Why do babies need tummy time?

Preventing plagiocephaly and torticollis

Babies need tummy time because they are spending more and more time on their backs. In the early 1990s, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Back to Sleep program successfully decreased the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in the United States by 40 percent by encouraging parents to place their babies on their backs to sleep. Around the same time, a number of infant carriers that doubled as car seats and carriers became widely used. This combination of back sleeping at night and daytime pressure on the infant’s head can create a flattening of the skull.

When a baby develops flat areas on the back of the head and possibly the forehead, it’s called plagiocephaly. Often, this flattening is made worse by a condition called torticollis. Torticollis is a single muscle or group of muscles that are tight or weak on one side of the neck, causing a baby to tilt or turn to one side. The muscle fibers can shorten because of continued resting in one position.

It is very important that an infant be placed on his back to sleep. However, it is also important to a baby's development that he get supervised tummy time and constant repositioning throughout the day.

The activities in Tummy Time Tools  increase your cuddle time and contact with your baby and will enhance the time you spend together. Teach these activities to family members and other caretakers, so the activities become an important part of your baby’s day.