Safe Rough Play for Babies


What is safe rough play for babies? 

Atlanta-based pediatrician, Dr. Jennifer Shu, says, "When done safely, rough play can give your older baby or toddler a sense of freedom and movement, help them learn what their body can do, promote balance and coordination and foster trust.”

While it's a great way for dads (and moms) to bond with baby and for baby to get some good exercise, what does our co-founder, Serenity Carr, think of it?

"The first time I saw Joe swinging and rolling around with our baby, Della, I freaked out a little. Ok - A LOT. It didn’t feel safe. I mean, he can be SO clumsy. What if he drops her and she gets hurt?!? She was giggling and having fun, but it felt unbelievably scary for me. That night I laid in bed tossing and turning. I had a feeling I was overreacting, so I started researching it. I read some blogs about how safe rough play is good for kids and calmed down enough to go to sleep. I asked Joe to research how to do rough play safely, and we’re sharing what he learned in this blog and video. Knowing he’s following the safety rules puts my mind at ease and hearing Della's giggles brings a smile to my face - even if I sometimes still feel uncomfortable watching them play."

So what are some tips and guidelines on how to safe rough play with babies? 

Here are the guidelines that our co-founder, Joe Carr, set to keep Della safe and Serenity comfortable:
  • Support their head until they have full neck and head control, which happens between four to six months old
  • Never yank or swing them by the arms because that could dislocate their shoulders. Holding by the legs is ok if they like being upside down and you're extra careful with their head. 
  • The best place to hold them is firmly around their midsection
  • Only toss them a few inches from your hands to avoid whipping their neck or dropping them. Consider only tossing from a sitting or kneeling position so you're closer to the floor, just in case. 
  • Try to play over soft areas like carpet or grass
  • Watch carefully for their reaction and stop as soon as you or your partner have the sense that they’re no longer enjoying it
In case you’re concerned, rhythmic movements like swinging, bouncing, and gentle tossing, are not causes of Shaken Baby Syndrome, which only happens when their head is violently whipped back and forth causing a form of whiplash. We hope with these tips that mommy, daddy, and baby can all enjoy some safe rough play! 

For more information, visit https://www.workingmother.com/2008/10/home/rough-play-okay.

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