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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337

S. Afr. j. occup. ther. vol.39 n.1 Pretoria May. 2009




Prone positioning and motor development in the first 6 weeks of life



Dorothy C RussellI; Helena KrielII; Gina JoubertIII; Yolande GoosenIV

IMasters in Occupational Therapy; Senior Occupational Therapist at Department Pediatrics and Child Health, UFS
IIM.Sc. Physiotherapy; Head: Department of Physiotherapy, UFS
IIIBA, MSc; Associate Professor and Head: Department of Biostatistics
IVM. Soc. Sc. (Advanced Midwifery); Research assistant at Department Pediatrics and Child Health, UFS





Supine sleeping positions for infants lead to a decrease in Sudden infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but inadequate time spent in prone position may lead to developmental problems during infancy. This cross-sectional developmental study was an attempt to determine whether the back to sleep campaign had an effect on the development of babies in South Africa. One hundred and twenty six week old infants were evaluated at a community centre in Mangaung, Bloemfontein, Free State to determine differences in motor development between infants who spent more than 30 minutes awake in a prone position and infants who spent less than 30 minutes. Comparisons with regard to their gross motor development and postures were made.
There was a significant difference between the two groups with regard to their gross motor development, the prone infants being more advanced than those who were never, or only short periods, in the prone position. It therefore seems that exclusive use of the supine position may lead to problems with motor development and parents must be encouraged to place their babies in the prone position during waking hours.

Key words: Prone position, motor development, 6 weeks infants



“Full text available only in PDF format”




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Dorothy C Russell
Department Pediatrics and Child Health
PO Box 339(G69)
University of the Free State

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