Understanding your baby's vestibular

What is it and why is it important...

What is it?

You will know that we have 5 senses: sight, sound, taste, touch, smell. These are our extrinsic senses, senses that we have some control over

But did you know we have 2 intrinsic senses: vestibular and proprioception?

These two senses along with vision, combine to make our vestibular system (our balance system)

Your vestibular is made up of:

•       Inner ear – 2 mirror image structures

•       Semi-circular canals

•       Sac-like structures

The vestibular has been part of our human structure from early on in our development and can be found in very early fossils. It is part of our primitive brain and affects all our other senses

Why is it important?

  • One of the first senses to develop (5 months in utero)

  • It helps you know where you are in space and if you are moving or still

  • It helps combat the forces of gravity – without it we would be flopping around like a jelly fish

  • It enables us to function within our 3d world

  • Controls 4 different areas which are important for baby's development…

1.     Head & Eyes

  • Coordinates head & eye movements, so that:

  • We can read

  • Visually track a moving object

  • Recognise if it’s the object moving or our head moving

2.     Muscles

  • Helps develop muscle tone (along with our proprioception, senses within our muscles)

  • Sitting still can only be achieved when the balance system is fully developed

3.     Balance & Equilibrium

  • Messages from inner ear canals sent to the brain to tell you what is the position of your head, so that you and control your body and stop you falling over

4.     Symmetry

  • Helps coordinate left side and right side of body for:

  • Riding a bicycle

  • Crawling

  • Catching

  • Clapping

At Baby College we believe that healthy development of vestibular & proprioception systems vital for good overall development and helps to compensate for modern sedentary lifestyle – even for babies!


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