birthmarks can sometimes be mistaken for bruises and raise questions
about child abuse. Put your mind at rest and learn what the health
professional should already know.
Mongolian blue spots also known as congenital dermal melanocytosis are
flat bluish or bluish-gray skin markings that commonly appear on babies
at birth or shortly thereafter.
They are particularly common among darker-skinned
children, such as Asian, African and those from mixed-race parentage.
The spots appear as dark blue lesions with
unclear borders and irregular shapes.
They can normally be found at the base of the spine, on the
buttocks and back but they have been known to appear on other areas
of the body such as the face and shoulders.
Occasionally, Mongolian blue spots are mistaken for bruises and questions
about child abuse arise. It is important to recognise that Mongolian
blue spots are birthmarks, NOT bruises.
Most health workers are now aware of the markings and
questions of child abuse should not arise. If they do then calmly
inform the health worker that you believe the markings to be Mongolian
blue spots but are happy for a doctor to verify that fact. Examination
of the skin is sufficient to determine that the marked areas are Mongolian
blue spots. No testing is necessary.
Mongolian spots are benign skin markings and are
not associated with any conditions or illnesses. No treatment is necessary
as they are not painful or dangerous. The bluish discoloration often
fades in a few years and is almost always gone by adolescence.