-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- Having babies sleep on their
back to reduce their risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
does not affect the development of their ability to roll, according
to a new study.
Some concern existed that the introduction of the Back to Sleep
campaign (now called Safe to Sleep) 20 years ago would reduce the
time that infants spent on their stomachs and impair their gross
motor development, particularly their ability to roll from their
stomach to their back, and from their back to their stomach.
But a Canadian researcher who looked at the rolling abilities
and motor skills development of 725 infants aged 1 week to 8 months
found that their ability to roll was much the same as it was among
infants 20 years ago.
"Infant gross motor development hasn't changed that much in 20 years," study author Johanna Darrah, a professor of physical therapy at the University of Alberta, said in a university news release. "The thought that babies first roll from their tummy to their back, before they go from their back to their tummy, does not appear to be the case. For most babies, they happen very close together."
She said the findings, published in the May issue of the journal
Early Human Development, are especially valuable for early
childhood development specialists.
"Our results would suggest that gross motor skills emerge in the same order and at the same ages as 20 years ago," Darrah said. "The environment is of course important to gross motor development, but the change in a sleeping position hasn't made much difference as to when babies roll from stomach to back."
The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human
Development explains the importance of
having infants sleep on their backs.
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