Few things get parents more riled up online than a blogger taking a piece of equipment that they use and love and warning about its potential dangers or risks.
- Physical Therapists advise against using Bumbo Seats and very supportive shoes for babies.
- Occupational Therapists warn about the risks of too much time in Rock 'n Plays and other equipment.
- Speech Therapists caution about the negative effects of pacifiers and sippy cups on oral motor development.
WHY are all these therapists speaking out against baby gear?
Because we care. Because it is our profession to inform parents about their child's development. Because our conclusions are based on years of study, experience and research. Because parents ask us all the time about baby gear and want to know what's best for their babies. Because we see and treat those kiddos who suffer the ill effects of baby gear. Because we hear a lot parents say they wish they'd known.
WHY do parents get so defensive?
I think because what they hear (no matter how carefully, lovingly or supportively we say it) - "Bad parents use this equipment." "All babies who use this equipment will have negative effects." "Throw this piece of equipment away today!"
Why? Because we're parents. We're sensitive. We're doing the best we can. And we have a tendency to hear things as criticism when they're really not (especially when those things are uttered in a grocery store line, but I digress...).
How therapists wish parents would respond
I guess I shouldn't speak for all therapists who blog, write, speak on the news, publish in journals, etc. But I personally always hope that parents would read my posts about baby gear and feel genuinely curious. I wish parents would think, "Huh, I never thought about that." or "I want to know more about that." or "Maybe I could change the way I use that equipment to reduce my child's risks."
Audiologists advise to keep your earbud volume low to protect your hearing. Nutritionists tell us to eat anti-oxidants and avoid fast food. Opthamologists tell us to not read in dim light and to give your eyes breaks from screens.
Therapists are caring professionals who are here to help. We love kiddos and their parents and aim to inform and support, not criticize or judge.