Signs and Symptoms of Down Syndrome

The following signs are common in babies born with Down syndrome:

  • Distinct facial features
    • "Flat" face, particularly the nasal bridge
    • Smaller head, nose, hands, or feet
    • Larger tongue, sometimes protruding
    • Eyes that slant upward (unrelated to the child's ethnicity); skin folds in the inner corner of the eyes
    • Ears that fold over at the top
    • White spots in the iris of the eye
  • Other physical features
    • Loose joints, poor muscle tone, increased flexibility
    • Short neck
    • Short hands with single crease in palm; short fingers
    • Larger space between first and second toe
  • Developmental signs
  • Mild to moderate mental retardation
  • Slower physical growth
  • Delayed speech
  • Slower motor development; delays in dressing and feeding oneself

Generally, babies with Down syndrome reach the usual childhood milestones, such as sitting up, standing, and walking, but they reach these milestones later than other children.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 27 Aug 2008

Last Modified: 14 Sep 2015