Dizziness and Balance: Common Health Problems in Children

Dizziness and Balance Common Health Problems in Children

It’s natural to sometimes feel a little dizzy or unsteady on your feet, especially for children. More than 3 million kids in the United States between ages 3 and 17 experience dizziness or balance problems, reports the National Institutes of Health. Most balance issues are temporary and easy to treat, but if symptoms persist, there may be a more serious underlying health problem.

Balance: a complex process
Balance is dictated by signals sent between the brain, ears and sensors in the joints and other body parts. These signals tell your body how to navigate stairs, walkways and obstacles without you even knowing. But when these sensors don’t work correctly, several problems may occur:

  • Unsteadiness when walking or standing up
  • Blurred vision
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Vertigo, known as a spinning sensation

Prevalence in children
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health studied data collected from parents of 11,000 children, ages 3 to 17. They discovered that girls have higher incident of dizziness and balance problems as compared to boys. In addition, the parents reported that their children with these issues also had these symptoms:

  • Poor coordination – 46 percent
  • Lightheaded – 35.1 percent
  • Pool balance – 30.9 percent
  • Vertigo – 29 percent
  • Frequent falls – 25 percent
  • Other balance problems – 8.5 percent

Common causes
According to health experts, dizziness and balance problems in children can be caused by:

  • Ear infection
  • Severe headache
  • Some medications
  • Head or neck injury
  • Genetic conditions

Often children don’t know how to describe how they feel. They just know that something isn’t right. Parents who notice their children are having problems with dizziness or balance should contact their doctor for an evaluation.