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Commentary on “Immediate Effect of Positioning Devices on Infant Leg Movement Characteristics”

Chapman, David D. PT, PhD; Wanzek, Deanna PT, PCS, CKTI, CLT

Pediatric Physical Therapy: October 2016 - Volume 28 - Issue 3 - p 311
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000280

St. Catherine University Minneapolis, Minnesota

St. Croix Therapy Hudson, Wisconsin

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

“How should I apply this information?”

Placing infants in car seats, although necessary for transportation safety, significantly reduces how often infants who are developing typically and those at risk for developmental delay move their legs; it also reduces the average peak accelerations of their leg movements. The results of this study suggest that therapists, parents, and other caregivers need to (1) carefully consider how they position infants who are at risk or diagnosed with developmental delay, (2) understand the effect that an infant's position may have on her ability to move her legs, (3) exercise caution when interpreting advertising claims that over-the-counter products, such as an infant play gym, improve opportunities for an infant to move, and (4) take advantage of the resources available in the baby's home (eg, an overhead mobile that may encourage movement).

“What should I be mindful of about when applying this information?”

The frequency of infant leg movements without wireless sensors was not reported. Although these sensors were lightweight, they may have affected how often the babies moved their legs. It is not clear whether, wearing the sensors, the jungle gym or car seat had any effect on how often the infants generated kicks. Wireless sensors are not widely available to parents and other caregivers, and their reliability to accurately capture leg movements has not been established. Thus, the usefulness of wireless technology to help therapists and parents monitor the frequency and quality of leg movements of infants who are at risk of delay has yet to be determined. The effect of the jungle gym and car seat on the frequency of leg movements and kicks over developmental time is unknown. Furthermore, we do not know whether these devices influence the frequency of infant arm movements or the development of eye-hand coordination.

David D. Chapman, PT, PhD

St. Catherine University

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Deanna Wanzek, PT, PCS, CKTI, CLT

St. Croix Therapy

Hudson, Wisconsin

Copyright © 2016 Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association