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Old 03-04-11, 05:17 PM
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Experts: Lack of 'tummy time' causes developmental delays in children

I posted this in another part of the forum, but thought I'd post it here for all the parents.

Experts: Lack of 'tummy time' causes developmental delays in children

http://www.ky3.com/news/contactky3/k...,3781056.story

Medical professionals call it a national epidemic: normal children who are delayed in accomplishing basic skills like holding a pencil or catching a ball. At least one expert calls them "bucket babies." They're kids who spend too much time in containers like car seats and not enough time on their tummies. It causes problems in children from infancy through adulthood.
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Twenty years ago, a 5-month-old baby like Lexi Cizek would have spent almost all her time on her tummy. But, today, Lexi cries after just a minute on her belly.
"It was just torture for her to do it and eventually you'd just pick her up," said Lexi's mom, Karyssa.

Lexi is one of millions of American babies facing the possibility of developmental delays simply because she doesn't spend enough time on her stomach.
Occupational therapist Charlene Young is traveling the nation, lecturing to healthcareprofessionals about what she calls "bucket babies."
"The number of children with developmental delays has increased dramatically, so it is imperative we stop that from happening," she said.

The Back to Sleep campaign encouraging parents to place babies to sleep on their backs and the growing popularity of convenient devices like infant car seats, swings, saucers and bouncy seats have led to children not getting enough tummy time.
"Extensive time in containers limits movement, which causes problems with development," said Young.

There is growing clinical evidence that it's causing delays in otherwise normal children.
"It's affecting motor skills, both fine and gross, and sensory development overall. The developmental milestones have changed dramatically in 20 years."

It's all because spending time on your stomach establishes the upper body strength that babies will use for the rest of their lives to do things like read and write, hold a scissors properly, and even climb a jungle gym.
"It's absolutely vital for development. It supports neck development, which supports the jaw, which supports talking and eating. It supports the neck, which supports the eyes being able to focus together and scan," said Amy Vaughan, an occupational therapist with Burrell Behavioral Health.

Because they don't have the upper body strength to support them, more and more children are completely skipping over the crawling stage. Once seen by medical professionals as unnecessary for the normal development of children, more and more of them now believe crawling is crucial.
"Crawling will help strengthen muscles to support handwriting and endurance. It's going to support the midline to swing a bat and hit a ball and have hand-eye coordination to do it well," said Vaughan.

"If a child doesn't develop according to milestones, than it has a snow ball effect. Cognitive development could be delayed, visual motor skills are delayed. We're seeing 1 in 5 children with a visual processing disorder," said Young.

It can affect kids throughout their life.
"By the time you get to a college level class it matters how long you can sustain writing and typing," said Vaughan.

CRAWLING IS KEY
Without intense therapy since age 3, Mason Malarkey might never have been able to take Taekwondo. His entire life, he has battled developmental delays.
"When he wrote with a crayon, he would bear down so hard that they would break. He's done that with pencils. He's always had trouble with scisssors. He's always had problems with buttons and zippers too," said his mom, Michele.

His occupational therapist says it was most likely caused by not enough tummy time and completely skipping over the crawling stage.
"He was a kid who you would put him on his tummy and he would scream bloody murder. The minute he'd scream, what would I do? I'd scoop him up and hold him," said Malarkey.

Thanks to an early diagnosis, Mason is catching up, but still has some difficulties.
"He turned 8 years old last month and just learned to tie his shoes last month."

Malarkey said every parent needs to know the importance of tummy time, crawling and getting babies out of their buckets.
"If I had to do it all over again, I would not have picked him up as soon as he cried on his tummy. It's very important that he was on his tummy and crawled. At the time, I didn't see any problem with it."

SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER
Occupational therapists also believe a lack of tummy time causes sensory processing problems. This means children may not respond properly to taste, touch, movement, smell, vision and hearing, a condition known as Sensory Processing Disorder. Some children may even show signs of behavioral problems.
"Extensive time in containers limits movement and exposure to the environment which can cause problems with development," said Young.

"In the last 12 to 15 years, doctors would say they've noticed more perception problems, attention problems, pre-reading problems. There are more dyslexic-like symptoms and more thinking issues in general," said Vaughan. "All you need to do is look at our national test scores and see that they're not going in the direction we want them to do."

Children born by cesarean section are particularly at risk.
"During a c-section, there is a lack of input to the sensory system when the baby is being born. This, combined with container use and not enough tummy time, can make the problem multiply," said Young.

She believes the increasing number of children in daycare is also to blame.
"Daycares are worried about the safety of children. As a result, children spend a lot of time in devices considered to be safe such as bouncy seats and swings."

She believes educating parents, teachers and healthcare providers about the problem is the only way to prevent it.
"A large number of our adult population will suffer from disabilities if we don't get a handle on it," she said. "We need better education, better screening, and pediatricians need to be aware of what's happening with these babies."

If you notice your child has some of these delays, ask your pediatrician. They might be able to refer you to a physical or occupational therapist for an evaluation.
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Old 03-05-11, 04:03 AM
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Re: Experts: Lack of 'tummy time' causes developmental delays in children

Thanks. Interesting article. I'd like to see if/what opposing experts say.

I do disagree regarding a lack of tummy time causing sensory processing problems. As many parents will say that their child had difficulties from birth.
Certainly my son was born with Sensory Processing Disorder. Though we didn't know that was what it was until he was 6.
But a newborn who can't sleep, feed or be comforted is not suffering from a lack of tummy time.
Perhaps they are referring to dyspraxia (motor planning and co-ordination) which is part of some children's SPD. Or perhaps lack of tummy time may exacerbate already present SPD, or tummy time could have lessened difficulties.
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Old 03-05-11, 01:10 PM
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Re: Experts: Lack of 'tummy time' causes developmental delays in children

I was born 60 years ago, back when babies slept on their tummies and spent time on the floor. Out of five siblings, two were crawlers, three were butt-scooters. I don't know that my mom did anything differently between us except for one brother was born brain-damaged due to lack of oxygen (breech birth with complications).

I do think babies spend too much time in "containers" these days and not enough time learning how to manage their bodies, but I do NOT think that it causes things like ADHD or Autism or SPD, although it may make those conditions worse. I think research has pretty well shown a genetic link.


The increase in diagnosis these days is not because the babies are not getting tummy time, it's because increased awareness leads to an increase in diagnosis and treatment.
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Old 03-05-11, 01:40 PM
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Re: Experts: Lack of 'tummy time' causes developmental delays in children

Quote:
Originally Posted by MuscleMama View Post
She believes the increasing number of children in daycare is also to blame.
"Daycares are worried about the safety of children. As a result, children spend a lot of time in devices considered to be safe such as bouncy seats and swings."
While I don't agree with everything written in that article I do agree with that part. It's not entirely the fault of the day cares though. One important thing to keep in mind with daycares is that many of them have a lot of babies, and that many babies can't all be given tummy time every day with us, at least not safely. The baby area I worked in had the most children, 15, and only three workers most days. That's a lot of kids for only three workers, and while we can try to give them all tummy time it won't happen. Especially if the daycare has an enforced schedule.

Another really big problem is the paranoid parents. If you knew how many times we had parents freak out because they saw their babies lying on the floor playing instead of being held or placed in a bouncy seat it would blow your mind. I had one parent try to get me fired because I was "endangering her child" by letting it roll around on the soft mats. She said that if I were to leave it, it could suffocate from lying on its stomach too long.

I think part of the problem is parents are being told about so many dangers and so many ways that their children's development could be slowed that they become overly paranoid and end up placing their babies in a bubble. We've had parents asked that their child not be allowed to play on the monkey bars or with any of the stuffed animals because of the possibility of germs. We've had parents give us bizarre instructions for feeding or changing their child because they read that doing it to the regular way can cause some random outrageous illness that can cause brain damage. Now I could understand if the baby had real issues, like sensitive skin, digestive issues, etc. but these are perfectly healthy babies whose parents are seeing dangers in every little thing. I understand that these are their babies, but there's a fine line between protecting their child from danger and smothering their child.
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Old 03-05-11, 09:40 PM
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Re: Experts: Lack of 'tummy time' causes developmental delays in children

One of the first things you notice with an ADD or ASD infant is an absolute intolerance for certain physical sensations. Developmental experts will insist that an upset infant or toddler will be comforted by swaddling or tight cuddling, but an ADD or ASD child is likely to become even more upset by physical confinement.

I was miserable on my tummy, too, and so was my older daughter, who also has ADD. Both of us, though, were early walkers, and strong enough to stand and hold our heads up well before the normal age for that. (DD was actually gripping our fingers and standing when she was only a couple of weeks old, but she'd been doing squats in the womb for months before she was born!)

I wouldn't be surprised if many parents remembered their ADD children's early development being short on "tummy time" and cuddling because it was just too painful to see their babies so upset. Rather than feeling guilty that they somehow exacerbated their child's condition by not forcing it, they might want to consider that the resistance was a symptom of its existence. This article strikes me as akin to blaming it on bad parenting, which just isn't the case.
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Old 03-07-11, 07:47 PM
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Re: Experts: Lack of 'tummy time' causes developmental delays in children

I didn't take this article as citing a lack of tummy time as the cause of adhd,or even making adhd worse, but as the cause of a host of developmental problems. My adhd daughter didn't spend a whole lot of time on her tummy, but she is the one that rolled around to get out of that position.

I have had people that work in daycare centers with infants tell me they can tell my grandson is NOT in daycare because of his development. It is true that back to sleep campaign has freaked out so many parents they don't thnk it's safe to ever let their kids lay on their stomach. And a daycare center that has 5 infants to one adult doesn't have much choice but to 'containerize' the babies, it is very difficult to keep track of 5 babies at once!

I think it's great that they have figured out one reason for an increase in developmental delays in children and are getting the word out how it can be stopped!
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Old 03-08-11, 01:02 PM
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Re: Experts: Lack of 'tummy time' causes developmental delays in children

I completely agree that the back to sleep campaign had some...unintended side effects. It's kinda funny how saying "do this when they're sleeping" turns into "do this all the time". I have heard that a lack of tummy time can lead to delays in crawling, not that I noticed it much since mine mostly skipped that anyway and went straight to running.
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Old 03-08-11, 01:09 PM
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Re: Experts: Lack of 'tummy time' causes developmental delays in children

My son wasn't interested in tummy time and could rollover from birth to avoid it. He also did not like being contained and did not spend time in his swing or his car seat when awake--if I was lucky he would sleep in it a bit after a car trip but that was fairly rare.
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Old 03-08-11, 11:29 PM
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Re: Experts: Lack of 'tummy time' causes developmental delays in children

I'm not sure if parents believe "back to sleep" means all tummy time is bad. I know I certainly did not think that. Still my daughter hated being on her stomach and since she was a cranky baby anyways I would give in to her cries. Maybe the fact that she spent so much time sleeping on her back got her used to that, or like another said, maybe kids with Adhd don't like tummy time as infants.
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