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What to Do When Baby Hits Head on Crib: Full Guide

What to Do When Baby Hits Head on Crib: Full Guide

As mommies, aunties, and caretakers, we want to keep our little ones safe and protected.

Understanding and addressing head-banging behavior is essential to provide a secure environment for our precious little ones.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the world of head-banging, exploring its causes, prevalence, and potential concerns.

We’ll also uncover practical strategies to prevent and respond to head-banging incidents to ensure your baby’s well-being!

So, keep reading and empower yourself to become a confident and informed caregiver!

What is Head-Banging?

Head banging refers to the repetitive motion of a baby hitting their head against a surface, such as a crib or a wall. It is a common childhood habit that typically occurs during bedtime or sleep.

Babies may engage in head banging by repeatedly hitting their heads against the sides of their cribs, on the wall next to the bed, or on the mattress.

These rhythmic movements usually involve hitting the head against something hard every one or two seconds, sometimes for around 15 minutes or longer. Head banging can vary in intensity and duration among different babies.

It’s worth mentioning that headbanging is not limited to one specific age group. It can occur to infants AND toddlers, and the prevalence tends to decline as children grow older.

Boys are more likely to head-bang than girls, and head-banging may even run in families. However, while common, head-banging can also indicate an underlying medical or developmental condition.

We’ll discuss when you should worry if your baby is head-banging later.

Causes of Head-Banging

Causes of Head-Banging

Understanding the potential causes of this behavior can help parents and caretakers respond with empathy and support.

According to childcare experts, here are some possible causes of head-banging in babies:

Self-Soothing

Head banging is considered a self-soothing behavior that helps babies relax and fall asleep.

The rhythmic motion of head banging provides a comforting sensation, similar to other repetitive behaviors like thumb-sucking or body-rocking.

This repetitive movement has a soothing rhythm that can help babies self-regulate and find comfort on their own.

Self-Stimulation

Head banging and other repeated body motions may serve as a way for babies to stimulate their vestibular system, which is responsible for balance in the inner ear.

This stimulation helps babies explore and understand their environment, enhancing their spatial awareness and motor development.

Tension or Frustration

Some experts propose that headbanging is a response to tension or frustration.

Babies may use this behavior as a coping mechanism to release built-up stress or express dissatisfaction with a particular situation.

The rhythmic movement of head banging can provide a temporary outlet for their emotions.

Pain or Discomfort

Head banging can also be triggered by pain or discomfort, such as teething or an ear infection.

Babies may instinctively try to alleviate the discomfort by creating a counter-stimulus through head banging.

This behavior allows them to divert their attention from the discomfort they are experiencing.

Attention-Seeking

In some cases, head banging may be a way for babies to seek attention or communicate their needs.

Where words fail to express their desires or anxieties, babies can resort to head-banging to gain their caregivers’ attention. This behavior can be a form of non-verbal communication, indicating that they require assistance or connection.

How Common is Head-Banging?

Based on available research and expert opinions, head-banging is relatively common among infants and young children.

It’s been observed that as many as two in every ten healthy children between six months and four years may engage in head-banging at some point during early childhood.

However, it’s important to note that these motions usually decrease in frequency as children reach the ages of two or three.

In addition, studies show that rhythmic movements, including head banging, are quite prevalent in infants.

Around 59% of nine-month-olds have been observed engaging in head-banging, body rocking, head rolling, and other similar movements.

By 18 months, approximately 33% of children exhibit these rhythmic behaviors. As they grow older, the prevalence drops to around 5% by the age of five.

However, keep in mind that head banging exists on a spectrum, ranging from normal behavior to more severe cases that may require medical attention.

Is Head-Banging a Cause for Concern for Parents?

One of the common questions that arise regarding head banging in babies is whether it should be a cause for concern. In MOST cases, head-banging is considered a normal behavior and not a cause for significant concern.

As I mentioned, many healthy children engage in head-banging at some point in their early childhood. This habit is often resolved as children grow older. 

Still, it’s essential to remember that head banging can vary in intensity and severity

While most cases are benign and do not indicate underlying health or developmental problems, there are rare instances where head banging may require medical attention.

As parents and caregivers, it’s natural to feel worried or uncertain when witnessing your child engage in head-banging.

Rest assured that most cases fall within the normal range of behavior and do not indicate any underlying health or developmental concerns.

While it can be troubling to witness your little one engaging in head-banging, it’s crucial to remind yourself that it is often a passing phase that resolves itself as children grow older.

What to Do When Baby Keeps Hitting Head on Crib

What to Do When Baby Keeps Hitting Head on Crib

If your baby continues to hit their head on the crib, there are several steps you can take to address the situation and promote a safer sleep environment.

Check out these suggestions:

Selecting the Right Crib

Choosing and investing in one of the best cribs available can provide you with peace of mind and create a safer sleeping environment for your baby. Look for cribs that meet safety standards and have sturdy construction.

Opt for cribs with adjustable mattress heights, as these allow you to lower the mattress as your baby grows and becomes more mobile, reducing the risk of falls.

Additionally, I recommend using cribs with slats that are spaced appropriately to prevent your baby’s head from getting stuck.

If your baby is new to sleeping in a crib and is having trouble transitioning to the setup, try to establish a consistent bedtime routine.

This can help your baby adjust to any sleep setup and is one of my top tips on how to get your baby to sleep in their crib. Create a soothing routine with activities like a warm bath, gentle massage, or reading a bedtime story.

These calming activities signal to your baby that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Be consistent with the routine; it helps establish sleep cues and promotes better sleep patterns.

Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment

To minimize your baby’s discomfort and avoid any anxieties on your part relating to their head-banging, ensure that their crib (or bassinet) is a comfortable and safe place to sleep.

Let me share some easy, tried-and-true hacks:

  • Use a firm mattress that fits snugly in the crib with no gaps around the edges.
  • Dress your baby in comfortable, breathable sleepwear suitable for the room temperature.
  • Consider using a sleep sack or wearable blanket instead of loose blankets to prevent suffocation risks.
  • Keep the room dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature to promote sound sleep.

Avoid Crib Bumpers

Though they were commonly used in the past, crib bumpers are now no longer recommended due to safety concerns.

They can pose a risk of suffocation or entrapment for infants. Instead of using crib bumpers, opt for a fitted crib sheet and a well-fitted mattress that meets safety standards.

This ensures a safer sleeping environment for your baby and reduces the risk of accidents.

If you still want to use them, familiarize yourself with crib bumper safety guidelines to create a safe sleeping space for your baby.

Recognize Signs of Concern

While head-banging is generally harmless, it’s essential to be aware of signs indicating a need for further evaluation. If your newborn hits their head, it’s natural for you as a mom to worry.

Watch out for symptoms after head-banging incidents like:

  • Persistent crying 
  • Changes in behavior 
  • Excessive sleepiness 
  • Vomiting

These could be signs of a more serious condition, such as a concussion. Trust your instincts, and consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns.

More information on these signs can be found below!

Use a Reliable Baby Monitor

A reliable baby monitor provides you with peace of mind while your baby is in their crib and you need to be elsewhere.

Look for a baby monitor with clear audio and video features, a wide range, and secure transmission.

Some baby monitors even offer additional features like movement detection, which can be quite useful for parents who are worried about their child’s head-banging behavior.

Researching and selecting one of the best baby monitors or finding an affordable baby monitor that fits your budget can enhance your ability to check on your baby’s well-being at all times.

Additionally, understanding how baby monitors work can help you make an informed decision when choosing the right one for your needs.

Prioritize Safe Sleep Practices

To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and create a safe environment for your baby’s slumber, prioritize safe sleep practices. Here are some basic tips:

  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep, as this is the safest sleeping position.
  • Remove any loose bedding, pillows, or stuffed animals from the crib to reduce suffocation hazards.
  • Keep the room well-ventilated and at a comfortable temperature.
  • Regularly check for hazards or potential dangers in the sleeping area.

Remember, educating yourself about safe sleep for babies and understanding what SIDS is and all of the preventive measures you can take is crucial for ensuring your baby’s well-being!

When to Consult Your Pediatrician

When to Consult Your Pediatrician

While most cases of head-banging are harmless, it’s important to know when to consult your pediatrician.

Observe your child’s overall well-being, sleep patterns, and development.

If you notice any of the signs described below, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention to ensure your child’s health and safety.

Signs of Injury or Persistent Bruising from Head-Banging

If you observe any visible signs of injury, such as cuts, bruises, swelling, or bumps on your baby’s head or face due to head-banging, it is crucial to consult your pediatrician.

These signs may indicate a need for medical attention to ensure proper healing and rule out any underlying issues.

Moreover, seeking medical advice becomes critical if you notice that the injuries are consistent or aren’t improving over time.

Disrupted Sleep Patterns Affecting Overall Well-being

Your baby’s head-banging behavior can significantly disrupt their sleep patterns, leading to excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, or other signs of sleep deprivation.

If you suspect that these are linked, seek medical advice.

Persistent sleep disturbances can have a negative impact on your baby’s overall well-being, growth, cognitive development, and emotional health.

Head-Banging Beyond Toddler Years or Increase in Severity

While head-banging is common in infants and toddlers, it typically decreases and stops as they grow older.

If your child engages in head-banging beyond the toddler years or the behavior intensifies in severity, it may warrant a consultation with your pediatrician.

They can assess the situation, consider any potential underlying factors, and provide guidance or referrals to specialists if necessary for further evaluation or intervention.

Concerns about Developmental or Health Issues

If you have concerns about your baby’s development or overall health and suspect that head-banging may be a symptom or indication of an underlying condition, consult your pediatrician.

They can conduct a comprehensive evaluation to address your specific concerns and assess your baby’s developmental progress.

They may also review your baby’s medical history and perform the necessary tests or screenings. These can determine if any developmental or health issues contribute to the head-banging behavior.

Other Unusual Behaviors or Regression in Developmental Milestones

If you observe other unusual behaviors alongside head-banging or notice a regression in previously achieved developmental milestones, I advise consulting your pediatrician.

These may include:

  • Loss of Previously Acquired Language or Motor Skills
  • Social Withdrawal
  • Repetitive Movements Beyond Head-Banging

Apart from these behaviors, watch out for any changes that raise concerns about your child’s development. They can assess your baby’s behavior, review their progress, and determine if there are any underlying issues.

Remember, getting support early on can promote your baby’s development and address any potential concerns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s some more helpful information if you are concerned about your child’s head-banging:

How Do I Know if Baby Is OK After Hitting Their Head?

While most minor bumps and falls do not cause serious harm, it’s essential to be vigilant and watch for any signs that may indicate a more severe injury.

Here are some guidelines to help you assess if your baby is okay after hitting their head:

  • Observe Immediate Symptoms – After the incident, carefully observe your baby for any immediate signs of distress, such as excessive crying, irritability, or drowsiness. If your baby is inconsolable, has difficulty breathing, or loses consciousness, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Watch for Changes in Behavior – Pay attention to any changes in your baby’s behavior in the hours and days following the head injury. Look for symptoms like persistent vomiting, unusual drowsiness, changes in appetite, or difficulty with balance and coordination. These may indicate a more significant head injury, and you should consult your pediatrician.
  • Check Physical Symptoms – Inspect your baby’s head and scalp for any signs of injury, such as swelling, bruising, or bleeding. If you notice a visible bump or cut, apply a cold compress wrapped in a cloth to help reduce swelling. However, seek medical attention if the injury appears severe or has an open wound or a deep cut.
  • Monitor Changes in Alertness– If your baby becomes increasingly lethargic, unusually sleepy, or has difficulty waking up, it may be a cause for concern. Also, if you notice any changes in their response to stimuli or confusion, contact your pediatrician for guidance.
  • Trust Your Instincts – As a parent, you know your baby best. If you have any lingering concerns about your baby’s well-being or your gut tells you something isn’t right, don’t hesitate to consult a health professional.

While most incidents are minor and resolved without complications, it’s important to be cautious!

Your pediatrician is the best resource for assessing your baby’s condition and providing appropriate guidance.

How Can I Prevent My Baby From Hitting Their Head on the Crib?

As a caring parent, I know how much you want to create a safe sleep environment for your baby.

Here are some of my best tips to help prevent your baby from hitting their head on the crib:

  • Choose a Safe Crib – Selecting a crib that meets safety standards and has sturdy construction reduces the risk of accidents. Adjustable mattress heights can prevent your baby from climbing and falling, minimizing the chances of head injuries.
  • Remove Hazards – Clear the crib of loose bedding, pillows, and stuffed animals. Eliminate objects that can potentially cause your baby to hit their head. This reduces the risk of accidents and promotes safe sleep.
  • Use a Firm Mattress – Providing your baby with a firm mattress reduces the risk of suffocation and head entrapment. It ensures a flat and secure surface, minimizing the likelihood of head injuries during sleep.
  • Supervise Sleep Time – Actively supervising your baby during sleep time allows you to prevent them from climbing or standing on the crib rails, which can lead to falls and potential head injuries. Close monitoring helps maintain a safe sleep environment.
  • Transition Gradually – Introduce the crib gradually to your baby to help them adjust to the new sleeping environment. This approach minimizes the chances of accidental bumps and injuries.
  • Create a Calm Sleep Environment – Establish a soothing bedtime routine with techniques like swaddling, gentle music, or white noise to promote relaxing, peaceful sleep. A calm environment encourages your baby to remain settled in the crib, reducing the risk of hitting their head.

Keep in mind, though, that each baby is unique. You will likely have to adapt these tips to your specific lifestyle and circumstances for the safety and well-being of your little one!

Should I Wake My Baby if They Hit Their Head on the Crib While Sleeping?

In most cases, if your baby bumps their head lightly and doesn’t show any immediate signs of distress, it’s generally safe to let them continue sleeping.

If your baby is sleeping soundly and shows no signs of pain or discomfort, it’s usually best to let them sleep.

Babies naturally tend to move and explore their surroundings, sometimes resulting in minor bumps. However, it may be necessary to check on your baby or seek medical attention.

First, you have to gauge the severity of the impact. If the head-banging incident was significant, such as a hard fall or forceful crash, immediately assess your baby for any visible signs of injury or distress.

In addition, watch out for any abnormal symptoms that may indicate a head injury, like persistent irritability, changes in feeding or sleeping patterns, unusual eye movements, or seizures.

It bears repeating that you should go with your gut. If it tells you that something is off, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and seek professional medical advice.

Though most head-banging incidents are minor and do not cause significant harm, seek qualified medical care if you have any doubts or concerns about your baby’s health.

Conclusion

Remember, head-banging is a common behavior that often resolves itself as children grow.

By understanding the causes, taking preventive measures, and being vigilant about signs of concern, we can provide the best care for our babies.

With this guide, I hope you feel equipped with valuable insights and practical tips to create a safe and nurturing environment for your little one!

Trust your instincts as a parent, and don’t hesitate to consult your pediatrician if you have any worries or questions. With knowledge, love, and attentive care, let’s navigate this journey of parenthood with confidence and joy!

Nayna Llenos
Nayna Llenos

Hi, I’m Nayna!
I’ve always wanted to be a mother, and I’m lucky and blessed to have two wonderful children to care for and love.
Despite this blessing, there are times wherein I do wonder if I truly am the mother my children need. Am I giving them the right food, care, and discipline to them?
But that is the beauty of parenting — you grow along with your children as they flourish to be their wonderful selves!
I wish to share my experiences with motherhood and how these tips can help you in your parenting journey.
I hope my advices and experiences will prove useful to you and that you have a smooth and wonderful journey as a mother!