Blue Spots on Baby’s Skin

Blue Spots on Baby's SkinMy daughter has big blue spots on her skin.

We first noticed blue spots on baby’s skin when we were at the hospital following her difficult delivery.

At first none of the blue spots were bigger than a quarter. Now, three months later, the largest of the blue spots are as big as my palm.

Blue spots on baby’s skin are very common. Doctors refer to them as Mongolian Spots or congenital dermal melanocytosis.

The blue spots are particularly common among specific ethnic groups. Whereas few Caucasian babies have blue spots, studies have reported Mongolian Spots in 82 percent of Japanese babies, 100 percent of Chinese babies, 96 percent of African babies. High proportion were also found in other Asian and Polynesian ethnic groups.

Since Arya is mostly Asian and a little Polynesian, the presence of blue spots on her skin is perfectly normal. The spots are caused by special cells called melanocytes which get caught deep in the skin during development.

Blue baby spots normally disappear as babies get older. Most are gone by four years with occasional cases lasting into adulthood. The blue spots are harmless and are not considered a medical problem.

Despite causing no actual harm, blue spots can be dangerous for a much different reason. So many people mistake Mongolian Spots for bruises caused by child abuse that the U.S. Department of Justice discusses the difference in an investigator’s guide to child abuse.

Uniformed day care personnel make similar errors and pediatricians are warned to look for wrongful accusations of child abuse based on Mongolian Spots.

As the blue spots on baby’s skin are not harmful, we will just let them fade naturally. However, my wife and I are both fully prepared for the first time an well-meaning, but ignorant busybody asks about the “bruises” on Arya’s skin.