Use these child-rearing aids with caution

While there are a number of child-rearing aids on the market, experts caution parents that some aids can hinder your baby’s normal growth and development.

We all want to raise our children to be healthy and happy. However, some child-rearing products can actually hinder your child’s normal development and optimum growth. We take a look at three of the most popular baby products on the market, which experts say you should use with caution.

On the move

Babies spend an awful lot of time sitting in their car seats in homes, stores, or when waiting at sports and other extramural activities for their older siblings.

“Spending too much time in car seats or prams can hinder your baby’s normal growth and development,” says occupational therapist and co-author of Baby Sense, Megan Faure.

“The alignment of your baby’s spine is not in a good position when he’s sitting in his car seat. He can’t move much when he is in a travel seat, and he also can’t see much, which reduces his chances of exploring the world around him.”

Occupational therapist Maryna Rosentrauch adds that if a static posture is kept for too long, it obstructs your baby’s blood flow and reduces the amount of oxygen that needs to be transported to the different muscles and organs for optimal use. The same applies to prams:

“Car seats are vital for travelling in cars, and prams are very useful for outings. However, neither should be used as a playpen or holding area. It’s better for your baby’s development if you carry him, let him play on the floor, or put him in his bed if he’s asleep as soon as you get out of the car or back from an outing.”

Walking rings

Walking rings are among the leading causes of head injuries in babies under the age of 1 year. They can also impact your baby’s crawling and cause ‘walking confusion’, as different body movements are required for proper walking.

“There are two significant reasons why walking rings should never be used,” says Faure. “As your baby whizzes along on the floor, he may hit a bump, which can cause rapid deceleration. This, plus the top-heavy distribution of your little one’s weight, can make him fall over and hurt himself in the process. Walking rings also hamper your child’s development, as they are most often used at a stage when your baby should be practicing the skills needed for crawling.” The walking ring may reduce your baby’s motivation to crawl and make him lazy to walk by himself. The supported standing position in the ring also has a negative effect on the development of your baby’s hips, legs, and feet.

Faure says if you really have to use a walking ring, you should use it in moderation and only for a maximum of 10 minutes a day. Parents are advised to use a stationary activity ring with no wheels during this period.

Jolly jumpers

Jolly jumpers are admittedly enormous fun, as babies love hopping about and seeing the world from an upright position. Jumpers can instantly provide ‘safe’ entertainment for a baby while mom is busy hanging out the washing, but they do, however, have safety risks. Faure says jolly jumpers should be used with care and no longer than 10 to 15 minutes a day. Jolly jumpers have the same negative effects on a baby’s development as walking rings.


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