Prone position activities aim to support time on the tummy during the daytime when your baby is awake and not alone. These activities include holding, carrying, changing diapers, repositioning, feeding, and playing games with your baby.
Increasing the time your baby spends on his/her tummy:
- It supports muscle development in the neck and shoulders.
- It helps prevent the tightening of neck muscles and the formation of flatness behind your baby's head.
- It improves the development of the muscles that your baby needs to turn, sit and crawl.
Nowadays, the importance of prone activities has increased since infants lay on their back more than before. In the early 90s, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that families lay their babies on their back. This initiative succeeded in reducing the "Sudden Infant Deaths" (SID) rate to 40%. At the same time, the use of carriers and car seats have doubled. Flatness may occur as a result of constant pressure on the skull bones due to infants lying on their back, not only at night but also during the day.
Plagiocephaly/brachycephaly is when asymmetrical areas develop behind the head and the forehead of infants. Head flatness can usually worsen in infants with torticollis. Torticollis is the bending or twisting of the head to one side due to the tightness of one muscle or a group of muscles on one side of the neck. The shortened muscles result in a baby’s head tilting or rotating to one side.
Torticollis, also known as wryneck, is the shortening of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (attached to the collarbone and breastbone) due to complications during birth or the prenatal period. As a result, the head tilts towards the shortened side, and rotates towards the unaffected side.
Babies must be put to sleep on their backs. Moreover, it is equally important for the development of infants to perform prone activities under the supervision of someone during the day and to constantly reposition the head while sleeping.