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Children in Strollers for Too Long Could Develop Reliance

Mother on cell phone with baby in stroller
Photograph by Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images

It's easy to just put your baby in a stroller or car seat and go. However, researchers are now saying that keeping your children in them for too long, without interacting with them or engaging with them, could be harmful for their overall development, the Daily Mail reports.

Too often, parents take their kids for walks and immediately hop on their cell phone, or put their little one in a seat at home and turn the TV on for interaction. Researchers say that's not good enough for proper cognitive development, and children could form a reliance on these stationary positions and screens.

The key is freedom to explore and interact, said Sally Goddard Blythe, a neuropsychologist who delivered the information at a WATCh (What About the Children) conference.

"Attention, balance and coordination skills learned during the first 36 months of life support cognitive learning and have been linked to performance on SATs at school," she said. "Infants need opportunity for free movement and exploration, whether that is tummy time, cuddling or rough play."

While it seems a bit ridiculous (and improbable) to stop using strollers or letting children interact with screens at all, consider this: Studies show that language skills were more advanced among kids "who had been pushed in rear-facing pushchairs instead of traditional forward-facing" ones.

It makes sense: That way, you can interact with your child with facial expressions and by talking to them directly. Bottom line: Think of screens and strollers as tools to help you get from one place to another and keep your child focused for a few minutes. Then, continue to engage with him and play. It will help down the road.

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