Page last updated at 06:33 GMT, Friday, 21 November 2008

Should babies face backwards in a buggy?

Mums puhing buggies in a park
Is it better to have your child facing you when they travel in a buggy?
Children who are put in buggies which leave them facing away from their parent could have their development undermined, a study has suggested.

Researchers found that youngsters in prams which face the pusher were more likely to talk, laugh and interact.

You have been telling us what you think of this research.


I had twins and the pram I used for them had one baby facing me and one baby facing front. When they progressed to a pushchair or buggy they both sat facing forward, side by side, mainly because they loved seeing where they were going! My twins grew up perfectly normal with no tendencies to be anything other than well-adjusted adults! What a waste of time and money these so-called studies are!!
Terri Little, Burlington, Canada

Quite apart from the question of parent-child social interaction, try to imagine what it must be like for a small child, close to the ground in a low buggy and unable to see easily (or at all) whoever is propelling them, being helplessly advanced towards oncoming crowds of pedestrians and into trafficked roads. Surely more frightening than facing backwards with, possibly, a visual barrier concealing people and vehicles until they have been passed.
P Terry Hunt, Eastleigh

Yes I do think it makes a difference. I preferred to have my children in a pram facing me so that I could see them and see that they were OK from their facial expressions. Both my children talked early and are very bright. I am horrified today to see mothers pushing prams with babies facing away from them while they talk on their mobile phones. I work in a school and am not surprised that when children start school quite often they cannot even talk properly at four or five-years-old.
Denise Webster, Norfolk, England

Surely far more important is how often you read, talk and play with your child? Mine was in a forward facing pram, and at 21 months has a vocabulary of about a hundred words, and can make herself clearly understood. She also laughs a lot as we play together. These surveys are designed to make parents worry. There is a lot more for parents to concern themselves with than the direction the pram faces!
Christine, Melbourne, Australia

Thirty years ago when my three sons went through the push chair stage they were facing me. It was great, you chatted away and off they went to sleep. No strangers staring in at them. You immediately noticed if they were not happy. I have often thought since my own grandchildren arrived how difficult it is to see how they are doing while being pushed ahead. Any little one must automatically feel they are out all on there own. They also get the sun in there eyes and experience the cold weather as they have no shelter which they would have facing the parent. I cannot help but smile about the fact that we need researchers to tell us this.
Susan Carr, Gibsons, B.C. Canada

I'm playing devil's advocate here, but perhaps babies facing outward grow up to be more 'outward looking'!
Michael Hart, Charleston SC, USA

I am sorry for being a 'Doubting Thomas' but I have never read so much rubbish in my life. I have two daughters aged five and two and both had different buggies, one faced towards you and the other away from you. They both developed in the same way. How much public money is wasted on this research?
Nigel Heath, Bristol

I used a traditional coach pram and when my second child was a baby, my eldest - aged 2 - sat on the pram seat, face-to-face with me. We had the most lovely conversations as I did my daily grocery shopping. He's 18 now, confident - and still talks to me!
Jeanette, Sydney, Australia

I don't think that it matters which way the child faces, it is all about how the parent is feeling and how knowledgeable they are. I mean if the parent is stressed out and in a hurry they are less likely to talk, also if they know what effect their behaviour has on their child perhaps they will be more likely to talk. My children were both in forward facing buggies (the majority on the market that people can afford are forward facing) and are very communicative. Perhaps this is because I would talk to them and point things out as we walked past them. They are also like this in the car - although sometimes I wish for a bit of peace and quiet!
Emma, Larnaca, Cyprus

We've always had forward facing buggies with our two, and I agree with this report. We try to spend as little time as possible with them in there, and keep the hood down so they can look up to see us. I do see many parents with forward facing buggies who push the buggy right up to the edge of the traffic when crossing the road, and that has to be very stressful for the child.
Graham Howson, Hove, UK

I've been saying this for years, it seems obvious to me that children facing the mother will be happier. I'm glad that research proves this.
Vivienne Rendall, Haltwhistle, Northumberland

I am the very proud father of two children, a five-year-old boy and a nearly two-year-old girl, and they have both been "pushed around" facing away from the parent. My son is well ahead of the game academically and my daughter just wont stop talking - takes after her mother! Are we the exception? I really don't think so.
Pete Tranter, Newark, Notts

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