Caregiving · Dr. Emmi Pikler · Educarer · Education Category · Magda Gerber · Parent Category · R.I.E. · Resources for Infant Educarers

Therapists see no developmental benefits from seats

Therapists see no developmental benefits from seats

Chairs inhibit movement, which is what babies need, experts say

March 15, 2012|By Julie Deardorff, Chicago Tribune reporter

Erin Papuga feeds her 7-month-old daughter, Caroline, in the Bumbo at their home in Chicago. (Heather Charles, Chicago Tribune)950

Like other gadgets that confine babies, including walkers, exercise saucers and bouncy seats, the Bumbo Baby Seat is not popular among physical therapists.

Bumbo’s website says its product — which props up an infant in a sitting position before he may be physically ready to do it on his own — has developmental benefits and enhances posture.

But the position actually teaches babies incorrect postural alignment, with a rounded back and the head leaning forward, said Mary Weck, clinical coordinator of physical therapy at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

Rather than using a chair, parents looking for developmental benefits should play with their baby and encourage movement, said physical therapist Colleen Harper, director of developmental, rehabilitative and child life services at Chicago’s La Rabida Children’s Hospital.

“No equipment enhances a child’s motor development; equipment is a ‘baby sitter’ so that a parent can cook dinner, eat dinner or take a shower,” Harper said. “A gross motor skill like sitting is achieved through movement and practice. Children fall out of Bumbo seats because they do not yet have the requisite strength, balance and coordination needed for sitting.”

And though many parents say their children look happy in the Bumbo, Weck says babies can be equally happy in many other positions. Here’s how Weck assesses statements found on bumbo.com:

Bumbo says: “The seat stabilizes the child into slight hip flexion, placing the pelvis in a slight anterior pelvic tilt which facilitates lumbar extension.”

Weck says: “Actually, it does the exact opposite. It puts the baby’s pelvis in a posterior tilt, which facilitates lumbar flexion, not extension. That puts the baby’s chest behind the pelvis. Then the head has to come too far forward. It’s no longer positioned directly above the chest.”

Bumbo says: “The chair allows a child the pelvic stability needed to get the hands into the midline for play.”

Weck says: “Children don’t need a chair to get their hands in that position. At the age they’re using the Bumbo, they are able to do that in a variety of positions anyway.”

Bumbo says: “Upright positioning facilitates an improved visual field of the environment, improved respirations and breath control and assists a baby who needs to be upright after feeding due to reflux.”

Weck says: “Studies show tummy time is good at stabilizing the visual field of the environment. Research also shows respirations and reflux are better when the infant is prone rather than upright, as long as the baby is in the proper prone position. One reason the chairs tip over is that babies need to move. This chair holds them from getting the vestibular motion they need to give them control of their eyes and other sensory issues. All the benefits you get from moving are inhibited in a chair.”

jdeardorff@tribune.com

 http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-03-15/health/ct-met-bumbo-posture-20120315_1_physical-therapists-developmental-benefits-babies

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Therapists see no developmental benefits from seats

  1. Reblogged this on Little River School Online and commented:

    I wanted to bring this article to your attention once again. Although we posted it some time ago, I continue to see photos of children propped in this seat. “The Research of Dr. Emmi Pikler shows that even the youngest babies change position an average of once a minute. So if they are strapped into a seat or a swing they cannot do what they would do naturally if free. Avoid contraptions that confine infants.”(1)
    “But the Bumbo Baby seat position actually teaches babies incorrect postural alignment, with a rounded back and the head leaning forward, said Mary Weck, clinical coordinator of physical therapy at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.”
    Additional information regarding Bumbo seat: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?id=8538195

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s