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Leung and colleagues (1) propose that head banging is an integral part of normal development; a tension-releasing maneuver; an attention-seeking device; and a form of pain relief in response to acute illnesses.
Head banging can be confused with typical temper tantrums, spasmus nutans (triad of pendular nystagmus, head nodding, and torticollis), and infantile myoclonic seizures (sudden dropping of the head and flexion of the arms).
It's unlikely head banging will cause any physical damage to your baby, although damage may occur to the crib, nearby walls, etc.