is it possible for a child or a baby to be claustrophobic?

Tamara - posted on 11/03/2011 ( 23 moms have responded )

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my 21 month old screams every time hes in the carseat. we thought at first he was getting car sick, but he continued with the gravol. we also have noticed it with other "restrictive" things. when we put any clothes on him with closed cuffs, or a turtle neck he freaks out, starts screaming that hes stuck. same with his highchair. i keep thinking maybe he is, but i dont know if its even possible. i thought claustrophobia was a learned condition from a bad experience

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Lori - posted on 11/04/2011

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My daughter did the same thing, i would take a spray bottle of water and gently spritz her face, as my grandmother said "your just washing her" . The feel of water was enough to redirect her attention away from the car seat and the crying. It worked every time! Good luck!

Sarah - posted on 11/05/2011

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Mmmmm I think the clothing problem combined with the carseat is a big sign. You are such on observant parent! My son had a number of similar signs and symptoms. Many friends and well meaning people gave me alot of advice. However the idea that the problem was his age or personality just didn't sit right with me. So I took him to the doctor and began searching for information. My son it turns out is mildly autistic and has quite a range of sensory issues. If you think that this problem is serious start looking for a solution asap. I wish I had listened to my mothering instinct sooner. The worst that can happen is that you will find out that nothing is wrong. I wish you the very best!!

Lori - posted on 11/04/2011

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I agree with the posibility of sensory issue, our daughter was diagnosed with sensory defensivness when she was 2.

Eleanor - posted on 11/04/2011

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He may have sensory issues. The turtlenecks and car seats may irritate his skin. I had a son with sensory issues and even certain socks drove him crazy

Bonnie - posted on 11/04/2011

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As for the child in this case, many babies and young children do not like to be confined especially when they are mobile, so it is likely just his age.

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Kelly DeAnna - posted on 08/29/2013

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I need help, my 13 month old is starting to show claustrophobic signs( getting really nervous in elevator and in garage. I was just wondering if this could be claustrophobic because I was in a car accident while I was 7 months pregnant and wondering if that could be the cause of her anxiety while in either of these places.Just wondering because I was hemorrhaging from me to her after the wreck. Please if any one could ease my mind please do so!

Pamela - posted on 11/07/2011

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Sounds like your child has been incarnated before and has a carry over from a past life about "restrictions". Who knows, perhaps he was restricted in some way at the end of that lifetime and that is why the carry over is so strong as such an early age.

If the child is an Aquarian (born late January to mid-February), the NATURAL urge for freedom is extremely great for that astrological sign, though maybe not to this extreme.

Intuitively I would say that it's a carry over from a past life experience that carried a great adverse impact on his soul.

Christine - posted on 11/07/2011

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It may just be an age thing and it may pass, but on the other hand it could also point to sensory issues and/or Autistic tendencies. You may want to look at other aspects of his behaviour to see if anything else is concerning you. My advice would me to keep an eye on things, look at what you could do to help and reassure him (ie not putting restrictive clothes on him etc) and seek further help and advice if you are still concerned or things don't settle down!
Ps, my now 12 year old daughter had the same problems when she was younger and is mildly Autistic and doesn't like wearing certain clothes and can't stand feeling restricted!

Kathleen - posted on 11/05/2011

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My 3yr old did that. More so with the car seat and high chair. I made sure that I was putting him in the carseat correctly so everything was where it should be. The chest clip at arm pit length that i can still get my finger or was it two between the strap and him. I quit buckling him in the highchair, but only because I never left him in his chair by himself. After that I just quit putting turtle necks on him for a while. Took a few months but he quit. That doesn't mean to say that yours will have the same reaction. Nect time you go into the doctors, which sounds like it will be shortly in the next few months. Ask the peds if it continues. Could call too, we have a nurse that we can usually call and ask questions.

Maria - posted on 11/05/2011

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my now 10 year old would also scream and fight me tooth and nail getting into the carseat when he was about the same age---it does pass...however he would wear a turtleneck-until he was about 6 or 7 and won't go near one since then.

Ellen - posted on 11/05/2011

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I don't like anything around my neck or wrists...in fact, neither do my kids. Just put clothes on him that are loose fitting and that should solve that problem. The car seat is a harder problem because it's a law that HAS to be followed for safety reasons. Hmmm, just try to use distractions....food, toys, even movies. Hope you find something that works.

Flavia - posted on 11/05/2011

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I think it is more than that, I think it has to do with the entire feeling of being choked and restrained. Do contact the pediatrician and get some input from a professional who can help.

Sharen - posted on 11/05/2011

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First, know that babies around 18-30 months do not like to be trapped in any way. It is developmental. The clothing issue may be a little more telling. Sensory issues are also developmental and usually disappear as your baby's brain develops. None the less, these are hard issues for parents to deal with and I know you must feel terrible especially with the car seat issue and you feel like you are trying to keep h im safe. Try some games where you laugh and play around empty boxes, laundry basket and hide and seek where your toddler experiences some "closed in" type activities with a safety net of parents. For the "tactile" experience, play with big bowls such items as dry rice, beans, sand, cracked corn just as if they each are sand box materials. For a "wet" tactile, finger paint with pudding or baby food. Mix in a little dry rice or hard cereal for an added texture. See what he does with these. See my activities at www.sharenpearson.com Good Luck

Elizabeth - posted on 11/04/2011

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My first thought would be that he simply doesn't like being constrained. Either he is active and it prevents him from moving freely, Or it feels constrictive.

Is there a family member with fibromyalgia? Fibro is genetic and there is a slim possibility that he is having precurser symptoms, if that is the case, then you would want to take some preventative measures.

BTW Loraine, who was attacking? What words indicated attack? I must have missed it because I saw no attack in any of the posts.

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Geez people. Leave the poor woman alone. Whatever she has given her child there's no need to attack her. Some nicely worded advice about the Gravol would be better. Anyway, help and advice is needed here. Sounds to me like it may just be that your son doesn't like being restricted in his movements. Is he a very active baby? My little one cried in his car seat at night only from the time he was born until about 8 months old. Don't know why but it did pass. It was very hard to get through but we all have our own things we hate and that was his. I also think you should try him in play tunnels, hide and seek in/under things and see how he reacts. Best of luck with it all.

Alexandra - posted on 11/04/2011

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I think this is the age. My daughter sometimes fights very much when she is in her car seat. Not with other situations, though. Does he want to put the seat belt by himself? Do you think this would help, maybe? I let her put it, IT TAKES FOREVER, haha, until she says she needs help and then I finish put it. Of course even if he is able to put it, eventually, we should always check that it is well put.
I would definitely talk to your doctor. Maybe he has heard about other cases like this.
Good luck.

Kel-Cie - posted on 11/04/2011

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I've given all my kids Gravol at one point or another with my doctors OK, they all survived, though I should probably say you should mention the gravol to your Dr. not that I think it will hurt them in the smaller than recommended dose if your not abusing it.
I suppose it would be possible for a small child to be claustrophobic, though I have no experience on the issue. Does he crawl through play tunnels, or play in boxes, hide in closets or under his blanket? You could try to encourage him to try these things just to see. I never strapped my kids into their high chairs the tray and crotch piece was enough that they couldnt slide out, though one of my 2.5 yr olds has decided he hates the tray now and needs to be at the table the other needs to have the tray and hates to be at the table. My 6 month old has recently decided that his carseat is evil but he loves the swing.
How frustrating this must be for you! I hope you figure it out soon

Bonnie - posted on 11/04/2011

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I wouldn't give Gravol to a young child even if a doctor said it is okay. I was told a while back by a doctor at the ER that Gravol is safe to take during pregnancy to help with the nausea, only to find out recently from my doctor, that it is not at all safe.

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My son is now 22 and still gets car sick. We never travel without Dramamine (the less drowsy kind). He is also very claustrophobic, as am I. Neither of us had any bad experiences that caused it. I hate that your son has this problem, but "this too shall pass" is not always true. My suggestion would be to limit the restrictive things that you can control and maybe talk to your doctor about something to help when he has to be in his carseat. You might could try a different carseat that isnt very bulky. Stay pro-active in this and dont just hope it will pass. My son knows he cant travel without Dramamine, dont let your child suffer just because someone said, "this too shall pass"!! Good luck!!

Katherine - posted on 11/04/2011

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Yikes. Doesn't sound good to be giving.
And to Tamara, I don't understand why you would think he was car sick just because he was screaming. Did he ever vomit?

Amanda - posted on 11/04/2011

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Its a pill to prevent vomiting, it is not recommended for any child under 2 years old. We use it in my home for my 11 year old who loves to get car sick. Its also very handy when the kids bring home Norwalk.

Katherine - posted on 11/04/2011

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It's not claustrophobia, it's the age ;) My daughters did the same thing.

This too shall pass.



What's gravol btw?

Amanda - posted on 11/04/2011

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Im a little shocked you have given gravol to a child under 2 years old, I hope you got advice from a doctor before you did so. As for claustrophobic i highly doubt your child is, most children dont like to be tied down and froced to sit in a car seat. As an adult I would scream I am stuck if I was froced to wear a god aweful turtle neck too. :0)

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