Being Kept in a Car Seat at Home 'Could Harm a Child's Development'; Safety First: But Using Baby Seats Indoors Is Undesirable

Article excerpt

Byline: Sarah Harris

AS a child safety measure in the car, its importance could never be underplayed.

Researchers, however, yesterday warned that the convenience of the portable car baby seat is having some far less desirable effects.

They claim many parents are using the chairs to also restrain infants in the home, which in turn is damaging their development.

The children are often left in the seats for hours to stop them crawling around floors and potentially picking up germs.

But researchers say this is preventing the youngsters from obtaining basic skills like co-ordination and balance.

Such 'cotton wool' treatment later leads to poor concentration in the classroom because children's reflexes have not been sufficiently developed, they say.

The researchers from Liverpool John Moores University examined 120 children aged ten and 11 at a school in West Yorkshire.

The youngsters were given tests in reading, non-verbal reasoning and shortterm memory and split into four groups.

One group took part in a specially designed movement programme, the second did sound therapy, the third did both programmes and the fourth did neither.

The movement programme involved 40 minutes of simple exercises, twice a week, for eight months within normal PE lessons.

Activities included crawling on a mat, hand-to-eye exercises and playground games such as skipping.

Eight months later, all 120 children were re-tested.

The children who took part in the movement programme performed 'significantly better' overall in comparison to the children who did not.

Their reading, memory and general reasoning had all improved. Dr

Alweena Zairi, who led the study, claims pupils made gains academically because the increased activity had improved their co-ordination and fine-tuned their reflexes. …