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Lack of Time on Tummy Shown to Hinder Achievement of Developmental Milestones, Say Physical Therapists
Date:8/6/2008

mbination of babies sleeping on their backs, as well as spending an inordinate amount of time in infant carriers that double as car seats, puts pressure on the head which can create a flattening of the skull. In extreme cases, babies are fitted with a custom-molded band that gently guides the baby's head into a more normal shape.

According to Coulter-O'Berry, parents can increase tummy time by incorporating exercises into routine activities such as carrying, diapering, feeding, and playing with baby. "Increasing the amount of time your baby lies on his or her tummy promotes muscle development in the neck and shoulders; helps prevent tight neck muscles and the development of flat areas on the back of the baby's head; and helps build the muscles baby needs to roll, sit and crawl," she said. Coulter-O'Berry is co-author of Tummy Time Tools, an informative brochure that provides caregivers ideas and activities to ensure that babies get enough tummy time throughout the day. The brochure is now offered on the APTA Web site, http://www.apta.org/consumer.

Karen Karmel-Ross, PT, PCS, LMT, pediatric clinical specialist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio and national lecturer on muscular torticollis (neck muscle imbalance), says that one way to engage in tummy time is to spend time during each diaper change encouraging the infant to find, focus and follow the caregiver's face or a toy with their eyes looking up, down, left and right. "It's important to get our infants out of devices that constrain mobility and onto their tummies so they can focus on neck muscle balance as they interact with their caregivers," she said.

The American Physical Therapy Association (http://www.apta.org) is a national organization representing physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students n
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SOURCE American Physical Therapy Association
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