From what they breathe while in mums belly, to how they sit when they’re on a seat, and how educational their toys are, Parents are never out of questions to brainstorm for their baby’s wellbeing. You’d be surprised to know that the side they face in a stroller, to the time they spend in it, has actual developmental effects on their health! Here are some facts you didnt know about your baby pram / stroller.
Do strollers have psychological effects?
It may seem like just a seat, or a bassinet that is just perfect for laying bub while you’re on a walk, or taking a wash. And you’re right, strollers are great options for taking bub around while you attend to your work throughout your day. But did you know that while bub is still growing, front facing strollers can deprive babies of their first lessons in life of communicating. A study shows that buggies which allow babies to look at their parent give babies the best start in life. Children in only front facing varieties are significantly less likely to talk, interact and exchange emotions with parents than those which are parent-facing. An ideal pram would have a bit of both worlds: parent facing, and forward facing, so that bub can interact with the nature outside, and also have some parent time.
The same study observed that children in parent facing buggies were twice as much exposed to human interaction than forward facing configurations. Some experiments also show that the heart rate of children facing the parent, is calmer and bub is more likey to fall asleep in this orientation. It just goes to show how bub associates the figure behind the pram, as a trustworthy family member, who is visible to them. Mothers and infants also laughed more often in face-to-face buggies.
Can stroller overuse become a problem?
Yes- the use of strollers beyond necessary tasks can pose health risks to your baby. While strollers, car seats, carriers, and containers are a “cant-without” items for any parent, it can also adversely affect your baby’s physical development when used in incorrect durations.
If you leave your precious bundle too long in any or all of these, you may run the risk of them developing “container baby syndrome.” You may not find that term in a medical dictionary, but it’s been coined by physical therapists to describe what can happen if you overuse baby containers. A child can very often, (and without our knowledge) be held in an infant carrier, and then be placed in a bouncy seat, to a car capsule and then to a swing on busy days. And a busy day could mean every day for a working parent. The child ends up spending so much time in carrying devices that eventually, their full motor functions are not adequately stimulated. This is much like a comparison we would make to any adult who sits at a desk all day, and does no physical activity.
One of the most common results of this is torticollis, where the child neck muscles tighten and cause the head to lean or rotate to a specific side. Another issue is the increased risk of plagiocephaly: where the baby develops a flat spot on the back of the head or on the side of the head because they’re being held in that one position.
How do i mitigate this?
In general, when babies are not freely able to kick their arms and legs, lift their torso, turn over their belly or move their muscles, that would set them up for developmental delays or complications. Experts say keeping your baby on their stomach is the best way to avoid container baby syndrome. This ofcourse, has to be supervised at all times. You cant put your baby on their belly and walk away to another task. And it is at these times, and only while parents are not able to engage in activities with their baby, that a container comes in handy. Purchasing a standard pram, car capsule, or baby carrier can further decrease the health risks for your baby.
Undercover trouble in your pram!
This is probably no surprise to anyone that unclean bedding, causes rashes and skin irritations. Babies sleep and lay down for more than half their day until they’re old enough to wobble into their first walk. Spending time in bed, a baby high chair, or specially a pram that gets taken out in the dust and rubble most naturally needs to be cleaned at least once a week. Think about the drool, sweat, dandruff, pet fur and other dirt that gets on the baby stroller on a daily basis, even if it isn’t taken out of home. These can act as a great surface for bacterial colonies to grow. Most medical professionals advice to have bedding and baby contact surfaces washed a minimum of one a week, if not sanitized daily.
It is always helpful to be on be safer side, to wash your seat covers and clean your baby’s sitting/sleeping surfaces whenever you feel like they are getting dusty, or dirty. This may be a particularly hard problem to tackle when it comes to strollers, bassinets and baby chairs, as you cannot allow the cushions to soak in, and be cleaned ever week. It takes too much effort, too much time, and where would bub sit while your high chair was out drying? More importantly, how often can you find a day with perfect weather to dry these items? The solution is to choose products that have removable, and washable seat liners.