The asymmetrical tonic neck reflex

Early Childhood Development

The asymmetrical tonic neck reflex

When Your Child’s head is turned to one side, that side’s arm stretches out while the opposite one bends up at the elbow. This position is also called the “fencing”. 

The tonic neck reflex begins sometime between birth and when Your Child is 2 months old and lasts until the little one is 4 to 6 months old. 

It is also known as the “fencing reflex” because of the characteristic position of the infant’s arms and head, which resembles that of a classically trained fencer.

Nobody knows why children have this reflex.

What are newborn reflexes?
Newborn reflexes are reactions that babies are born with. These reflexes indicate that Your Child’s senses and brain are working properly. All reflexes occur at a specific age and will disappear naturally as the baby grows.


Dr. Piyawut Kreetapirom, MD. (7 March 2019)

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