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Upstate researchers tracking infant development and 'tummy time'

Upstate researchers tracking infant development and 'tummy time'

Tummy time, the practice of deliberately placing an infant on itsstomach for the purpose of developing physical strength, is consideredan important tool for proper development.

Erin Wentz, PT, PhD, PCS, is tracking participants in an ongoingstudy to shed light on this subject. “Tummy time helps babies developthe trunk strength that will be needed for them to sit and eventuallystand and walk,” said Wentz, principal investigator of the study andassociate professor of physical therapy in Upstate’s College of HealthProfessions. “We also know that babies who have daily tummy time havemore timely motor skill development. We want to be able to provideparents with guidelines and goals for this important activity.”

Pediatricians may advise new parents to engage their infant in dailytummy time, but little research has been done to determine the properamount of time a baby should spend on tummy time, and how long intotheir lives tummy time should continue to be practiced.

Some of the 35 participants in the Upstate study will engage in moredaily tummy time, and others in less, but all infants will be exposed tothe benefits of tummy time. Families try to accumulate their prescribedtummy time minutes over the course of the day and keep a daily log ofminutes performed until the time at which their baby independentlytransitions in and out of sitting. Participants are visited in theirhomes one time per month for 12 months in order to measure their height,weight and motor development, and then again at 15 and 18 months ofage. The monthly visit lasts about 30 minutes. Results will allow infantpractitioners to provide families with specific tummy timerecommendations.