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Pediatric Dizziness

What is dizziness?

Dizziness is a sensation of light-headedness or feeling faint.

What are the causes of dizziness in children?

Main Cause. Usually due to reduced blood flow to the brain for a short time. It can be triggered by many normal events:

  • Standing too long in one place. Reason: This causes pooling of blood in the legs.
  • Standing up suddenly. Reason: This causes sudden drop in blood pressure.
  • Dehydration. This can be from losing fluids and/or from not drinking enough fluid.
  • Low oxygen (such as when running and out of breath). Reason: Lower than normal oxygen levels can't meet body's needs for a short time.
  • Too much sun or hot tub use. Reason: Increased sweating causes fluid loss.
  • Sweating from sports or hard work. Reason: Sweating causes fluid loss.
  • Fasting. Skipping a meal causes low blood sugar.
  • Fever
  • Motion sickness. Main symptoms are dizziness and nausea.
  • Viral Syndrome. Patients with viral illnesses (e.g., colds, flu) often say they are a bit dizzy. This is never the only symptom. It may relate to weakness from being sick.
  • Vertigo (Serious). In addition to dizziness, the child complains that the room is spinning. They can't walk if they have vertigo. True vertigo is very rare in children. It's usually caused by middle ear disease.


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Frequently Asked Questions

About Dizziness

What are the symptoms of dizziness in children?

What are the levels of dizziness in children?

If my child has symptoms of dizziness, when should I call 911?

Care Advice

What if my child has dizziness from sudden or prolonged standing?

What if my child has dizziness from poor fluid intake?

What if my child has dizziness from an unknown cause?

Meet the Providers Who Treat Dizziness

Departments that Treat Dizziness

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Balance and Vestibular Program

The Balance and Vestibular Program at Children's National Hospital treats children experiencing dysfunction of the vestibular system such as dizziness, imbalance, delayed motor function development and vertigo.