When to worry about clumsiness
Your toddler's lack of coordination is probably nothing to worry about. Toddlers fall down a lot and bump into things because they're learning to use their bodies in new ways – and the more active and adventurous your child is, the more likely he is to have physical accidents. But if his mishaps seem more serious – like if he's bumping into walls or misstepping on stairs – you may have cause for concern.
What causes excessive clumsiness
Marked clumsiness – like if your child misses the chair when he sits down or tries to put down a block on the kitchen table but drops it on the floor instead – is often normal in young children. However, it could signal a vision problem, such as nearsightedness or difficulty with depth perception.
Weakness and poor motor control from muscles that are either stiff and spastic or limp and weak can be a sign of mild cerebral palsy. Clumsiness that's new or suddenly gets worse could be a sign of a degenerative or progressive disorder, such as muscular dystrophy or juvenile arthritis. And if your toddler recently took a tumble and suddenly seems unsteady on his feet, he might have a concussion.
A child who is noticeably clumsier than his peers, has trouble holding onto objects, tends to run into other kids, and lags behind in other motor skills, may have developmental coordination disorder. Children with this condition are more likely to be overweight and may have other problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Getting plenty of exercise along with physical training can help kids with this condition.
If you suspect that your child has something besides normal toddler klutziness, check with his doctor.
What your doctor may recommend
If your toddler's clumsiness seems to have a physical or neurological cause, your doctor may recommend tests including an eye exam, MRI, or X-ray. Glasses, of course, will correct most vision problems.
Next warning sign: Your Child Is Constantly Moving
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