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June 1997

A Motor Milestone Change Noted With a Change in Sleep Position

Author Affiliations

From Newton Medical Center, Newton, Kan (Drs Jantz and Fruechting), and Bethel College, North Newton, Kan (Mr Blosser).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151(6):565-568. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170430031006

Objective:  To evaluate whether sleeping in the supine position resulted in changes in gross or fine motor developmental milestones observed at routinely scheduled well-child checkups at 4 or 6 months of age.

Design:  A retrospective chart review.

Setting:  One private pediatric practice involving 2 full-time and 2 part-time board-eligible or board-certified pediatricians.

Subjects:  The study included 343 full-term infants whose weights were appropriate or large for gestational age, had no history of hospitalization other than for normal newborn care, and were examined in the office for their 4-month well-child checkup within 2 weeks of being 4 months old.

Methods:  The Denver Developmental Screening Test-Revised was administered at the 4- and 6-month well-child checkups. The primary sleep positions of the infants were determined by telephone survey, office interview, or letter after the 6-month checkup was completed. Background data collected from the mother for each mother-infant pair included maternal age at the time of birth, parity, and marital status, Medicaid status and ethnicity of the infant, and whether the infant was breast-fed.

Results:  Infants who slept in the side or supine position were less likely to roll over at the 4-month checkup than infants who slept primarily in the prone position (P<.001). No significant differences were found when comparison by maternal age, parity, or marital status, Medicaid status or ethnicity of the infant, or the use of breast-feeding were considered. Other motor milestones screened did not show statistically significant changes.

Conclusions:  Sleep position significantly influences the age of achieving the gross motor developmental milestone of rolling over; infants who sleep in the side or supine position roll over later than infants who sleep in the prone position.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151:565-568

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