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Lack of time on tummy shown to hinder achievement
Date:8/6/2008

ALEXANDRIA, VA, August 6, 2008---The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is urging parents and caregivers to ensure that babies get enough "tummy time" throughout the day while they are awake and supervised, in light of a recent survey of therapists who say they've noticed an increase in motor delays in infants who spend too much time on their backs while awake.

In the national survey of 400 pediatric physical and occupational therapists, conducted on behalf of Pathways Awareness, a non-profit group dedicated to early detection of motor delays in children, two-thirds of those surveyed say they've seen an increase in early motor delays in infants over the past six years. The survey was conducted with the assistance of APTA's Section on Pediatrics and the Neuro-Development Treatment Association (NDTA).

Those physical therapists who saw an increase in motor delays said that the lack of "tummy time," or the amount of time infants spend lying on their stomachs while awake, is the number one contributor to the escalation in cases.

APTA spokesperson Judy Towne Jennings, PT, MA, a physical therapist and researcher from Fairfield, Ohio, said, "We have seen first-hand what the lack of tummy time can mean for a baby: developmental, cognitive, and organizational skills delays, eye-tracking problems, and behavioral issues, to name just some complications." She added, "New parents are told of the importance of babies sleeping on their backs to avoid SIDS, but they are not always informed about the importance of tummy time."

Jennings explains that because new parents now use car seats that also serve as infant carriers many of which fasten directly into strollers and swings without having to remove the baby from the seat -- this generation of babies spends prolonged periods of time in one position. She recommends that awake babies be placed in a variety of positions, including on their tummies, as soon as they return home from the hospital.
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Contact: Stephanie Block
stephanieblock@apta.org
703-706-3397
American Physical Therapy Association
Source:Eurekalert

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