The World Health Organization is warning parents about the dangers of screen time concerning their babies.
In a recently published Guideline, the World Health Organization (WHO) outlined the appropriate amount of sedentary behavior and screen time for children under five years old. The report digs a little deeper than that, however, breaking down different age brackets starting with infants less than one year up to five-year-old children.
For the lowest age bracket (below one year), WHO recommends keeping restraint of infants (time spent in car seats, or strollers) for below an hour a day. Screen time, however, should be non-existent. Instead, they say sedentary time with an infant should be spent with a parent reading and storytelling. They also recommend 30 minutes of play time in the prone position throughout the day. When it comes to sleep, they actually divvy up the recommended hours based on months. zero to three-month-olds should spend most of their day asleep. In fact, WHO says 14 to 17 hours of quality sleep should be expected. Four to 11-month-olds, however, are advised to have 12 to 16 hours. These numbers include naps.
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For children one to two years old, WHO says restraint should be kept to about an hour at a time, while screen time varies based on age. They do not recommend exposing one-year-olds to TV or iPads, however, two-year-olds can handle about an hour, but still, less time is better. They also say 180 minutes or more is ideal for physical activity, while 11-14 hours of sleep is best.
For three to four-year-olds, screen time is still kept to 60 minutes — the same goes for sedentary activity, where reading and storytelling is recommended. When it comes to physical activity, they suggest 180 minutes with 60 minutes of more intense activity throughout the day. They also say 10 to 13 hours of sleep is best, this includes naps.
WHO put this guideline together after identifying physical inactivity as a major threat to global mortality. Since early childhood is where a lot of behavior is formed, it's important to lay out lifestyle choices that will help children stay active and healthy and hopefully, reduce the number of childhood obesity cases around the world.
So, keep the iPad away and get your child moving, you'll be thankful you did.