image001Baby banging head is a common problem experienced in most babies. When your baby develops the head banging habit, you may find that they start banging their head on hard surfaces in a rhythmic fashion. Babies mostly bang their heads when frustrated. This can be on the floor, wall or on their cribs. Should you be concerned?

According to statistics, 20% of toddlers and babies develop the head banging on purpose. The numbers are higher in boys than that is in girls. Head banging is a habit mostly seen in babies between 18 months and 24 months. This habit can go on for a few months or even years. However, most children outgrow the habit by the age of 3.

What Causes Your Baby Banging Head? 

It is easy to notice the symptoms of head banging. You will start noticing that your child tends to rhythmically move his/her head on a hard surface. Often times, the child rocks his whole body when banging the head on the surface. Most of the time, the child develops this tendency when they are sleepy or annoyed. Each of the banging sessions can go on for a few minutes or hours. Below are common reasons for head banging in babies:



To Relieve Pain

It is possible that your baby bangs its head because of pain. This pain can be caused by the teething process or from an ear infection. Head banging has been found to make babies feel better as it distracts them from the discomfort they feel in cases of pain.

For Comfort

Most toddlers who indulge in head banging behavior do it as a way of comforting themselves. This is an especially common reason for kids who bang their heads when trying to fall asleep. The rhythmic movement soothes the child to sleep.

Seeking Attention

Some babies bang their head as a way of seeking attention. This is especially common if your child realizes that you are likely to pay attention to him/her when he/she does something self-destructive.


Some toddlers bang their head when they get frustrated. This is their way of throwing tantrums and expressing their frustration. This is common among children who have not yet developed speech and see this as the only way to express their distress.

Issues in Development

Head banging is also associated with autism among other development issues. However this is only in a minority of the cases. Rarely is a head banging habit associated with any serious development issues.

What to Do About Baby Banging Head

It is possible for your toddler to develop bruises from the head banging. Since head banging is a self-regulated behavior, it is uncommon for kids to bang their heads in a way that can injure them seriously. If the banging begins to hurt, your child will pull back on the force they use to ensure they do not get hurt.

1. Give Him More Attention When He Is not Banging

It is important to give your child your undivided attention when he is not banging his head. If he continues to bang his head even after you start paying more attention to him, don’t take it too seriously. Avoid punishing or scolding him for banging his head. Your disapproval of the behavior can make it worse.

2. Protect Him From Injury

This is especially ideal if your child bangs his head against his crib. Check the bolts and screws to ensure they are tight to avoid falling. Use thin bumpers in the crib sides to lessen the pain your child feels from banging his head. You can also ensure that you cover the spaces between the crib rails. This will ensure the safety of the child too.

3. Foster His Love for Rhythm in Other Ways

It is clear that your child enjoys hard beats. You can use this to find other outlets for his rhythmic movement. This can be through dancing, clapping and drumming together. You can also place a metronome in the kid’s room to offer him a steady rhythm. It is important to ensure that your child is physically active as this burns the excess nervous energy that causes him to bang his head.

4. Set Soothing Bedtime Routines

If you realize that your child likes banging his head as a way of soothing himself, you need to create a soothing routine. You can decide to rock the baby on your lap or give him a soothing bath or even read him a soothing story. You can also rub the child’s back and stroke his forehead at bed time. You can also try soothing music in the room.

5. Know When to Call the Doctor

If you realize that your child bangs his head a lot during the day and sometimes hurts himself, you need to be concerned. Under uncommon circumstances, head banging is at times associated with autism and other issues in development. These disorders become noticeable during their early years and when children start attending pre-school.

It is also advisable to take your child to the doctor if he hits his head and develops the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting. It is common to vomit after a fall or consistent forceful head banging but if it persists, you need to seek medical help.
  • Too much sleeping. If your child suddenly becomes too sleepy during the day and it becomes hard to wake them up at night, you need to see a doctor.
  • Signs of confusion and weakness. You can also check to see if your child develops coordination issues, problems with their sight or speech require the attention of a doctor.

All these can be signs of deeper health complications resulting from baby banging head.