19 answers

3 Yr. Old with Vertigo

My son, who is nearly three years old, has been experiencing intense vertigo for the past few months. I've been thinking that it is just developmental, but I'm not sure. I'm planning to bring it up at his 3 yr. old well-baby check-up but wondered if anyone here had some thoughts on it.

It only happens outside and is often when he is on or near a steep street, but is now happening at the top of slides and stair cases. He will climb up grassy hills at the park pretty well on his own, but insists on holding my hand to come down. He seems to have it most intensely in new situations. This morning getting out of the car at the park, which is on a slight grade, he started physically shaking and reaching for the ground.

He's had his first ear infections (in both ears) about two weeks ago. I haven't noticed it being any worse since then, but I'm not sure since it doesn't happen all of the time. Any thoughts?

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So What Happened?™

Thanks everyone for your responses. I took my son into the pediatrian yesterday and she checked his ears and also had him to some physical exercises (jumping, running, walking, etc.). She said he looked physically fine and is referring us to a therapist who works with young kids with anxieties like this. She said it is very likely a developmental thing he'll outgrow of and was perhaps made worse when he first had the ear infections (the day or two before we realized he had them) and his balance was very off. On the way out of the office, he told me that the doctor had fixed him and he happily ran down the long ramp to the sidewalk without holding my hand. Maybe that was the therapy he needed - who knows - but we will be checking with the therapist. Thanks so much again!

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Dear S.,
Ear infections can bring vertigo on but I would not waste any time I would take him to the doctor now. Vertigo can be symptoms of something much more serious. Vertigo usually takes some physical therapy to straighten out keep in mind that vertigo is very frightning and can make you feel intensly nauseus. It is no fun at all I'd say bring the little guy some relief and take him to the doctor today.

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I wanted to echo the other responses that you've gotten and encourage you to take your son to see his pediatrician soon. It could be related to the ear infections, but any neurological symptoms should be monitored by your doctor. Take care.

I would get him to the Dr ASAP. If anything just to make sure everything is ok. Vertigo can be a sign of more serious problems. My son has ear infections at least once a month and has never had vertigo. It must be terrible for your son to experience as I know how awful I feel when I get dizzy. Please consult with your Dr. soon!!!

Hi S.,

I am an adult who gets frequent bouts of vertigo (since I was in my 20s) and it's really a horrible feeling. I usually get a bout when I'm really run down. I wouldn't want to be a child and feel what I feel. It must be very scary for him. I think vertigo is from a viral infection......Anyway, cranial sacral work has helped me when I've had a bout of it....makes it go away in days rather than having a 3 month run of it. Also for me, the vertigo is most noticeable when I turn my head quickly, or tilt my head a certain way, and then the whole world spins. It's a terrible feeling. I would definitely get him checked out for other reasons for this, and maybe also consider homeopathic treatments for vertigo......If you're into alternative health care. There are homeopathics for vertigo -- not sure which one would be right for your son. Good luck!

ear infections will sometimes throw your body off balance. Nevertheless, you should call your pediatrician and let him know.

I wouldn't wait until well baby visit. At least a phone call to your child's pediatrician might help. You might also call PIRC (Parent Information and Referral Center) at Lucy Packard hospital; tel: 800-690-2282 or 650-498-KIDS. It's free nursing advice that operates during normal business hours.
Good luck. M.

Hi S.,
I am a certified pediatric chiropractor. Vertigo can be caused by your childs neck being out of alignment. This can occur during the birth process or by falls that a toddler may take affecting the upper neck area. When the nerve is irritated in the upper neck it cn cause vertigo. Have your child checked at the chiropractors office and if it is a chiropractic problem, the solution is a gentle adjustment and usually pretty quick results.
Dr. C. Demaray

Take him to an ENT (Ear-Nose-Throat) specialist right away. It could be an undetected inner ear infection, or soemthing wrong with the vestibular system, and if left untreated, it could affect his hearing.

If that comes back clear, I'd check with a child psychologist for anxiety-related labirynthitis.

Best of luck!

Check with your pediatrician about a possible anxiety related issue. Also, consider that if he is saying he is dizzy, he may be using that word loosely to describe a normal fear of heights or the sensation that he is getting by loooking down. I would rule out the inner ear thing and then talk about the psychological part. I had really bad vertigo years ago that was only cured with two weeks of amytriptilene (old school antidepressant) to "rewire" my inner ear.... good luck

Take him back to the doctor! He shouldn't be having vertigo. As a mom and a nurse...have this looked at right away.

I would bring in to the doctor right away. Vertigo is not a normal system of growing up. It is usually a system of inner-ear problems. Your son's doctor will probably have to send him to an ENT (ear/nose/throat) specialist.

I recommend having his eyes checked. I have heard of other instances of this where it involved the childs vision. I am sure the doctor will check to see what could be causing it. good Luck

Hi S.;

My cousin just sent me a mamasource flour and this is the first time I've heard of this website. What little I've read about it I like so far. I am a mother of three and also live in Watsonville, I work at a doctors office and have always been
health career inclined. In regards to your son experiencing vertigo, I would definitely not put off going to the doctor right away and letting him know of all the things he's already experienced. I can see by your above request that you focus closely on what he;s been going thru.

Good luck,

Call your doctor. This is not a typical response to for a child.

Fluid in the inner ears provides most of our balance. The recent ear infections are very likely linked to what is going on. I would suggest asking an ENT to take a look and be sure his ears are doing OK and to comment on how their condition might affect his balance!

-J. (not a doctor, not a mom, actually have no idea what I'm doing on here, it had something to do with planting trees???)


I am so sorry your little man is dealing with vertigo. I have had several bouts of vertigo and it is not fun. I would strongly suggest you contact your pediatrician soon. Neurologic symptoms should be made known to the doctor soon. There are some serious conditions that have vertigo as a symptom, I am 33 and was just diagnosed with one last year.

Please follow up and let us know how it goes and if he improves.


Hi S., I would definitely speak with your doctor about this. I had vertigo very intensly when I was young, and it was very hard to deal with. I still have trouble with it at times when I am in cars, boats, planes etc... I was given anti vert to take years ago, which worked very well, and it is now over the counter in the form of bonine (which is chewable, but I don't know if children can take it or not), which is like dramamine with out the drowsiness. I had the vertigo from allergies, which were causing my ears to be clogged and keeping me off balance and at times very intensly ill. I am sure they will be able to help you and find the source that is causing the vertigo in your little one. Good luck:)

Dear S.,
Ear infections can bring vertigo on but I would not waste any time I would take him to the doctor now. Vertigo can be symptoms of something much more serious. Vertigo usually takes some physical therapy to straighten out keep in mind that vertigo is very frightning and can make you feel intensly nauseus. It is no fun at all I'd say bring the little guy some relief and take him to the doctor today.

What you are describing is well outside the norm and you should definitely get it checked out.

Dear S.,
You can try alternative medicine and acupuncture. It can tonify where there is deficiency and reduce what is excessive.

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