RE: Baby Not Crawling? Reason Seems to Be Less Tummy Time

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Tue May 01 2001 - 11:17:28 BST

  • Next message: Chris Taylor: "Re: The Status of Memetics as a Science"

    Received: by id LAA16026 (8.6.9/5.3[ref] for from; Tue, 1 May 2001 11:21:21 +0100
    Message-ID: <>
    From: Vincent Campbell <>
    To: "''" <>
    Subject: RE: Baby Not Crawling? Reason Seems to Be Less Tummy Time
    Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 11:17:28 +0100 
    X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2650.21)
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
    Precedence: bulk


    Apparently, I never crawled, only ever pushing myself around on my butt, and
    didn't start walking till I was about two (I am an inherently lazy person
    :-)). I was, according to my Mum, beginning to talk at 6 months, however.
    This was pre the definition of SIDS and strategies to avoid it were offered.

    Another useless personal anecdote.


    > ----------
    > From: Wade T.Smith
    > Reply To:
    > Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2001 5:11 pm
    > To: Memetics Discussion List
    > Subject: Fwd: Baby Not Crawling? Reason Seems to Be Less Tummy Time
    > At least one still has to learn to walk before one can run....
    > - Wade
    > ******************
    > Baby Not Crawling? Reason Seems to Be Less Tummy Time
    > When Gary Slaughter turned 6 months old, his mother, Charlene, began
    > waiting for him to crawl. After all, that is when the books said that
    > babies can be expected to reach this developmental milestone. But nothing
    > happened. He did not even roll over.
    > Ms. Slaughter, a teacher in Ann Arbor, Mich., was seriously concerned.
    > Her pediatrician told her not to worry, but, even though Gary was sitting
    > up when he turned 7 months old on April 15, he still is not crawling and
    > seems perfectly content to lie on his back. When Ms. Slaughter tried to
    > nudge Gary along by putting him on his stomach, he protested. "He cries
    > and he doesn't like it," she said.
    > It is, many pediatricians said, a common situation. They are noticing
    > more and more babies who are not lifting their heads when they used to,
    > who are not turning over and who are not crawling at 6 to 8 months, when
    > popular baby books say they should.
    > Developmental specialists say they think they know why babies are acting
    > this way: it is an entirely benign, but unexpected and unintended,
    > consequence of a public health campaign to teach parents to put babies to
    > sleep on their backs to prevent sudden infant death syndrome.
    > An increasing number of babies never crawl at all, pediatricians say,
    > going directly from sitting to toddling. And they are seeing more parents
    > like Ms. Slaughter, who are worried that something is wrong.
    > Researchers say they have evidence from two studies, one in the United
    > States and one in England, that the doctors' impressions reflect a real
    > change in infant development.
    > The studies' researchers emphasize that there seems to be no medical
    > consequence to this developmental change. The babies are normal in every
    > other way, and they sit up and walk at the same time they always did.
    > That, however, can be a subtlety that eludes many parents < and some
    > doctors < who know nothing of the studies, both published in 1998 in the
    > journal Pediatrics.
    > "Language skills are far better markers of developmental delay in
    > babies," said Dr. Beth Ellen Davis, a developmental pediatrician at the
    > Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash., who led the American study.
    > "But, like it or not, many parents are focused on these physical
    > milestones < when they roll over, when they crawl, when they walk."
    > Dr. Catherine D. DeAngelis, who is editor of The Journal of the American
    > Medical Association and a professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins
    > University School of Medicine, said she worried that doctors were not
    > getting out the message to parents that crawling is not much of a
    > milestone.
    > "Who says you have to crawl before you walk?" Dr. DeAngelis said. "We
    > need to reassure parents that this is all within the range of normal
    > infant development and that their child is not suffering from any serious
    > problem. Otherwise, we set up people for a condition called vulnerable
    > child syndrome where, because of a real or perceived illness, parents
    > treat their kids with kid gloves, so to speak, and problems really do
    > start to appear."
    > The campaign urging parents to put babies on their backs to sleep, known
    > as Back to Sleep, began in this country in 1994, when the American
    > Academy of Pediatrics and the United States Public Health Service became
    > convinced that although they did not know the cause of sudden infant
    > death syndrome, epidemiological evidence indicated that this sleeping
    > position could help prevent it. For decades, doctors advised parents to
    > put babies on their stomachs to sleep, fearing they could choke if they
    > were on their backs. But, nervously at first, they began changing their
    > recommendation.
    > The result, the pediatrics academy reports, is that the percentage of
    > American babies sleeping on their backs has increased to more than 70
    > percent today from 20 percent before the campaign. And the incidence of
    > sudden infant death syndrome has decreased by more than 40 percent.
    > Babies, it has turned out, liked being on their backs so much that they
    > appeared to have no incentive to turn over onto their stomachs.
    > "If you're lying on your tummy and you want to see the world, you have to
    > flip over," said Dr. Ellen Perrin, a developmental and behavioral
    > pediatrician at Tufts University School of Medicine and the Floating
    > Hospital for Children at the New England Medical Center. "If you're on
    > your back, there's no reason to flip onto your tummy."
    > But then they might not discover how to crawl, Dr. Perrin said. "It's
    > totally consistent with what we know about how babies learn during
    > infancy," she added.
    > "The way babies used to learn to crawl was they figured out that if they
    > squirmed, they propelled themselves," Dr. Perrin said. "But it just takes
    > a lot more understanding than a 5- or 6-month-old infant has to say,
    > `Gee, if I'm on my back I can see more, but to move around I have to be
    > on my tummy.' "
    > The best evidence that these developmental changes happened came from
    > Britain, where researchers realized they had a perfect opportunity to ask
    > whether putting babies on their backs affected the time at which they
    > turned over and crawled.
    > A long-term study of child development, intended to follow nearly 15,000
    > infants from birth until adulthood, began in 1990, just as Britain began
    > its Back to Sleep campaign.
    > Dr. Peter Fleming of the University of Bristol, a director of the British
    > study, said that at first doctors and parents were wary about the new
    > advice, and many doctors suggested that the babies lie on their sides.
    > But gradually, as their fears were allayed and data accumulated tying
    > sudden infant death syndrome to sleeping on the stomach, virtually all
    > doctors began urging parents to keep their babies on their backs.
    > The British study tracked this change. In the early 1990's, when most
    > babies slept on their stomachs, they turned over and crawled when the
    > books said they should. Within the last five years, as parents uniformly
    > began putting babies on their backs, more and more babies did not roll
    > over or crawl on schedule, and increasing numbers never crawled.
    > But, Dr. Fleming said, the babies were normal by every other measure. "In
    > medicine, whenever you introduce something new, you worry that it might
    > cause problems," he said. But, he added, that did not happen. "When the
    > cohort was 18 months old we looked again at developmental milestones and
    > there was absolutely no difference in these children's development," Dr.
    > Fleming said.
    > In the United States, Dr. Davis's study of 351 babies in Washington and
    > its suburbs found the same thing. The babies who slept on their backs
    > started crawling, on average, at about 9 months, and about a third of
    > them never crawled. But the back- sleepers and the stomach-sleepers
    > started walking at the same age < on average when they were about a year
    > old.
    > For parents who pore over baby books, these delays can be frightening.
    > Dr. Leon Eisenberg, a child psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, said
    > one mother was so worried that her baby was not crawling at 9 months that
    > she insisted on taking the baby to a physical therapist.
    > But it is hard to blame parents, said Dr. Elizabeth Triggs, a
    > pediatrician in private practice in Nashville. "There are some books that
    > say babies have to develop in a certain order or they will be warped,"
    > Dr. Triggs said. "They say that if you don't crawl before you walk you
    > will not develop certain tracks in your brain."
    > Dr. Michael Lyons, a pediatrician in private practice in Leominster,
    > Mass., said he tried to explain to parents that they should not worry if
    > their baby did not crawl.
    > "I say, `Don't even look for that as a milestone anymore,' " Dr. Lyons
    > said. For those who are not reassured, he suggests putting the baby on
    > its stomach during the day, while they play with the baby. "We say to
    > parents, `Have some belly time and stimulate the babies to be happy on
    > their bellies.' I'm not sure it makes a difference in terms of crawling
    > ability, but it makes a difference for the parents."
    > Ms. Slaughter, for one, said that she had finally learned to relax about
    > the crawling issue.
    > "The best advice I got was from my mother, who told me to put all the
    > baby books down and simply listen to Gary," she said. " `When he crawls,
    > he crawls,' she told me."
    > Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company
    > ==============================================================This was
    > distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    > For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
    > see:

    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue May 01 2001 - 11:24:58 BST