I was at a worksite doing a basic office ergonomics presentation. One of the risks for developing a cumalative trauma injury is whole-body vibration. After the presenatation, a woman approached me with a question. This new grandmother is concerned that her daughter-in-law is using a baby seat that vibrates. Supposedly, this vibration relaxes the baby and encourages sleep. She asked about the effects of whole-body vibration on an infant. I am stumped on this one! I did a quick google search and couldn’t turn up anything on the effects of whole-body vibration on infants. I am guessing that the frequency of vibration is a factor, and I did a google search of products that include vibration for infants.
Here is one description:
I am not aware of any case studies on this vibration exposure, but the Sleep Tight device has been around for a long time. Maybe that company has some data to support its safety. I have a daughter who is almost 18 who had severe colic as an infant. I bless the day I got the Sleep Tight as there was very little sleep in our house before it came. She got a whole lot of exposure to this exact form of vibration as it was extremely effective in soothing her. She was a neurologically normal but irritable baby. The Mylicon drops (anti-gas medication) did not help. Before getting the device she would cry essentially non-stop from 3 p.m to midnight. She would then sleep for an hour if I was lucky before starting in again with her piercing cry. Believe me, that Sleep Tight was a lot safer for her than taking another trip in the car with her sleep-deprived mom at 3 a.m. She made all her neurodevelopmental milestones early or on time and is a healthy honor student today, getting ready for college. By common sense you should not use such a device unless there is reason to do so. The “white noise” part of the product ran off batteries and I quickly discovered that the vibration component was the necessary part for my baby. My second daughter did not need it.
Thanks for your response. I don’t doubt that vibration is beneficial for an immature nervous system, I was just wondering if it has consequences for circulation and/or other injuries. My children were not colicky by definition but I noticed that they would easily fall asleep when driving in the car. That vibration was certainly relaxing and comforting to them. And what parent hasn’t paced the floor bouncing the baby gently up and down to try to settle it down?
I just wish I had a better answer than “duh, I don’t know” to the woman who asked me about the safety of vibration for babies. It is good to hear that your daughter is a happy healthy young adult!
I know of a colleague in Germany who has done specific vibration testing and analysis on new-born babys who have to be transported in an ambulance (with focus on premature babies in an incubator). As far as I recall the first results immediately led them to design a special spring-suspension system for the incubator to prevent damage to the child.
Maybe the relevant hospitals in the U.S. have done similar research on this topic.
The forum ‘General Ergonomics Topics’ is closed to new topics and replies.