Expert Advice

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Ergonomics and advice for using the Stokke® Steps™ Bouncer and the Stokke® Steps™ Chair, with and without the Baby Set.

Author: Child Pediatric Physiotherapist Vibeke Smith Aulie.
 
 

The Stokke® Steps™ Bouncer has been developed to give your baby the best possible seating from the newborn stage.

 

The bouncer is constructed to support the baby’s body so that the infant´s back maintains its naturally curved posture. When the child is newborn, it doesn´t have control of its head as the muscles are still weak. For this reason, it is important that the angle of the bouncer is at its lowest. It is also recommended that the baby remain seated for only a limited amount of time. For the first few months after the baby is born, the Newborn Insert should be used for extra stabilization.

 

Careful attention should always be paid to the baby’s seating position, making certain that the baby does not slide down. Gravity will cause the baby to slide or sag gradually in the bouncer after a while if the bouncer is set at too steep angle or if placed in the bouncer for an extended period of time.

 

When the bouncer is fastened on the Stokke® Steps™ Chair, it transforms into a comfortable newborn seat. The bounce function is locked when placed on the chair and the angle of the seat is good for feeding.  When the baby is 3-4 months old, it will have developed better eyesight and will be able to recognize family members seated around the table with them.

 

From birth, the baby has a natural curve of the back and its spine is slightly convex. As the baby grows, it will develop the neck curve from lying in prone position. While sitting, the baby will develop the curve of the upper part of its back. When the child finally begins to walk, the curve in the lower back will appear. It is therefore important that the infant gets support for its natural, newborn posture from the start so that healthy development follows its course. If the back plate of a seat is too straight and rigid, the baby will shift to the side when seated and sit with a crooked back. The bouncer is shaped to accommodate the spines curve and has just the right seat depth so that the baby is able to kick, stretch and bend its legs from the hip joint. 

 

Infants that are born with asymmetry – a skewed neck or torticollis should not be seated in any form of bouncer before the condition has been corrected. If a child has spent a lot of time in a car seat or in a shopping cart they should sit in the bouncer for only minimal periods of time during that day. The infant needs variations in posture for optimal motoric development. Therefore, it is important to shift their posture from sitting to lying down in a stroller or on the floor. The child should lie on their belly as much as possible when they are awake to stimulate and strengthen the arm, back and neck muscles.

 

The Stokke® Steps™ Chair with the Baby Set is recommended for children from approximately 6 months old. It is a chair that gives proper support for the back and thighs with an easily adjustable footplate. When the child is around 6 months old, it is important that they are included in meals and family time. By sitting at the table, the child can be fed easily and start to try to eat proper children’s food by themselves. The child will also participate in ever-important social interaction.

 

This is a good starting point for cognitive learning and for using and mastering fine motor skills. Children that may not be able to sit independently on the floor can sit in a properly supported position using the baby set, but not for too long. This means for approximately 15 minutes in the beginning. When the child shows signs of getting tired and slouching, it should be lifted out of the chair immediately.

 

Stokke® Steps™ Chair is an “active” chair that children feel comfortable using and like to sit in. It is recommended for use from when the child can get in and out of the chair independently. The footplate can be adjusted so that the child sits with an open angle in the hips and so that the lower back maintains a curved angle. The chair promotes a natural posture, meaning a more dynamic seating position for the child.

 

 

 

References:

Campbell, Suzann: “Physical Therapy for Children”. Fourth edition, 2012.

Nordbotten, Gerd Lise N.: “Barns fysiske utvikling”. Høyskoleforlaget. 2006

Shumway-Cook A & Woollacott MH: “Motor Control; Theory and practical application”. Second Edition. 2001.

Smith, Lars & Ulvund, Stein Erik: “Spedbarnsalderen”. Revidert og utvidet utgave. 1999.