What is Container Baby Syndrome? And why even the best baby equipment on the market today may actually harm your baby! 

By Dr. Mirav Newman, PT, DPT 


In our previous post we discussed the importance of tummy time and established that you can have fun with your baby on the floor. Now we will explore some of the equipment on the market for babies, that all too often seem like a great alternative.


There are many pieces of equipment for sale that look fun and exciting and help new parents gain some free arm time, butit may not the best option for your baby. Parents ask all the time, what about the bouncy chair? What about the bumbo? What about the swing? I always answer with the same response: The floor is the best place for your baby! Only 10 minutes a day is appropriate to place your infant in a container. If you\’re looking for a spot to place your baby down to avoid a pet or toddler sibling, try a playpen. 


A baby container is any piece of equipment used by a baby to keep him safe, free up mom and dad, or simply provide the baby with entertainment or play time.  Container baby syndrome (CBS) includes a range of conditions caused by an infant spending excessive time in a container.  These conditions involve physical, movement , cognitive or social- emotional problems. Sometimes even deformity may occur from too much time spent on a daily basis in a container. Containers restrict babies from using all parts of the body for movement. Sometimes parents take their baby out of the container and place him on his belly and he immediately begins crying.  He is crying because tummy time is work and container positions are not. 


According to the APTA, “..Work and play in the tummy position is integral to development. The baby is likely crying because this position requires more work for the baby. Tummy time strengthens muscles of the neck and trunk, promotes and maintains a rounded skull shape, and fosters the development of movements and coordination.”  


How would you recognize the symptoms of Container Baby Syndrome in your baby? 

  • Misshapen head or restricted neck (torticollis)
  • Facial asymmetry
  • Cries easily when flat on the floor
  • Delayed development 
  • Decreased strength, endurance, and coordination
  • Difficulty with age appropriate play
  • Delayed speech or cognition
  • Problems with vision and hearing


If you are concerned about container baby syndrome, reach out to a pediatric physical therapist for advice.  You can contact me at mirav@dynamicsolutionstherapy.com or visit our website at www.dynamicsolutionstherapy.com


Note that baby wearing is great, and slings and carriers are not considered a container.  




Stay tuned for our next post about babies and shoes.

Scroll to Top