As we near back-to-school time, I’m strongly recommending to my friends who have children with Mongolian Spots that you make sure that the Mongolian Spots are well documented with your child’s pediatrician as well as with their teacher, schools (file), and other care givers.
Mongolian Blue Spots are described by WebMD and a link on several Families with Children from China (FCC) as essentially “flat, gray-blue in color (almost looking like a bruise), and can be small or large. They are caused by some pigment that didn’t make it to the top layer when baby’s skin was being formed. They are harmless and usually fade away by school age. They are extremely common among people of Asian, East Indian, African, and Latino heritage.”
The issue is that Mongolian Spots are easily mistaken for bruises by someone unfamiliar with them. Each year parents get reported to the authorities (e.g. child protective services) by well-meaning mandatory reports who mistook the birth marks for bruises and suspected abuse.
Our first pediatrician actually poo-poo’d my request to document the Mongolian Spots, believing that “everyone is familiar with them.” I assure you that that is not the case, especially in largely white communities. For example, in a predominantly white church we use to attend, when I enrolled our children in the Sunday School program and notified them of the kids’ Mongolian Spots, the first thing the director commented was that she was glad I said something. Apparently they had been unfamiliar with Mongolian Spots and just a few years prior and had mistaken an Asian child’s Mongolian Spots for bruises and called the authorities. I am very glad I did not listen to my son’s former pediatrician.
We just received this year’s letters from the kids’ current pediatrician for their respective schools. Here’s how he worded the letter: “To Whom It May Concern: Childs_Name is a patient in my practice. He is a healthy, young man of Asian descent. He has mongolian spots on various parts of his body. These are a natural, constant appearance in his skin that resemble bruises in color and are sometimes misinterpreted. Please feel free to call my office if you have any concerns.”
We are including a copy of the article above (http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/picture-of-mongolian-spots) along with the letter. It will be given to the following people: child’s teacher, a copy for the office for each child’s file (i.e. administration/principal/director), and the church youth ministry program. We will also keep a letter for ourselves for use with babysitters, etc. Even though my daughter’s preschool heard about this last year, I like an annual reminder as this type of thing could easily be forgotten.
Last year we used this article: http://firstcoastfcc.org/mongolian-spots/ The only issue we ran into with this article is that the generic picture of a naked bottom can catch people a bit off guard.
Please get your children’s Mongolian Spots documented by his/her pediatrician and make care givers aware, in writing if possible, to avoid potential of having the spots misinterpreted as bruises.