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  • Dr Chelsie Englund DC, CACCP, Webster Certified

Say no to Bumbo..and walkers, to reduce interference to child development.


Hear me out here mama. . . first off you've done absolutely NOTHING WRONG and you ARE a great and wonderful mother! It can often times be tough to give information such as this because we never, as moms, want to feel like we've done anything a "wrong way". As a pediatric chiropractor, however, I want to help guide you through the very important developmental years so take this information with love and an open mind and please ask questions!

From a bio-mechanical and kinesthetic stand point during the developmental years, use of the Bumbo and walkers can do more harm than good. So lets dive in to why that is when it comes to child development and physical capabilities. One important thing to start off with is that your child WILL learn to move on his or her own and if he/she doesnt, then he/she wont learn how to do it PROPERLY. This is what the bumbo and walkers tend to inhibit. This goes with anything from rolling over, sitting up, standing, walking, running. So placing them in a position that the child is not able to hold on their own will actually prevent them from efficiently learning how to achieve that position on their own. Children need to get a sense of how their bodies function in a gravity environment. This helps them coordinate and activate muscles in the proper sequence to initiate complex movements. Placing your child in any of the following devices is actually counterproductive to their learning and movements:

Bumbo

Exersaucers

Door jumpers

Baby walkers/push carts

Baby swings

Baby is already wired for Growth:

When baby is born, he or she begins their special developmental journey. On this journey they will transform before our eyes from immobile infants to walking and running toddlers in that first amazing 12-15 months or so. This window of time is CRUCIAL in baby building their neuromotor coordination. During this time infants will gain the sustainable strength, coordination and mobility that lays the foundation for their biomechanical future. These neurosensorimotor sequences are so amazing that they need no technological intervention. All that is needed is free range interaction with a flat surface in a safe environment.

But the companies I buy these things from claim that they "help" my baby to learn to sit, crawl and walk...:

Research shows however, that these infant orthotic devices (bumbo seats, exersaucers, etc) alter how an infants wired motor patterns are executed. In fact, studies show that artificial support to infants limbs and spine has been shown to delay, alter and potentially cause long-term motor pattern dysfunction.

By positioning babies in an unnatural posture without access to the sensory input they require for development, we are interfering with the ever important and natural progression of development. Not to mention it is terrible for their posture and development of their spinal curves.

From examiner.com: “Rather than using a chair, parents looking for developmental benefits should play with their baby and encourage movement”, said Physical Therapist Colleen Harper, director of developmental, rehabilitative and child life services at Chicago’s La Rabida Children’s Hospital.

As well, in a March 2012 Chicago Tribune article, Mary Weck, the clinical coordinator of Physical Therapy at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago addressed the claims Bumbo made in relation to its product:

Bumbo says: “The seat stabilizes the child into slight hip flexion, placing the pelvis in a slight anterior pelvic tilt which facilitates lumbar extension.”

Weck says: “Actually, it does the exact opposite. It puts the baby’s pelvis in a posterior tilt, which facilitates lumbar flexion, not extension. That puts the baby’s chest behind the pelvis. Then the head has to come too far forward. It’s no longer positioned directly above the chest.”

So what can we do instead?

Our Recommendations: Tummy and Back Time!!

We suggest no Bumbo Seats or other infant mobility accessories that encourage a child’s movement before she or he can perform that movement on his or her own. Such devices include walkers, jumpers, or exercausers. Instead, we can opt for tummy and back time for infants starting from birth. These safe, effective, and mobility-promoting options are the ideal positions for babies to grow!

As children develop their own core stability and their own ability to sit, these devices may be considered. However, we still encourage patients to limit the use of these chairs and devices, opting instead for the all important tummy time.

We hope you enjoyed this read! If you have any questions at all please email us at info@creekwoodchirowestpoint.com! We'd love to help!

Yours In Health,

- Dr Chelsie Englund DC, CACCP, Webster Certified

"Creating a healthier world, one family at a time"

Ideas on what you want to hear about? Let us know! Just write us a message, or email us at info@creekwoodchirowestpoint.com

(By demand) Heres some of the evidence for my analytical thinkers!:

The Evidence Against:

  • “…babywalkers are associated with delay in achieving normal locomotor milestones….The use of babywalkers should be discouraged.”1

  • “usage…can delay the acquisition of independent walking and disturb the normal gait pattern in normal children so it is highly recommended stopping baby walker usage and educate parents and health professionals about its hazards.”2

  • “A disharmonic and delayed motor development, contractures of the calf-muscles and motor development mimicking spastic diplegia are considered to be caused by the early use of infant walkers.”3

  • “for some infants the excessive use of babywalkers alters the pathway of normal locomotor development.”4

  • “Current data available in the literature is not enough to prohibit using baby walker[s]; however, it suggests no advantage of the walkers in child development. This issue must be noticed more by researchers…”5

  • Because data indicate a considerable risk of major and minor injury and even death from the use of infant walkers, and because there is no clear benefit from their use, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a ban on the manufacture and sale of mobile infant walkers.6

The Supporting Evidence for Motor Development:

  • “Sensory perception is a prerequisite for motor function.”7

  • “To be able to observe their surroundings, the infant adopts the most suitable posture, activates support function in order to stabilize the entire body within gravity and then looks around.”8

  • “It is critical that all stabilizers are proportionally activated in order to ensure good movement patterns for functional activities or skill execution. If one link (muscle or a portion of a muscle) is insufficient and/ or weak, another muscle(s) in the kinetic chain may be recruited to make up for the loss of stability or movement.”9

RESOURCES

  1. Garrett M, McElroy AM, Staines A. Locomotor milestones and babywalkers: cross sectional study. BMJ : British Medical Journal.

  2. Marian Magdy Shafeek and Emam Hassan El-Negmy, 2016. Effect of Usage of Baby Walker on Acquisition and Pattern of Independent Gait in Normal Children. Trends in Medical Research, 11: 76-81.

  3. Engelbert RH 1, et al. Influence of infant-walkers on motor development: mimicking spastic diplegia? Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 1999;3(6):273-5.

  4. Crouchman M. The effects of babywalkers on early locomotor development. Dev Med Child Neurol. 1986 Dec;28(6):757-61.

  5. BADIHIAN S, ADIHIAN N, YAGHINI O. The Effect of Baby Walker on Child Development: A Systematic Review. Iranian Journal of Child Neurology. 2017;11(4):1-6.

  6. Injuries Associated With Infant Walkers, Committee on Injury and Poison Prevention, Pediatrics Sep 2001, 108 (3) 790-792; DOI: 10.1542/peds.108.3.790.

  7. Metcalfe, J.S. et al. Development of somatosensory-motor integration: an event-related analysis of infant posture in the first year of independent walking. Dev. Psychobiol.

  8. Kobesova, A, Kolar, P: Developmental Kinesiology: Three levels of motor control in the assessment and treatment of the motor system. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 2013

  9. Frank C, Kobesova A, Kolar P. DYNAMIC NEUROMUSCULAR STABILIZATION & SPORTS REHABILITATION. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 2013;8(1):62-73


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