Q: My baby hates to be on her tummy and cries whenever I put her there. Do I really have to make her do this?
A: YES. Tummy positioning is very important to help your baby to develop neck, shoulder, arm and trunk strength. There are many ways to get your baby to enjoy her "tummy time." Try putting her on her tummy on you so she feels more secure. Put her on the floor with her favorite toys nearby for her to look at, and spend some time just singing or talking to her.
Q: My baby’s body seems a bit too floppy or stiff; should I be concerned?
A: Probably not. Some children are naturally more flexible or active than others, and this is normal. If you feel your baby is extremely flexible or extremely stiff, talk with your pediatrician.
Q: My baby’s head is flat on one side. What causes this, and do I need to be concerned?
A: Plagiocephaly, or flattening of the head, is often caused by head positioning, especially during sleep. Bring it to the attention of your child’s pediatrician so he or she can assess the cause. If your baby continually keeps her head to one side in the crib, try to reposition her head to the other side or rotate her position in the crib to encourage her to turn the other way. Make sure to give her lots of time to play on her tummy when she’s awake.
Q: Will an excersaucer help my baby learn to walk?
A: NO.These devices will provide your infant with a place to play and many have a variety of toys to entertain your baby, but using them will not help your baby walk any sooner. Babies need the opportunity to experience standing and cruising without the support of an excersaucer to develop the balance and coordination necessary to walk on their own.
Q: My baby loves to bounce in his jumper; is it bad for him?
A: Baby jumpers do encourage your baby to move but also promote movement patterns that are not useful in normal development, including tiptoe standing and fast, uncontrolled movements. The exercise your baby gets does not promote the development of trunk and leg control or the balance needed for walking. Additionally, it may limit time your baby spends on his tummy developing the valuable skills for crawling.
Q: My child is bow-legged (or knock-kneed). Should I be concerned?
A: Probably not. Children are normally bow-legged when they first begin to stand. Gradually, as the muscles get stronger, the bones begin to change and, by about 18 months, the legs are straight. By ages 3-3 1/2, children often become knock-kneed. Again this will usually go away as the child continues to gain strength and walking patterns mature.
Q: Rather than playing outside, my 2 -year-old prefers to watch videos or play games on the computer. Do I need to encourage my toddler to exercise?
A: Yes. Children need to experience different types of physical activities every day. Computers will be an important part of our children’s futures, but research has shown that movement helps children develop thinking skills. Giving your child the opportunity to play in a physically active way will promote physical fitness and development of more complex motor skills.
Q: My younger child walked later and is not as coordinated as my older child was at the same age. What’s going on?
A: Some children, even within the same family, are better at gross motor skills than others. The child who excels at gross motor skills may be average in the development of fine motor and speech. Another child whose language develops early may be less focused on developing gross motor skills. If you feel your younger child is far behind other playmates the same age, discuss your concerns with your pediatrician.
Q: Are my child’s flat feet a problem?
A: Probably not. Flat feet are normal for early walkers. The arch in the foot develops as the child learns to use her feet in a more adult pattern.
Q: If I get injured, should I use ice or heat?
A: Within the first 72 hours after the immediate injury, use ice to help with pain and inflammation. Also use ice if you’ve recently had surgery.
Q: How long am I going to be in physical therapy?
A: This depends on the severity of your injury and your response to the treatment sessions. Compliance with your home exercise program is very important to your recovery.
Q: Can the physical therapist issue me a note to get out of physical education class?
A: No. Only your physician can write a hold note to get out of physical education class.
Q: When can I return to playing my sport?
A: This needs to be approved by your referring physician. Your physical therapist will provide detailed regular progress notes to your physician to assist with the decision.