Posts Tagged ‘ infants ’

Flying With Infants: Parents’ Tactic Ignites Debate

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Any parent who has tried to soothe a fussy baby at 30,000 feet knows that flying with little ones is no picnic. It’s even worse when your fellow passengers are less than understanding.

One couple tried an interesting strategy when flying recently with their 14-week-old twins: they passed out candy to everyone on the plane, along with a note explaining that this was the twins’ first flight, reports The Huffington Post’s Lisa Belkin. The note apologized in advance for any crying, and offered earplugs to anyone who needed them.

One passenger posted a photo of the treats on the website Reddit on Sunday with this description: “Brilliant and thoughtful parents handed these out to everyone on my flight.”

The photo sparked instant debate. Within a day, it had attracted more than 3,000 comments and had been viewed more than a million times. Some people praised the gesture and expressed sympathy for the parents, while others stated that babies just don’t belong on planes. Some complained about times that they’d had to sit next to babies who cried or had dirty diapers.

One commenter suggested that the candy was unnecessary. “Really? You don’t find this to be overkill?” papabusche said. “I don’t require an apology for a crying baby on a plane. This is to be expected. I’m ok with it. People have babies, and they need to travel too.”

The subject of children on planes has sparked intense discussion in recent years. Last summer, Malaysia Airline banned babies under age 2 from the first class cabins of its Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A380 superjumbo jets.

Readers, what do you think? Were the treats a smart move, or overkill?

Image: Candy from babies via gigantomachy / Reddit.



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Parents Warned to Keep Monitors 3 Feet Away from Cribs

Friday, July 20th, 2012

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning that parents should keep their babies’ monitors at least 3 feet away from their cribs, lest the children become entangled in the monitors’ cords.  Seven children have reportedly strangled to death by monitor cords since 2002.  From

The organization is working with the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) on a national safety campaign about the issue, and JPMA today launched a website,, as well as a video and advertising campaign, to help spread the safety message. The group is also giving away free warning labels to attach to monitor cords. You can order one here.

Image: Baby monitor, via Shutterstock.
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Study: Babies Learn to Speak by Reading Lips

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Newborns and infants do their first learning by gazing into the eyes of their parents and caregivers.  But when it’s time for them to learn to speak, they begin to “read lips,” a new study published by Florida Atlantic University researchers has found.

The Associated Press reports on how developmental psychologist David Lewkowicz performed their study:

He and doctoral student Amy Hansen-Tift tested nearly 180 babies, groups of them at ages 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 months.

How? They showed videos of a woman speaking in English or Spanish to babies of English speakers. A gadget mounted on a soft headband tracked where each baby was focusing his or her gaze and for how long.

They found a dramatic shift in attention: When the speaker used English, the 4-month-olds gazed mostly into her eyes. The 6-month-olds spent equal amounts of time looking at the eyes and the mouth. The 8- and 10-month-olds studied mostly the mouth.

At 12 months, attention started shifting back toward the speaker’s eyes.

It makes sense that at 6 months, babies begin observing lip movement, Lewkowicz says, because that’s about the time babies’ brains gain the ability to control their attention rather than automatically look toward noise.

But what happened when these babies accustomed to English heard Spanish? The 12-month-olds studied the mouth longer, just like younger babies. They needed the extra information to decipher the unfamiliar sounds.

That fits with research into bilingualism that shows babies’ brains fine-tune themselves to start distinguishing the sounds of their native language over other languages in the first year of life. That’s one reason it’s easier for babies to become bilingual than older children or adults.

Image: Happy baby girl, via Shutterstock

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Consumer Agency Warns Parents About Bumbo Seat Safety

Monday, November 28th, 2011

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning that Bumbo chairs, which are designed to help support young babies as they learn to sit upright, have been responsible for at least 45 serious head injuries, including skull fractures, when parents have placed the seats on elevated surfaces like chairs, countertops, or tabletops. 

The new warning comes despite an October 2007 voluntary recall of the seats, which were subsequently re-released with notices printed on the products instructing parents to refrain from placing the seats on elevated surfaces. 

The Bumbo website’s homepage currently features a prominent warning that reads, “Never use the Bumbo baby seat on any elevated surface. The seat is not designed to be totally restrictive. Use of the seat on any elevated surface may result in serious injury. Never leave your child unattended.” 

But the CPSC and the product company, Bumbo International, says that too many parents are ignoring the warnings as well as good safety practices, at great risk to their children.  From a joint statement issued last week:

CPSC and Bumbo International are also aware of an additional 50 reports of infants falling or maneuvering out of Bumbo seats used on the floor and at unknown elevations. These incidents include two reports of skull fractures and one report of a concussion that occurred when babies fell out of Bumbo seats used on the floor. These injuries reportedly occurred when the infants struck their heads on hard flooring, or in one case, on a nearby toy.

The Bumbo seat is labeled and marketed to help infants sit in an upright position as soon as they can support their head. The product warnings state that the seat “may not prevent release of your baby in the event of vigorous movement.” Infants as young as 3 months can fall or escape from the seat by arching backward, leaning forward or sideways or rocking.

Bumbo seats are not currently under a new recall, though parents are urged to heed safety warnings, and not leave children unattended in the seats.

(Image via:

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Scientists: Baby Humans, Rats, Cats Learn to Walk Using Similar Neurons

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Baby human beings and a number of other animals share the neural mechanism in the brain that allows them to walk, new research published in the journal Science has found.  The development of human locomotion branches off from the other animals, which include cats, rats, and guinea fowl, as the animals mature, with larger-brained animals such as humans taking longer to learn to walk independently than smaller-brained animals like rats.

The “stepping instinct,” where a newborn baby automatically lifts his or her feet when they are rested on a surface, was found by researchers to have its roots in a neural pathway that is also found in the animals studied.  Researchers say that the discovery can help further the development of tools to rehabilitate people who are paralyzed or otherwise cannot walk.

“We have a common history … a common ancestral network, which originated locomotion in the first animals, the first vertebrates,”  study co-author Francesco Lacquaniti, scientist at the University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy, told  “Mother nature did not discard what it had. It does not scrap hardware,” he added. “Indeed, the adult locomotion of adults is unique. But it seems to derives from common ancestry, as for the other animals.”

Image: Baby walking, via Shutterstock.

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