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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Children's Health HEAD BANGING


Head banging is quite common and starts at the age of 6 months in children. Children may be seen banging their head against their crib, mattress or head board of bed. This habit is three times more common in boys than in girls. This behavior is seen at bed time or before nap time. It seemingly provides comfort to the agitated child especially when they are feeling alone. The duration may vary from a few minutes to an hour. They mostly bang their foreheads against the surfaces.




If the child is just doing it to get the rhythmic sound of banging, then there is no cause for concern. But if the child really needs it to get hurt, which is thankfully rare, then it is more disturbing to caregivers. Mostly the habit disappears itself by the age of 4 years. Possible causes could be to pacify oneself with the rhythmic sound, need for mother or father comforting the child, wet diapers, hungry child, excessive or inadequate clothing as per room temperature, forced to stay in crib for long time, medicines, short term illnesses.


The best treatment for harmless head banging is probably no treatment. Laboratory tests are usually not needed for benign head banging. Caregivers can take some precautions to make matters worse.

-          Avoid creating a fuss about the habit in front of child as he may require the comforting habit even more

-          Caregiver can help by adding more cardboards over the hard surfaces. This will help by having the sound while avoiding getting hurt

-          It is quite possible that the child may actually be unhappy. Look for any causes and address them.

-          Ask A Doctor if you are managing the child well or it requires further intervention.



Some children with development disorders may do head banging that is bad enough to hurt themselves. This can be a cause of concern and may require medical treatment. Pediatrician may look for other concomitant signs and symptoms. Detailed evaluation will be needed to confirm any developmental disorders. Ask A Pediatrician if medicines are needed in case of head banging.