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Kylie McConville

Too Much Time In The Stroller Is Bad For Baby’s Development

PUBLISHED ON 03/14/2014

Set the timer, mom, because letting baby hang out in his stroller for too long is probably hindering his speech and physical development skills.

Sally Goddard Blythe, a neuro-psychologist presented information at the WATCh? (What About the Children?) charity conference that found an "over-reliance" on forward-facing strollers reduces the time that babies spend interacting with their parents and exploring freely — and these reductions have lasting effects on baby's development. According to Blythe, baby's performance in school (and life) are also at risk.

Delivering her speech at the WATCh? convention, Blythe said, "Attention, balance and co-ordination skills learned during the first 36 months of life support cognitive learning and have been linked to performance on SATs at school. Infants need opportunity for free movement and exploration, whether that is tummy time, cuddling or rough play. That is not happening if a child is in a forward facing buggy and her mum is using her smartphone." So, according to the neuro-psychologist, not only is the forward-facing stroller an issue, but also your smartphone.

Blythe said that children with "immature physical skills were less likely to perform well in national curriculum tests, even if they are intelligent, because "buggies", car seats, rocking chairs and electronic screens are being used more and more inside the home.

"If they are used in moderation there is probably no problem at all," Blythe told the audience. "There is perhaps a culture among a new generation of parents who don’t know they should only be used as tools, rather than devices that you can keep a baby in for long periods." She added that studies have found that language and development skills are more advanced among youngsters that were pushed often in rear-facing strollers and that physical movements (like going from sitting to lying down) help baby develop pathways in the brain that lay the groundwork for problem-solving later on in life.

Do you think your stroller is hurting your baby's development?

PHOTO: Shutterstock / The Bump