The Use of Infant Confinement Equipment in Community-Based Child Care Centers: An Analysis of Centers Participating in a Statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System
Objectives Although infants increasingly spend time in community-based child care centers, little attention has been paid to their physical activity experiences while in group care. In particular, the use of devices to restrict infant mobility, such as bouncy seats, high chairs, cribs, and stationary activity centers, has received little attention in the physical activity literature. The current study examines the presence and use of these confinement devices in infant classrooms. Methods A secondary analysis of observational data in child care centers participating in Delaware’s Quality Rating and Improvement System was conducted. Quality assessment observations were coded for the use of confinement devices and the actual amount of time the confinement device was employed per child. The sample consisted of 38 infant classrooms serving a total of 162 infants in the statewide system. Results Findings suggest a high level of utilization of confinement devices in infant child care classrooms with each classroom averaging three pieces of equipment used during the observations and 22% of observed children being confined 30 min or longer during the observation period. Conclusions for Practice The reliance on confinement devices in group child care is a potential concern in the quest to prevent childhood obesity by ensuring adequate physical activity and mobility for infants in group care settings. More research is needed to understand the implications of the use of confinement devices on physical activity in group care settings.
KeywordsEarly care and education Child health Child care Physical activity Childhood overweight
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