Monday, December 1, 2008

New Study Suggests Stroller Direction Affects Baby

I wanted to make sure that all of you heard about BBC's recent article on stroller direction. More than 2,700 parent-infant pairs were observed across the UK as well as in a smaller study conducted in Dundee, Scotland. It was run by Dr Suzanne Zeedyk from Dundee University, in collaboration with the charity the National Literacy Trust.

The study found that babies facing towards the parent were more likely to laugh. They also tended to have lower heart rates, suggesting that they were more relaxed when their parent was in sight. Parents facing their children were more than twice as likely to be talking with their children than parents with forward facing strollers.

Dr. Zeedyk summarized her findings, saying, "Our data suggests that for many babies today, life in a buggy is emotionally impoverished and possibly stressful. Stressed babies grow into anxious adults." She is calling for a more in depth study to follow.

It makes sense to me that the more communication you have with your baby the better. What really surprised me was that 62% of all the children observed in the study were travelling in away-facing strollers. Which way do you prefer, and why? And should we really be concerned that stroller direction can hinder our childrens' development?


Stroller_Snob said...

What age kids are we talking here? While communication is without a doubt very important, facing the shild towards you means they aren't seeing what you're seeing! They're seeing you and maybe some things behind you... But they're not looking forward! They can't really see what's going on around them!

It's definitely an interesting study - I think a lot of people think of themselves more than their child (they're more comfortable with the baby facing them while the baby is quite young, but more comfortable with them facing away when they're older.) Does this study suggest more strollers be made to have the kid face the parent? I think you'll be hard pressed to find many that do this (outside of those like Bugaboo that can switch directions.)

Definitely something to think about...

Mother Goose said...

It seems like a happy medium would be best: more time with baby facing the parent but also some time when baby can face the world.

I agree with the doctor leading the study: they need to do a more in depth study in order for the findings to be more than just thought-provoking.

Jen said...

I guess I liked the Peg Perego Venezia for the fact I could reverse the way the child faces. I did find as the child grew, he wanted to face outward to see more, but we did use it both ways often. It was a great feature to have.

I find it interesting, but I wonder how stroller use compares to baby wearing?

Mother Goose said...

Although the Venezia Stroller has been discontinued, Peg Perego offers other strollers with this great feature, like the Skate.

Lucky for us, more and more companies are designing strollers with a reversible seat.