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Could Your Facing Out Buggy Be Delaying Your Child’s Development?

Posted Nov 21 2008 4:28pm

Just when parents thought it was safe to take a break and go for a local stroll round the park with baby in buggy, someone has found a reason of why they could be seriously putting their baby at risk of a development delay.  New research has ‘proven’ that walking with the buggy in a certain way could have a detrimental effect on a child’s social and communication skills (like parents do not have enough to worry about already!)

In fact the majority of prams and buggies are designed in such a way that the child faces away from the parent, and this, studies say, could lead to problems later on.

Children facing away from their parents while being pushed do not have the same opportunity to chat, laugh and interact, and in addition are more likely to suffer from stress due to lack of a decent sleep in the
pram. Researchers at Dundee University have discovered that this could be a factor in contributing to increased stress in various situations when they are slightly older. They have also found that their ability to
communicate effectively with classmates at school could be significantly hampered. The study highlights the fact that children’s brains are like sponges between the ages of one and three, saying, “In short, every occasion that a baby has for interacting with an adult at those ages is a valuable one.”

This is the first time research into the area has been carried out and has been initiated following concerns from primary head teachers, who were commenting that an increased number of children were starting primary one without the ability to communicate, talk or play with their peers. The National Literacy Trust, which commissioned the research to contribute to its “Talk To Your Baby” project, advised that pushing a child in a buggy facing out, could be just as detrimental to their development as the overuse of television and computer games.

In the study, Dr Suzanne Zeedyk from Dundee’s School of Psychology, looked at findings from 2,722 babies and their parents, as well as using 20 babies and their parents for an experiment where parents walked for half a mile with the baby facing away and half a mile with the baby face to face.

In the first study, results showed that almost two thirds of all parents pushed their babies in buggies facing away, increasing to 86 per cent for children aged between one and two. In addition, the study revealed that parents using face to face prams were twice as likely to interact with their baby compared to parents using away facing buggies (25 per cent as opposed to 11 per cent).

The research also highlighted how mothers and babies in face to face prams had an increased chance of laughing with each other. In comparison, only one baby in the away facing buggies laughed on the journey, while as much as half laughed in the face to face prams. Similarly, babies in face to face prams had a far higher chance of rocking off to sleep gently with a lower heart rate, which would indicate lower stress levels resulting from the reassurance and comfort of being able to see a familiar face at all times.

So, if you have just forked out hundreds on a fancy away facing buggy…lets hope the shop allows returns! Otherwise you could be damaging your child for life!

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