Toddler Rolling Eyes Upward: What You Should Know


Being a parent is one of the most fulfilling jobs, a significant responsibility that requires love, care, understanding, and working to keep your child on the right path. It is normal to experience joy, love, delight, excitement, and worry while pregnant and after you have the baby.

You will also worry about your child’s wellbeing at all times, from a tiny sneeze, cough, sleeping habits, and even the color of their poop. Children exhibit unusual behaviors, and it can be challenging to determine what falls under the normal developmental category.

Toddler rolling eyes upward is part of a baby’s learning curve but can be pretty scary, especially for first-time parents.

Possible Causes of Toddler Rolling Eyes Upward

Your toddler can roll her eyes upward for a number of reasons, including:

1. Because Your Child Can

Toddlers are curious, fantastic tiny humans who learn and discover new things every single day. While some of their discoveries are based on their surroundings, most of them deal with their bodies. After learning how to roll their eyes upward, your child will keep practicing this newly acquired skill.

2. Frustration and Anger

Children use strange ways to soothe themselves when they get frustrated or angry, including rolling their eyes upward, hitting themselves, or banging their heads on the wall or floor. Doing so draws your attention to them.

3. Being sleepy

Your toddler may roll their eyes upward before they sleep, accompanied by droopy, tired eyes. When you notice this, it is time for your child to go to sleep.

4. Illnesses and Injuries

Some medical reasons can make your toddler’s eyes roll upward. They include hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, and head injuries. If your baby starts rolling their eyes after falling and bumping their head, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Related: Switching from breastmilk to formula

5. Seizures

Eye rolling that is accompanied by unusual body movements or behavioral changes may signify a seizure. It can be caused by epilepsy, infections, and fevers and need immediate, effective measures to prevent or minimize harm to your child’s body.

During a seizure, loosen your toddler’s clothes and let them move freely on a big, flat area without obstacles like a floor. By laying your toddler on the side position during the seizure, you protect them from choking on vomit or fluids. Take your child to the doctor afterward. The seizures that cause upward eye-rolling are:

  • Febrile Seizures

When a child’s temperatures increase rapidly, it can trigger loss of consciousness, full-body shaking, and brief spells of eye-rolling. The seizures are usually caused by mild viral infections between the ages of 6 months- 5 years. Although they are quite alarming, febrile seizures do not impair a child’s cognitive development or damage their brain.

  • Infantile Spasms

It is a rare epilepsy form that typically starts when the child is about 2-12 months and disappears by the time your kid is four years. A seizure can last for one or two seconds, with every spasm happening every 5-10 seconds in each series. A spasm makes the body stiffen suddenly, the back to arch, and the arms, head, and legs bend forward.

The initial signs may be recurrent upward rolling of the eyes. Infantile Spasms can be caused by abnormal brain blood vessels, brain injury, infections, and brain malfunctions.

6. Paroxysmal Tonic Upgaze (PTU)

This condition’s main and typically only symptom is recurring episodes of the eyes’ upward deviation. A child with this condition experiences repeated upward eye movements like trying to find something high up.

What to Do If You Notice Upward Eye Rolling In Your Toddler

Before addressing this issue, you must determine if it is benign or severe through frequent observation. You can record the number of times and how frequently the eye-rolling happens and accompanying symptoms. This information helps to determine the correct diagnosis.

Taking a video as it happens is also helpful because the upward eye-rolling may not occur while at the doctor’s office. If the upward eye-rolling is followed by behavioral changes such as being less playful, not feeding well, and appearing excessively sleepy, contact emergency services immediately.

Since toddler rolling eyes upward can be a symptom of a serious health problem, it would be best to consult your pediatrician if you notice abnormal upward eye-rolling to promote early diagnosis and intervention. You will likely sense when their little ones are not well, so listen to your instincts and act accordingly.

Typically, normal upward eye-rolling is not accompanied by other signs and symptoms. However, if underlying conditions cause it, you will notice other symptoms such as skin color changes, uncontrolled crying, trembling, shivering, jerky movements, excessive irritability, and convulsions.

Your toddler is going to exhibit strange behaviors that will have you wondering if they are normal. They are mostly part of a child’s growth and development. While rolling eyes upward is almost entirely harmless, a skill you will likely see a lot in their teenage years, stay vigilant to catch any unusual accompanying symptoms.

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