Newborn Nursery at LPCH

Hypotonia

photo by Janelle Aby, MD

The assessment of tone can be made both from observing the posture and activity of the infant when undisturbed and also by handling the baby. Infants with normal tone will not feel "floppy" when held by the examiner. The infant in the photo above is hypotonic. When this baby was lifted, the examiner had to give much more support to the head and shoulders than is usual to keep the infant from sliding our of her hands. Notice how the both arms fall back (instead of being held in flexion), and the baby's chest seems to drape over the physician's hand.

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