What And When Can My Baby See?

Babies are born with everything they need to see, but like everything else, they have to practice, develop and learn the necessary skills before they have perfect vision. As parents, we often wonder when our babies can see colors -- or how far away they can see at any given age. Here’s some information about your baby’s vision and how you can help strengthen your baby’s sight through toys and experiences.

baby with mobile

What can my newborn baby see?

In the early week, newborn babies learn and develop their vision skills and can only see 8 - 15 inches in front of them. While they can see large shapes, faces and bright colors, newborns spend most of their days developing focus, recognizing depth, teaming eye movements and developing hand-eye coordination.

Things to encourage vision in newborns

  • Black and white toys
  • Black, white and red toys
  • Toys with large, simple shapes
  • Mom and dad’s faces
  • Family and friends' faces

What can my infant see?

When your baby reaches three to four months of age, he begins to tell the difference between colors (especially green and red) and can focus better on a variety of smaller objects. By the time your baby reaches four to five months, his eyes should be working together -- and then he begins to learn depth perception.

Things to encourage vision in infants

  • Playmats with attached arches
  • Tummy time toys
  • Black, white and color toys
  • Colorful and soft picture books
  • Mirrors
  • Rattles
  • Walking outdoors

What can my toddler see?

By the time your baby is 12 months of age, his vision reaches normal adult levels.

Things to encourage vision in toddlers

  • Large building blocks
  • Large, simple puzzles with knobs
  • Balls
  • Push and pull toys
  • Musical instrument toys
  • Books
  • Walks, outings and playtime with other children

Routine eye checks

Every baby is different and develops at his own pace. It's routine for your child’s doctor to check your baby’s eyes at each well-check to ensure your baby's vision is improving and on track. Call your child’s physician if you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s vision development.

Call if:

  • You notice your baby never fixates on your face or objects 12 inches away.
  • Your baby looks cross-eyed at three to four months old.

More on infant development

How to improve your baby's vision
Baby milestone -- eye contact
Infant emotional development

Tags: newborn babies vision

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