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Container Syndrome: September 02, 2011

With two babies, Lisa Moss has her hands full, all the time.

“We call it groundhogs day in our house because every three hours we do the same thing.”

Efficiency is key at the Moss house, Lisa is careful to rotate twins Ben and Haley through a series of nap nanny’s, tummy mats, car carriers and other devices to reposition their bodies.

“To just kind of vary the position they’re in because you would hate for them to have a flat head.”

Pediatricians are seeing more babies develop flat heads, as a consequence of ‘container syndrome’.

“The flatness to the skull is not really a huge developmental problem but the containering or the not getting tummy time can be a very serious developmental problem because it does inhibit them from meeting milestones in a timely way,” says Dr. Eric Jones, a pediatrician on The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida medical staff.

Convertible carriers may be a snap for parents, a convenient way to transport their babies from car to stroller to home. They may not know, but they could be shortcutting their child’s development.

“They don’t get to sit up they don’t get to twist they don’t get to do anything and they tend to start developing a preference for looking in one direction or the other which creates those flat spots,” says Dr. Jones.

Babies who are containered too long may be delayed in sitting, walking and crawling.

“They just don’t get any chance to use those muscles especially the truncal core muscles they just don’t get any chance to practice, they’re just sitting there,” says Dr. Taschner.

It is something to be mindful of.

“It’s a little bit of an exercise for them, so sometimes they squeal and squirm but they’re getting really used to that,” says Lisa.

So she keeps moving, in order to keep her twins well rounded.