occupational therapist & child development specialist

Month: November 2013

A Wonderful Article about Retro Baby in USA Today

I was so pleased to be interviewed by USA Today for a story about my new book “Retro Baby, Cut Back on all the gear and Boost Your Baby’s Development with Time-Tested Activities.”

This is an excerpt from the article, and you can click HERE to read the full article, and HERE to order your copy of Retro Baby:

What gear should parents skip?

“Some popular baby products that child development expert Anne Zachry and other pediatric experts says parents don’t need:

1. Educational DVDs. Research indicates educational DVDs do not help babies learn. Various studies find either no difference in language acquisition between children who watched educational DVDs and those who didn’t, or that babies learn language better by interacting with live speakers than by passively listening to language coming from a DVD.

2. Sleep positioners, a flat or wedged mat intended to keep babies positioned on their back while sleeping. They are unnecessary and pose a suffocation risk, Zachry says.

3. Jumping devices, including Johnny Jump Up, Jumperoo, and Jump & Go. Some attach to door frames, others are freestanding. Those that suspend from a door frame pose dangers including head trauma, strangulation and whiplash. All versions encourage standing on the tiptoes, which is not good for baby’s feet, and excess jumping puts unnecessary stress on an infant’s legs, hips and spines.

4. Bath Seats. They provide support so a child can sit upright in an adult bathtub, but are capable of tipping over. Instead, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends using a hard plastic child bathtub and make sure you never leave a child unattended near water and always have at least one hand on the child while bathing him or her.

5. Bumper pads. There’s no proof that the pads, used to keep babies from bumping their heads against the slats of a crib, prevent serious injury. In fact, they are pose a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment.

6. Baby walkers. These wheeled seats are intended to give babies mobility and learn to walk. But children with have fallen into pools, down stairs, and over ledges and been burned when using walks and they may actually delay, not help when a child starts to walk. A safer option is a stationary activity center used in moderation – no more than 15 minutes a day.”

Your Baby’s Brain!

When a baby is born, she has 100 billion neurons in her brain. What are neurons? They are the building blocks of the brain! Early in life, the brain forms many connections among these neurons, and connections are a good thing. Why? Research tells us that more connections means greater potential for learning in the future. Can you believe, approximately 1,000 trillion connections typically grow to connect the neurons in the brain during the first 36 months of life? It’s true!  Most importantly, the number of connections that form directly relates to a child’s life experiences. As parents, this means it’s important to provide your baby with excellent nutrition, lots of language, an emotional connection, as well as touch and movement. The more balanced yet stimulating baby’s environment, the more nurturing and supportive interactions provided, the greater number of neurologic connections that form. So now you know that it’s extremely important to cuddle, play with and talk to your baby as much as possible! Have fun!!!

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