Help! My Baby Shivers Like a Chill? Is He Having Seizures?

baby shivers like a chill

Baby shivering, in many cases, is a very normal thing. It indicates a developing nervous system. However, it can also point to serious medical conditions that need immediate attention. We will explain the common reasons for baby shivers and shuddering attacks and also when you need to be worried so you can make the right choice.

Since babies cannot protect themselves against the cold like grown-ups can, they burn up their fat by thermogenesis. It’s similar to how animals that hibernate throughout the winter manage to stay warm. While this is a common reason why babies shiver, they can also shiver or shake because of low blood sugar. One very particular, typical example of a peculiar baby movement that is normal is shuddering attacks (also known as “shuddering spells”).

Shuddering attacks (SA), a rare benign condition of newborns and young children, are characterized by movements that resemble shivering and straining but do not include altered awareness or epileptiform EEG. By the time a kid is 2 or 3 years old, SA usually goes away.

Why Does My Baby Shiver Like a Chill?

There are many different reasons why babies shiver, some of which are entirely natural and harmless, while others could call for medical attention.

Being cold is the most common reason for a baby’s shivering. Infants lose heat far more quickly than adults do because they have a significantly higher surface area to body weight ratio. As a result, a newborn may find the room to be excessively chilly, even though an adult finds it to be pleasant. Shivering from the cold can be avoided by dressing your kid in warm clothing and maintaining the room’s temperature at around 68-72°F (20-22°C).

The Moro reflex, commonly referred to as the startle response, is another common cause of a baby’s shivering. Most babies have this response and show this through jerking and abrupt movements. By the time the baby is three to six months old, the Moro reaction often no longer exists.

Shivering, however, can also be a symptom of an infection or disease. It’s important to get medical help right away if your infant is shivering continuously and is also showing other symptoms like fever, fatigue, poor feeding, or breathing difficulties. Shivering can be a symptom of dangerous illnesses like sepsis or pneumonia, both of which call for immediate medical attention.

Shivering may, in rare cases, also be a symptom of neurological disorders, including seizures or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). It is necessary to consult your physician if you detect any unusual movements or behaviors in your infant, including repeated episodes of shivering.

Generally, certain reasons for infant shivering are common and safe, while others could necessitate immediate medical intervention. It’s important to have an understanding of your baby’s symptoms and to get medical assistance if you have any worries.

Causes of Baby Shivering Like a Chill

There are various causes of baby shivering some of which are normal and harmless, while others may require medical attention.

  1. Feeling cold: Babies have a higher surface area to body weight ratio than adults, which means they can lose heat more quickly. As a result, even a mild drop in temperature can make them shiver. Keeping your baby warm by dressing them in appropriate clothing and keeping the room temperature around 68-72°F (20-22°C) can help prevent shivering due to cold.
  2. Moro reflex: This is a normal reflex that most newborns have also known as the startle reflex. It is characterized by sudden movements and jerking motions, including shivering. The Moro reflex usually disappears by the time the baby is three to six months old.
  3. Fever: A fever is a sign that an illness is being fought off by your baby’s body. Fever may be accompanied by shivering as the body works to produce heat. It’s important to get medical help if your baby develops a fever as well as additional symptoms like lethargy, poor eating, or difficulty in breathing.
  4. Infection: Shivering can be a sign of infections like pneumonia or sepsis, coupled with accompanying symptoms like fever, coughing, or breathing difficulties.
  5. Low blood sugar (Hypoglycemia): Shivering in newborns can be an indication of hypoglycemia, which also causes lethargy, irritability, and poor eating, among other symptoms.
  6. Neurological problems: Shivering can sometimes be a symptom of neurological conditions like seizures, which call for rapid medical treatment.
  7. Additional medical issues: Certain health issues, including hypothyroidism or cardiac issues, also cause shivering in babies.

What Are Baby Tremors?

Babies can have baby tremors, which are uncontrollably shaking or trembling. These movements can happen regardless of whether a baby is awake or asleep and can even be so small that you might not even notice them. They’re commonly referred to as “essential tremors” or “benign tremors” since they typically don’t indicate any major medical conditions and tend to go away on their own. Sometimes babies exhibit absence seizures, which basically make them stare at a point for no reason.

Baby tremors can be brought on by a number of things, such as a developing neurological system, low blood sugar, excessive stimulation, or even frigid temperatures. They may occasionally also be a side effect of particular drugs or medical problems.

Should I Be Worried About Baby Tremors?

Babies often have tremors or jerky movements in their arms, legs, or faces. The newborn’s immature nervous system may be the cause of these tremors, which usually disappear as the child grows and develops.

Baby tremors can occasionally be brought on by other conditions, including low blood sugar, excessive excitement, or exposure to chilly temperatures. In these situations, addressing the tremors’ underlying cause is the best way to find an effective solution to the problem.

But, it’s necessary to get medical help if the tremors persist during the first few months of life or are accompanied by other symptoms like lethargy, poor feeding, or breathing difficulties. These symptoms might signal a serious medical issue that needs to be treated.

What Is Shuddering Syndrome?

A rare neurological disorder known as shuddering syndrome, generally referred to as shuddering attacks or shivering spells, predominantly affects young children. Often lasting only a few seconds to a minute, it is characterized by quick and fleeting episodes of shivering or shaking. These episodes typically happen many times each day and might be accompanied by head bobbing or blinking of the eyes.

Although the origin of infant shudder syndrome is unknown, it is thought to be a benign syndrome that has no lasting negative effects on the child who has it. Because it frequently affects children between one and four years old, some specialists suggest that it may be connected to the baby’s brain development.

By the time a child is 5 or 6 years old, the episodes of shuddering linked to the Shuddering Syndrome normally end on their own without the need for any special care. Nevertheless, if the episodes are especially serious or frequent, some medical professionals can advise medication to better manage the symptoms.

Although the disorder is usually thought of as harmless, parents and caregivers who see the episodes can be concerned, especially since a baby is extremely fragile. It’s important to speak with a physician or other healthcare professional if you believe your child is experiencing any strange symptoms, such as trembling episodes. They are able to provide advice on how to manage the symptoms, assist in ruling out any underlying medical concerns, and reassure worried parents or caregivers.

Should I Be Worried About Shuddering Syndrome?

It’s crucial to consult a physician or other healthcare professional if your child has shuddering attacks in order to rule out any underlying medical disorders that might be the source of the symptoms. It is crucial to get your child checked by a medical practitioner since, in certain circumstances, shuddering attacks may be a symptom of a more serious problem.

While it’s true that shuddering syndrome is typically regarded as a harmless condition that doesn’t need special care, a doctor or healthcare professional may reassure worried parents or caregivers and offer advice on how to handle the symptoms.

It’s important to remember that Shuddering Syndrome is a rare disorder, and many kids who feel trembling or shaking don’t actually have it. The majority of the time, young children’s shuddering motions are a natural aspect of their growth and usually go away on their own without the need for medical attention.

So, it is necessary to consult a physician or other healthcare professional if you have any reason to believe that your kid is having shuddering attacks or any other strange symptoms. They can assist in ruling out any underlying illnesses, offer advice on how to manage the symptoms, and reassure worried parents or caregivers.

How Can I Know If My Baby Is Cold?

How Can I Know If My Baby Is Cold?

Because babies are more vulnerable to temperature fluctuations than adults, it’s important to keep them protected and comfortable. Here are a few indications that your infant could be cold:

  • Cool hands and feet: If your baby is cold, their hands and feet can feel chilly to the touch.
  • Shivering: Your baby could be shivering or shaking as a result of being chilly.
  • Moist skin: If your baby has chilly, moist skin, this might indicate that they are cold.
  • Fussiness or crying: Infants who are cold could become fussy or cry as a way of letting you know they are uncomfortable.
  • Not eating: A cold baby could be less interested in eating than normal, or they might have a lower appetite.
  • Color changes: If your baby is chilly, their skin may turn pale or blue.

Make sure your kid is dressed appropriately for the weather in order to keep them cozy and warm. Use blankets and many layers of clothes to keep your baby warm, but be careful not to overheat them since this is also risky. As a general guideline, you should cover your kid in one more layer compared to what you would wear under the same situations.

If you think your baby is feeling cold, don’t waste another second and get them warmed up. Use warm blankets, alter the room’s temperature, or hold them near your body. Keep an eye on your baby’s temperature and look for any indications of overheating because this condition may be just as harmful as being too cold. Please don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or other healthcare experts for help if you have any worries about the health or temperature of your baby.

When Should I Take My Baby To The Hospital?

If you notice any of the following, your baby needs urgent medical attention:

  1. Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing.
  2. Blue or gray skin or lips.
  3. Unresponsiveness or extreme lethargy.
  4. High fever (above 100.4°F or 38°C).
  5. Vomiting or diarrhea that lasts longer than 24 hours.
  6. Dehydration (signs include sunken eyes, dry mouth or lips, and no tears when crying).
  7. Seizures or convulsions.
  8. Severe or persistent cough.
  9. Rash or hives that spreads quickly or is accompanied by difficulty in breathing or a sudden swelling of the face, lips, or tongue.
  10. Head injury or suspected broken bones.

If your baby shows even one of these signs, you need to get immediate medical attention. If you have any worries about your baby’s health, don’t hesitate to consult a doctor since it’s always better to be safe than regret not getting your baby checked. Call your local emergency number or head to the closest emergency room.

Bottom Line

Babies shudder and show sudden movements a lot. That is a completely normal part of their development. However, if you even notice the shuddering spells or notice any sudden movement with other issues such as a fever, seek medical advice immediately because it can point to a serious problem. These seizures can be caused by low blood sugar levels or even infantile spasms too. It is important to get your baby checked if he/she experiences any shuddering movements continuously.

Stephanie Edenburgh

I'm Steph, a mom to 3 beautiful children and lover all things having to do with my family and being a mom. I've learned a lot raising my own children and working in education and healthcare roles throughout my career. Living in beautiful Southern California I enjoy documenting and writing about all of the hard work us mom's do on a daily basis.

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