Things You Should Know About Moro Reflex In Children

Things You Should Know About Moro Reflex in Children

Ready, Set, BANG! We were at little athletics for the first time, just watching. I thought it would be good for my son to get some fitness and increase his confidence. Unfortunately, when the gun went off, my son ran, but not in the right direction….

In my son’s case, this was a symptom of an overreactive Moro Reflex. We humans all have a Moro Reflex, but in some cases, it can affect our daily lives and not in a good way. This week’s article will explain what the Moro Reflex is and how it can be overreactive. We will also go through how the Moro Reflex can affect children and adults and how to help manage the side effects.

What Is The Moro Reflex?

What Is The Moro Reflex

The Moro reflex is an involuntary blinking response that occurs when a child or adult is startled or surprised. It’s caused by the brain releasing the neurotransmitter norepinephrine which causes the eyes to involuntarily blink. If you have had children or are around babies, you have seen the Moro Reflex in full action.

It is commonly called the startle reflex and is with us at birth. You can see it when a baby is startled by a loud noise or someone or something suddenly appearing in front of them. The babies' arms will fly out, their heads will go back and they will usually cry.

What Causes An Overreative Moro Reflex?

What Causes An Overreative Moro Reflex

The Moro Reflex is a fight and flight response that comes back from the caveman days, do we fight, or do we run? It is said that it “disappears by 3-6 months of age”, but it never really disappears, as it is a survival reflex. It usually tones down though, but sometimes it doesn’t.

A study from 1997, observed babies born via cesarean section had stronger Moro reflexes than babies who were born naturally. Some have noticed it can occur if the birth was very quick or traumatic. Sometimes the Moro Reflex tones down and comes back after a big scare or traumatic or stressful event. We are all different and can experience the overreactive Moro reflex in different ways.

Common Symptoms Of An Overreactive Moro Reflex

Common Symptoms of An Moro Reflex

The Moro reflex is a normal reflex that can be observed in children as well as adults. It is when the Moro reflex is thrown into an overreactive mode that it can affect day-to-day life. Some symptoms of an overreactive Moro Reflex can be some or a combination of the below:

  • Very scared of loud noises
  • Cannot part from family ie issue at school drop off and/or camps
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional outbursts

Tracy Tinker author of Integrating The Primitive Reflexes also notes:

  • Depression
  • Difficulty with change
  • Breath-holding
  • Can’t handle criticism
  • Must feel safe.

What Can Help Tone Down The Moro Reflex?

What Can Help Tone Moro Reflex

As mentioned, the Moro Reflex is a reflex we need to help us determine we are in danger. But currently, we do not need it as we did in caveman days. When the Moro Reflex is overreacting, it can seriously affect how a child or adult feels and can really rule your life. Some ways to manage the Moro Reflex can be mediation and mindfulness activities.

There are occupational therapists, chiropractors, and physiotherapists trained in helping tone down the Moro Reflex. Kinesiologists, like myself, are also trained in helping and we can also provide ways for you to help yourself or your child at home to keep it in check. It isn’t a quick fix; it may take a few sessions to see results in children. The exercises are not difficult or time-consuming, I have seen the results and I believe it is worth it.


I have experienced the overreactive Moro Reflex with both my children and I have experienced it myself. Even after working with them, it still can come up again. If there is a big test or they had a big argument with their friends, it can come back. But, if the Moro Reflex is managed well and consistently, I have seen with my kids, it doesn’t come back so full-on and it doesn’t take as long to calm down again. We are all different and we can find different results, but for those who just don’t know what to try next, I would highly suggest seeking out a kinesiologist who is trained in working with the Moro Reflex. You may be surprised by the results.

Have fun in your self-healing journey!

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