Is a Forward-Facing Pram Bad for Baby?
A Closer Look at the Forward vs Parent Facing Pram Study
At Pramglam, we’re crazy concerned with the wellbeing of little people. That’s why we’re fascinated by research on how best to support and nurture the development of babies. It’s also the main reason behind the creation of the stroller mirror. Beyond simply wanting to see our little ones’ face while on walks together, our product was created out of a desire to bring back the interaction and connection we shared with our baby before we turned the pram seat around. It turns out this simple invention could have a huge impact on baby’s development. Below we look at the first wide-ranging study on how the direction a baby faces in the stroller may affect them.
“babies in the forward facing position were significantly less likely to talk, laugh or interact with their parents than babies in the parent facing position. ”
Are Modern Prams Bad for Babies?
A 2008 study by Dr. Suzanne Zeedyk of Dundee University in Scotland was the first study to look at the psychological effects of strollers, or buggies as they’re called in Scotland. Given the popularity of forward-facing strollers, the study somewhat sadly concluded that babies in the forward-facing position were more stressed and “emotionally impoverished” that babies who faced their parents. Further, babies in the forward facing position were significantly less likely to talk, laugh or interact with their parents than babies in the parent facing position.
In the study, researchers first observed over 2,700 pairs of parents pushing their babies in buggies in over 60 towns throughout the UK. In the second experiment of the study, 20 babies were pushed for about a mile, with half the journey spent facing forward, and half spent facing mom or dad. When babies were turned toward the parent, 25% of parents talked to their baby – which was more than double the percentage of parents with babies in a forward-facing pram. The research also found that babies in a parent-facing buggy had a reduced heart rate and were twice as likely to fall asleep, suggesting babies were less stressed when facing a parent.
Another standout finding of the study: out of 20 babies (aged 9-24 months) in the forward-facing position, only one laughed – while half laughed while facing a parent. With babies being pushed in the forward-facing position all over the world, this statistic is actually quite sad. It also left us wondering: Should parents just forever leave their babies facing backwards in the pram?
After much consideration - we don’t think so! The study discussed here was not designed to draw any hard and fast conclusions on the designs of prams, but to suggest the need for further research on the subject. Knowing how important social interaction is during the early years of life, the important take away is that parents should use the time baby spends in the stroller as an opportunity to engage and connect with their little ones. It is our sincere hope that our Looky Lou Stroller Mirror makes this easier for both of you and that both you and baby never lose sight of what you love. xoxo