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Babies need time on their tummies
2009-08-07

 
Babies who spend more time on their tummies (in the prone position) when they are awake are more advanced in their motor development than children who are not allowed to lie on their tummies, or only for short periods, shows research published by Ms Dorothy Russell in the South African Journal of Occupational Therapy. Ms Russell is a senior occupational therapist in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health in the Faculty of Heath Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS). The study shows there were significant differences in the active movements of the arms and the pushing-up on the arms between prone and non-prone infants.

She says research and clinical evidence indicate that parents are not well educated regarding the value of placing their infants in the prone position during the early stages of infancy. The supine position where babies lie on the backs, leads to a decrease in the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and mothers steer away of putting their babies in the prone position because of that. However, lack of exposure to prone position can result in deceased opportunities to learn functions such as rolling over, sitting up, crawling and pulling to the standing position.
Photo: Leatitia Pienaar

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