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Motor Skill Development Delay and Infant Sleep Positions

I see so many children with poorly developed shoulder stability and function which makes me wonder what these children didn’t do to miss this development. My suspicions lie in too little tummy time and too much car seat/bouncy seat/stroller/high chair time. A study from Canada was just released which compared motor development between infants who slept on their backs (supine) and those who slept on their fronts (prone).

“Motor delays were documented in 22% of babies sleeping supine. Prone sleep-positioned infants were more likely to sit and roll. Daily exposure to awake prone positioning was predictive of motor performance in infants sleeping supine. At 15 months, sleep position continued to predict motor performance.” The research article, “Association Between Sleep Position and Early Motor Development” is from McGill University and published in the Journal of Pediatrics.A significant number of the infants who slept on their backs had delayed motor skill development. The development is also greatly influenced by the amount of time spent in alternative positions during non-sleep time.

The results of this study align with another observation of mine. I see very few first or only children unless they have another concurrent condition. The younger siblings are the ones spending more time being schlepped around to the older siblings activities, etc. A younger sibling also gets put into seats to make it easier to keep watch on two or more children. Parents, please start trying to make more time for floor time and tummy time for the siblings. There are many creeping and crawling games that are great fun with just a pinch of imagination!

Have fun with tummy time! Cara