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My Baby Toddler Hits The Side Of His Head With His Hand

by Lori
(NY)

My baby is 14 months old, soon to be 15 months, and he continually slaps himself on the side of his head. What could this be? Could he be sick?

Lori

Baby Help Line:

Baby Hitting Head A Sign Of Illness?

When a baby slaps his head on the side continously, it might pay to get this checked out with your doctor. You didn’t say if it was just one side, but I wonder if he has an ear infection, or problems with a tooth coming in.

Some babies don’t cry unless pain is severe, but they are still annoyed by it and his hitting maybe trying to get the annoying feeling away or dull the pain he is feeling. My stepson had many ear infections as a baby, and never cried or seemed ill, but would rub his eyes. It took Mom and Dad several burst ear drums before they started to recognize the eye rubbing as a sign of an ear infection.

Babies can’t verbalize pain, or sometimes even locate it. So any repetitive unusual things like rubbing or hitting may well be showing you he is in pain.

There may be other reasons for a baby hitting his head too, such as anger or self-soothing. You can read more about babies that hit themselves, why and at what ages in this thread.

If you are sure your baby is not in any pain from infection or teething, and he has developed good social skills, such as eye contact and babbling, this is likely just a behaviour he is trying out. He will soon get bored with it, if you do not artificially reinforce his head-slapping by paying attention to it. However, if you have doubts about your baby’s social skills being in line with his age, be sure to discuss this with your paediatrician.

Hope it sorts itself out soon.

Enjoy your little boy,

Annie Desantis
(Answer approved by our Medical Reference Team)

More Babies That Hit Themselves

Find comments below.

Comments

Apr 16, 2012

re:head slapping

by: Anonymous


My 16 month old Grandson does that also! And now he hits his head with a fist or even banging it on the wall, I’m worried sick and came searching.


Apr 22, 2012

my baby hits him self in the head
by: christiana


my 9mon son hits his self in the head.I hope he is ok .what should i do?


Jul 05, 2012

Grandbaby slaps right side of face

by: GRANDMOTHER


My grandson slaps right side of face when he
does not get what he wants, but I have seen
him slapping the same side while he is walking
alone. Does anyone have an answer?


Dec 20, 2012

grandson hits himself on head
by: Anonymous


My daughter in law was just told by therapist working with my grandson who is showing signs of being developmentally delayed that my grandson hits his head to STIMULATE himself.


Feb 15, 2013

fgads
by: Anonymous


The pain a baby gets from hitting themselves in the head is accompanied by a surge of adrenaline. They’re basically just getting themselves high.


Mar 26, 2013

Also

by: Anonymous


My son is 13 mos and will hit his head on the floor a wall or even me. There is no pattern, he does it when he is upset, or happy or neither I am really worried about it and will be going to the doctor.


Apr 13, 2013

Baby Hits Head
by: Anonymous


My 9 month old baby boy hits himself on the head with his fist or anything he can lay his hands on he also bangs his head on the glass door and even other peoples heads if he gets the opportunity.
It appears he began doing this after my friends toddler started hitting him on the head with a soup laddle several times. Poor little thing was in tears. After this event its seems as though he is toughening himself up!
Its times like these you wish they could converse as I really am not sure what it is all about.


Apr 26, 2013

hello
by: Anonymous


Don’t know if anyone has noticed but is there a trend here as all the comments are regarding little boys.?? could be something to think about. I know 2 baby boys who also do this. Could just be normal


Apr 28, 2013

Ouch!

by: Anonymous


Well, for the comment that it’s all little boys, my little girl, 14 months has been doing it for months now. It drive me crazy. She’ll try to bang her head into me when I’m holding her, she’ll bang it on the floor, the wall, with her hands…I have a history of migraines and was wondering if her little head is hurting. Developmentally she’s on track, so I don’t worry about autism. She is teething and has been, so maybe it’s that. I should look into her ears too. You never know. If they could only talk! :)


Jun 19, 2013

BABY BRUISED HEAD FROM HITTING SELF ON FLOOR

by: CJs mom


my 22 month old got so mad that he hit his head on the hardwood floor and has a huge swelt that is now bruised. I applied a cold pack and am very worried. He was irritable and sleepy, so once he did this, he fell asleep in my arms. I have heard conflicting remarks about letting them sleep. When he was a few months old, he fell off the couch and we rushed him to ER. they did an MRI and all was fine. What signs should I look for? should I take him to ER? In need of advice from other parents who have been here before!!


Oct 20, 2013

baby hitting head
by: new mommy


I’ve been researching this topic all over different sites and don’t see any comments for babies younger than 6 months. My son just turned 4 months and, today, started hitting himself on the left side of the head. He also seems to mostly do this while having his bottle. He had vaccinations today. I know babies can spike a fever afterwards but can they also cause an ear infection which could be a cause of the hitting it seems? Any thoughts?


Nov 09, 2013

2 month old baby hits & rubs his head, face & eyes
by: Precious5uk10


My baby hits & rubs his head & eyes from when he was 2 months old. It is particularly painful to watch him do this at night – several times. Sometimes this wakes him up from his sleep & sometimes he goes back to sleep. He is a very active baby, I thought it was just part of him being very active or his cradle cap is bothering him or that he is just tired or anxious & is doing this to release some stress. Reading about the ear infection comment, I think I can’t ignore this & must get his ear checked.


Nov 13, 2013

Hits face while asleep
by: Lisa


Precious, my son, who’s 5 months old, hits himself in the head and face while sleeping.. He also shakes his head while doing it ( as if he were saying no) — he also has cradle cap– but I’ve contributed his doing it in his sleep from his reflux. He prefers to sleep flat on his back which is probably the worse position for reflux. My husband mentioned to me that he witnessed the head hitting tonight so I’m online searching just to reassure myself that is why he’s doing it. Since I can’t find anything I’ll probably call the pediatrician Monday. Hope everyone has a good night :)


Dec 08, 2013

Baby rubs head & face at night
by: Precious5uk10


Hi Lisa, I visited the GP & confirmed DS has no ear infection. I think it is due to reflux as well because sometimes he seems move his mouth as if chewing on something. What did your doc say abt your baby jotting his head?


Jan 04, 2014

My grandson hits himself in the head
by: Anonymous


I’ve been worried for weeks over this issue. My 18 month old grandson hits himself in the head and across the face but nobody seems to offer a plausible answer. He is an “angry” toddler and has been from a few weeks old. His father is full of anger and according to his own mother was the same when he was a baby. Perhaps it’s just hereditary!


Jan 12, 2014

Baby Hits Head
by: Heather


Hi Lori,

My 19 month old son does the same thing and he also pulls his head. When they get to the age your baby is at, I think they either want attention or just not getting what they want.

When my son doesn’t get what he wants, he will get mad and hit himself in the head. Both sides at that.

Hope this helps with your question. But if you still feel like you need to talk to the doctor about it, I would if I were you.

Good Luck with you’re baby.


Jan 16, 2014

My 15 months old slaps his head too

by: Anonymous


My son as well is only 15 months old and he does the slapping on his head and pulls his ears as well. The ear tugging I understand, but as far as him slapping his head it is very confusing to me and makes me feel hurt to see when he slaps his head like that… Think I should go see his primary doc!!


Jan 18, 2014

Slaps his head
by: Shabs UK


My son does the same – slaps his head repeatably. I have been to see the doctor many times. They think I’m over reacting, but my son has had many ear infections in the past. I don’t know what to do now.


Jan 31, 2014

Baby hit head too
by: 1st time mom.


Hi, my son is 14 months now and he has been hitting his head against anything when he is angry or trying to seek attention. Sometimes he will just crawl out of the playmat just so that he can hit his head onto the floor tiles. He has been doing this for a couple of months.

Some mums told me it’s a phase. It happen to my niece for about a year too. I do hope this phase will pass soon.


Feb 09, 2014

6 month old hits himself
by: Anonymous


My 6 month old son hits himself in the face with a balled up fist quite a bit. When I took him to the pediatrician, he started doing this. I asked what it could be and he said “weird baby thing”. So I’m thinking that its nothing to worry about.

I do know not to ALWAYS trust the doctors, but he had just had a complete checkup and was healthy with no ear infections. He is teething tho, so maybe he hits himself in the face to overide the teething pain in his gums. Maybe try some tylenol to see if it helps.


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