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Physical Activity Guidelines


If you would like ideas to ensure that your toddler group encourages physical play or would like to look at the Physical play equipment that your free Toy Library membership gives please call 2656158 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The department of health have produced physical activity guidelines for Under Fives for both children who are and are not yet walking.They outline the benefits of being active and give examples of ways to encourage physical activity.

For further information please see the website: where you can download a copy of the guidelines.

We have come across a great video on You Tube called Babies Balance and Brains

.It is in three short videos and explains the importance of movement in babies. It explains the connection between physical and brain development and gives great tips on how to promote physical movement in babies. We will be giving some of the tips on the video on our facebook page so keep a look out for that.

  Babywalkers 'hinder first steps'

They are designed to give babies a head start in finding their feet.

But far from speeding up the transition from crawling to walking, babywalkers can actually slow it down, scientists now believe.

The first study into how the devices affect the time taken to reach the normal milestones of sitting, crawling, standing and walking has found they can set a child back by as much as a month.

Dr Mary Garrett, director of the University College Dublin School of Physiotherapy, said: 'Most babies start using them around the age of six months and the effect is very sudden - the more they use the babywalker, the greater the delay in reaching significant milestones.

'We don't know how the effect works. It could be that the child's muscles take longer to strengthen because they are not crawling around the floor as much, or it may be a delaying effect on the maturation of the central nervous system which is crucial to these skills.'

Previous research has shown that babywalkers - framed harnesses on wheels which allow children to use their feet to propel themselves - increase the risk of injury.

The latest study looked at 190 healthy infants attending day care centres registered with the Foyle Health and Social Service Trust, Northern Ireland.

The researchers asked parents to record the age at which their child reached developmental milestones including rolling over, sitting alone, crawling, standing and walking unaided.

The study, published today in the British Medical Journal, found significant links between the amount of time spent in a babywalker and the extent of developmental delay.

Altogether 102 children using babywalkers from the age of six months started crawling, standing alone and walking unaided later than other children.

For every 24 hours of babywalker use, there was a delay of 3.3 days in walking independently and a delay of 3.7 days in standing independently.

On average, children who did not use a babywalker started crawling at seven months, a month earlier than those using babywalkers.

There was a delay of three weeks for babywalker children standing unaided or walking alone.

However, the use of a babywalker did not delay infants sitting and it did not affect the time taken to stand and walk with support.

Dr Garrett said: 'We have not looked at the effect of continuing to use babywalkers after the baby has learned to walk. It would be interesting to see if they are more sedentary in later life.'

Although all babies catch up eventually, she said parents were under the mistaken impression that babywalkers helped children become independent faster.

'This is clearly not the case and we know that babywalkers increase the risk of injuries in infancy, even serious injuries caused by falling down the stairs.

'The use of babywalkers should be discouraged,' she said. 'But if parents are going to use them, they should buy safety apparatus such as stairgates at the same time and minimise the amount of time babies spend in them.'

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