Newborn Nursery at LPCH

Asymmetric Tonic Neck Reflex

video by Deb Steele

As the infant's head is turned to one side, the arms will briefly come into a "fencer's" position, with the arm on the same side as the face straight out to the side and the arm behind the head flexed at the elbow. This reflex is present until about 6 - 7 months of age. An obligatory tonic neck reflex, where the infant is "locked" in the fencer's position when the head is turned, is an abnormal finding.

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