Trauma and children – Common reactions in babies and toddlers

Common reactions in babies and toddlers

When babies or toddlers are exposed to life-threatening or traumatic events, they become very scared – just like anybody else. Some common reactions may include:
• Unusually high levels of distress when separated from their parent or primary carer
• A kind of ‘frozen watchfulness’ – the child may have a ‘shocked’ look
• Giving the appearance of being numb and not showing their feelings or seeming a bit ‘cut off’ from what is happening around them
• Loss of playful and engaging smiling and ‘coo-ing’ behaviour
• Loss of eating skills
• Avoiding eye contact
• Being more unsettled and much more difficult to soothe
• Slipping back in their physical skills such as sitting, crawling or walking and appearing more clumsy



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