Friday, November 21, 2008

Well Buggy Me !!

I love reading about studies, I really do.

Give a bunch of 'experts' a bit of funding, a clipboard and a stopwach and they'll go through that funding like a Presidential Candidate.

The latest gem to pass my eyeline is the study of how a child's development can be affected by the direction in which he/she is facing when out in their buggy/pushchair.  

The article got off to a flying start with this sentence.

More than 2,700 parent-infant pairs were observed across the UK and a smaller study was done in Dundee.

I'm sure the happy citizens of Dundee were not aware until now that they weren't a part of the UK !!  They've had independance granted to them without so much as a claymore raised in anger.

But back to this research.  It seems that when little Timmy or Tabitha are facing mommy, their average heart rates drop slightly and they laugh more.  Go figure.  If I was being pushed along a street with everything from adult legs to slobbering dogs coming at me, I think my heart rate would go up too.

The Dundee part of the study involved 20 mother/baby pairs travelling along a one mile stretch of a street. For half the trip, the baby was seated in a buggy facing away from the mum and the other half facing her. 

I wonder which came first ?  I don't think it's rocket science to discover that if a child is happily facing it's mommy for a half a mile ride and then gets removed and plunked away from her for another half mile that it will be a bit stressed.  Seriously pissed off I'd have thought. 

Only one baby laughed during the away facing ride but half laughed when facing the parent. Again, what a revelation.  Were the moms allowed to interact, maybe make a funny face or tell a joke ?  Maybe that one baby was a bit slow and only got the joke when it was on the away facing ride. 

Seems to me that every such study or piece of research usually has words like 'may' or 'could' or 'might' embedded in the findings.  This one is no different.

Children who are put in buggies which leave them facing away from their parent could have their development undermined, a study has suggested.

But studies can (may, might, could) be useful  - even this one.  Anything that gives parents more help with getting little Timmy or Tabitha to develop better and be less stressed has to be a good thing. Personally I'd want a study done to see if playing Amy Winehouse through some buggy speakers would help with the child's development ?  What about plunking a virtual reality helmet on their little heads and showing them non stop epsiodes of The Teletubbies ?

I think the kid would probably arrive home with eyes like saucers and a brain mushed beyond repair.

But give me the funding for such a study and I'll have a go at it.  Even in Dundee.


Milo said...

I heard the same thing on Radio4 this morning as I was dressing for work, including the woman who did the study.

Crazy isn't it? Really this doesn't constitute news if you ask me.

jay said...

How much did they get paid for doing that? The mind boggles...

Me, I didn't have a choice when my kids were small. After the pram stage (when they faced me) and the babysling stage (when they faced me) all the available buggies at that time faced away from the pusher.

I think it says more about the parent than the child. I talked a lot to my kids while we walked, and a lot of the time they were twisted round to look at me because of that. I don't see many mothers interacting with their babies or toddlers at all, whether forward facing or not. But maybe the fact that their babies were facing them triggered some half-buried impulse in the mothers and made them actually communicate?

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