Preventing “Bucket Babies”
This past week I presented a workshop to a child care provider network. This insightful group of mentors and educators were passionate about finding ways to adapt the current programs in many of their centers to include more sensory motor concepts. As we talked about the importance of vestibular input and how gentle swinging can provide multiple benefits one participant expressed her concern that some of the babies at her center may be getting too much swing time. Certainly what busy caregiver and/or overwhelmed new mother has not let her child stay in the baby swing as the fussy one finally stopped crying and fell asleep! I think we can all relate and express understanding with this dilemma. The problem arises however, when the infant swings are used as a "bucket baby" device (along with infant carrier and activity seats) for convenience and/ or as a measure of overprotection. In our group discussion I encouraged the participants to help their caregivers better understand the important of vestibular input as part of a good sensory diet and stress the concept of varying alternate positioning throughout the day to include swing time, plenty of tummy time, (see my blog on Tummy Time Revisited
) and outdoor walks in a stroller or body carrier. Alternating these and other options as part of a good home or child development center program can really be the key to giving all babies a good start. If you are a therapist working in early intervention in home and/or school/child care environments please share your strategies for preventing bucket babies!