Tummy Time and Beyond!
Prone positioning received a lot of attention when the American Academy of Pediatrics introduced its Back to Sleep Program (now called Safe to Sleep
) to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Because babies no longer slept on their stomachs, they began to spend a disproportionate amount of time on their backs. This sometimes led to delays in development because these babies lacked “tummy time”. In this position babies first learn to lift their heads, then their upper backs, and before you know it, they are pushing up to hands and knees! The muscles that lift the head and hold the back upright against gravity are developed in this position. Another benefit, prone lying stretches hip muscles that can become tight with prolonged sitting
Prone positioning is not indicated for some people with breathing problems, very poor head control, hydrocephalus, gastrostomy tube placement, etc. It is recommended that you obtain approval from a physician if you are uncertain whether prone positioning is safe.
Tummy Time for Babies and Children:
When should I start tummy time with my child? Tummy time is indicated when you bring your baby home from the hospital, provided there are no medical reasons for limiting or avoiding this position. If you are uncertain, check with your child’s physician to obtain medical consent. Your child should always be awake and supervised when on his tummy. Have fun and make this an enjoyable time for you and your child!
”Tummy Time: Tips for Parents” from the APTA (American Physical Therapy Association)
Prone Positioning Aides – Products that Improve Tolerance and Support Development in Prone
The primary reason that prone positioning is so poorly tolerated early on is that without the strength to lift your head or get your arms free and in a functional position, there’s not much to do lying face down. How can we help? Elevate the chest and stabilize the low back and hips to provide a base of support to work from. How do we do that? With wedges, bolsters, and half bolsters that provide the “lift” kids need to begin the process of strengthening all the muscles that hold us up against gravity.