Babies (under 5 years)

Know the Symptoms

Babies (under 5 years)

It’s important to remember that many of these symptoms are extremely common and experiencing one by itself is rarely a sign of a brain tumour. However, being aware of all the potential symptoms can help you be ready to take action if two or more symptoms are experienced at the same time.
In this age group, some young children will not be able to describe how they feel, so you may need to look out for signs that they are unwell from how they look or behave – like going off their food or holding their hands to their stomach.
If symptoms persist for more than two weeks, you should speak to a doctor as soon as possible.
If symptoms develop quickly or are severe, call 999 or go to the emergency department.

Persistent / recurrent vomiting

Persistent vomiting or feeling sick, especially when not accompanied by diarrhoea or a high temperature.

Balance/co-ordination/walking problems

You may notice a loss or reduction in motor skills if your baby stops walking and reverts to cruising or crawling.

Abnormal eye movements

Visual abnormalities you may notice are squints, one eye bulging or eyes seeming to be wobbling, quivering or flickering.

Suspected loss of vision

Partial or complete loss of vision could be displayed by your baby having reduced awareness of people or toys around them and bumping into things as they move around.

Behaviour change, particularly lethargy

Be mindful when these changes occur persistently over days or weeks and across all settings – such as at home, nursery and when out playing.

Seizures or fits (not with a fever)

A seizure can be a brief moment when your baby appears to be “absent” from what is going on around them, or jerking/twitching of a hand, arm, leg or the whole body.

Abnormal head position

You may notice your baby has a stiff neck, an unusual head tilt or difficulties turning their head, and this likely persists over weeks.

Reduced consciousness

Your baby being unresponsive or less responsive could be a reduced response to pain or someone’s voice, appearing confused or you not being able to rouse them from sleep.

Diabetes insipidus

Unexplained weight loss and large volumes of urine, often shown by leaking nappies, could be a sign of diabetes insipidus.

Abnormal growth

If your baby isn’t growing as much as they should be for their age, this could potentially be caused by a hormone imbalance.

Increasing head circumference

Although all babies’ heads will grow, you should be mindful if their head circumference is rapidly increasing and this growth isn’t in line with their height and weight.