examining otherwise well infants with petechiae in a secondary care setting.