Becoming a parent is probably the most frustrating and satisfying experience in the world. The nights are long, sure, but, the years are short. This may seem an impossible idea in the middle of the night when you’re struggling to put your baby to sleep, but it’s true. One minute you’re changing diapers and the next you’re dropping them to school. A lot of parents tend to adhere there baby to equipment like baby bouncers and baby walkers to make it easier for them to walk, sleep and calm the baby, without really realizing how the excessive use of such things can be harmful.
The time, care and attention you can give your child, the first two years, sets the foundation for your baby’s growth and psyche in ways that perhaps you can’t even begin to fathom. Little things and changes make the difference, feeding your baby, using a sling, baby walkers or putting your baby in a baby bouncer for the first time, all of it matters.
Babies are work! There are no shortcuts! You can’t leave your child to the mercy of a baby walker. Today most pediatricians advise strongly against the usage of Baby walkers. It can cause harm to the heel and foot muscles of the baby as most babies will walk on their toes and this will never get them walking faster and might actually delay the process as the muscles required are different when walking freely or when using the baby walker.
Baby bouncers are better and a much safer option. However, the usage must be controlled. Never get your child addicted to any specific equipment.
While extensive use is never recommended baby bouncers are helpful, the padded seats are low with a safety strap to minimize the risk of injury or accident. If you place the baby in a bouncer never leave your baby unattended. The design of the bouncer has an ergonomic advantage and support; this offers a fun and protective option for an infant. There is almost no risk to the baby’s spine, neck and head.
Toddler bouncers and baby bouncers are a different ball game all together, designed to cater to a specific age group. Don’t get a toddler bouncer for a baby because the wrong size can be harmful.
Standing bouncers or jumpers are an excellent option because they prepare and strengthen a baby’s legs for crawling and walking. Since there is very little, actual impact with the ground this is a safe option for your child. A bouncing and jumping child is a happy and content one. The jumping helps stimulate a baby both physically and mentally. This exercise is bound to help attain balance and provide the perfect entertainment for the baby.
What Do the Studies Say?
According to an article published on livestrong.com, a study in “Child: Care, Health and Development” scrutinized the relationship between play-assist equipment and the development of motor skills in infants. According to the study, 43 babies were exposed play-assist equipment. The result was a poor infant score and the score got worse the more higher the equipment got. All results and reading were calculated based on the “Alberta Infant Motor Scale”. The less technical and lower end equipment proved healthier for infants. Ultimately this study could not be corresponded with any other results so it advised parents to monitor the usage and limit the time to avoid a negative impact on their babies, whereas infants with lower equipment had a better motor skill development.
The authors A.L. Abbott and D.J. Bartlett summarized their findings with a simple solution; don’t allow babies or even toddlers an extensive use of bouncers, walkers etc. It is always best to keep the usage of play- assist items to a minimum.
Don’t Let Your Child Sleep in the Bouncer!
It is tempting to let your child play and then fall asleep in a lie-in bouncer. However, if the baby is using the bouncer for more than, say, 30-45 minutes, you can end up disrupting the baby’s sleep schedule. Another point to remember is to never let your child sleep in the bouncer. According to the American Association of Pediatrics extended usage can give a baby flattened head syndrome and a toddler’s bouncer can be physically exhausting for longer periods.