How to Know If Your Baby Is Right or Left-handed

How to Know If Your Baby Is Right or Left-handed

Last update: 22 June, 2018

In a population where right-handed people are the majority, only 15 percent of babies are born left-handed. 

How can you know if your baby is left or right-handed? There are several tests that can help us determine which hand your baby will use in the future.

This doesn’t mean that you can be sure at only a few months of age. However, you can begin to observe patterns at a very young age if you’re patient.

Some medical studies indicate that those who are left-handed tend to be more intelligent. However, in the past, left-handed people were considered to be disadvantaged. This is because the left hand was seen as “bad” and had many negative connotations.

However, this was nothing more than superstition. Being left-handed doesn’t make your baby any better or worse. It’s simply a condition that has nothing to do with other abilities or skills.

The possibility of two right-handed parents having a left-handed child is between 2 and 4 percent.

How to know if your baby is right or left-handed

You won’t be able to determine your child‘s dominant hand until 3 or 4 months of age. 

Around that age, you’ll notice that your little one will start to favor one hand over the other. This won’t be immediate. In fact, your child may go through a transition where he or she uses both hands.

After your child reaches 6 or 7 months, you’ll be able to determine whether he is left-handed or right-handed.

How to Know If Your Baby Is Right or Left-handed

In order to detect if your child is left or right-handed, you can give the “Harris Test of Lateral Dominance.” By observing your child’s hands, feet, eyes and ears, you can predict his or her condition.

You must be very detail-oriented and observe your child’s movements attentively during the following events or activities:

Watch your child’s hands while…

  • Hammering with a hammer
  • Throwing a ball
  • Brushing his or her teeth
  • Combing his or her hair
  • Cutting with scissors
  • Writing
  • Cuttig with a knife
  • Winding a toy or a watch
  • Turning a door knob
  • Stretching a rubberband

Observe your child’s feet while…

  • Kicking a soccer ball
  • Climbing a stair
  • Spinning or pivoting around on one foot
  • Balancing on one foot
  • Resting one leg on a chair
  • Writing a letter with his or her foot
  • Jumping one foot for 30 feet
  • Pushing a ball for 30 feet
  • Kicking a ball out from underneath a chair
  • Losing his or her balance – check which foot is used to regain balance

Visual dominance: See which eye your child uses for…

  • Sighting (6″ x 10″ carboard rectangle with a small hole in the center for your child to peak through).
  • Looking at a kaleidoscope
  • Taking a picture with a non-digital camera
  • Looking through a telescope or long cardboard tube

Auditory dominance: See which ear your child uses for

  • Speaking on the phone
  • Listening to the ground
  • Listening through a wall
  • Listening to a shell
How to Know If Your Baby Is Right or Left-handed

Final Assessment

Keep track of what hand or foot your child uses for the above actions on a chart. Write the letter “R” if your child only uses his right hand or foot to perform a specific task.

If your child only uses the left hand or foot, then write the letter “L.” Your child may alternate between left and right.

In this case, write down the letter that represents the majority of cases in lowercase , “r” or “l.” If you notice that your little one performs certain actions with either foot or hand equally, then you should write “A” for ambidextrous.

As for visual or auditory dominance, you should carry out the same process. Write down “L” or “R” if your child carries out three trials with the same side. If your little one uses the same hand for only 2 out of 3 trials, then jot down the letters in lowercase, “r” or “l.” 

And once again, if your child shows no preference, but rather uses both hands or both feet equally, then write the letter “A.”

If the final result of your study is “R – R – R – R” then your child is clearly right-handed. And by the same logic, you can conclude that your child is left-handed if your final results read “L – L – L – L.”

A result such as “L – R – L – R” would indicate cross laterality. And a result such as “L – L – l – L” for example, signifies an unaffirmed laterality.

Other ways to determine if your child is right or left-handed

  • According to the way your child eats. At around age three, you can observe the way your son or daughter picks up silverware.
  • The way your child opens a door with a key. A left-handed person will generally open the door towards the right. Likewise, a right-handed person will generally open doors towards the left.
  • Watch how your child twists a lid off of a jar. You can ask your son or daughter to open a container. A left-handed will try to twist the lid to the left. If your child is right-handed, he or she will go ahead and open it to the right.
  • The way your child blows his or her nose. Nose blowing is another way to determine if your child is left or right-handed. What hand does your child tend to use?
  • How does your child play sports? Analyze closely what foot and hand your child uses when participating in sport activities.

You won’t be able to completely identify if your child is right or left-handed until the beginning of elementary school. Babies go through many processes and changes, meaning we can’t clearly define their lateral dominance until they’re a little older.

And remember, while there may be statistics regarding certain related factors, your child’s lateral dominance has no influence on their capacities or intelligence.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.