Babies In Buggies. Why It Matters Which Way Your Buggy Faces.

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I read with interest the comments by Gail Larkin in today’s Telegraph about the fact that forward -facing buggies are  ‘damaging children’s social skills.’ Gail Larkin, the president of the National Association of Head Teachers, criticises parents who chat to friends on the phone rather than talking to their children.

I don’t know about you but mobile phones have a lot to answer for these days – and I’m a huge fan of the things I can now do ‘on the go.’

Apparently children are starting school unable to talk properly after spending too long in forward-facing buggies while their parents “yap” on mobile phones, according to a leading head teacher.

Many infants struggle to develop vital language skills in the early years after failing to hold proper conversations with their mothers and fathers, it was claimed.

Gail Larkin, president of the National Association of Head Teachers, said some parents meet young children outside the school gates “and don’t even say hello” because they are too busy talking to friends.

She also criticised the trend of forward-facing buggies which meant parents pushed children along the street while “chatting on their phone”.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Mrs Larkin levelled particular criticism at “running buggies” – pushchairs that parents can jog with – saying the trend was a “lonely experience” for young children.

The comments follow the publication of research by Dundee University that found forward-facing push chairs could leave infants “emotionally impoverished”.

Children were less likely to be sleeping, laughing or interacting with their parents than those in buggies facing backwards, it was claimed.

Mrs Larkin, who spent more than 20 years as a head in Surrey before acting as an adviser to school leaders in the county, said there had been a marked deterioration in children’s speaking skills in the last decade.

“Head teachers have been seeing more children arriving at school still in nappies and unable to speak or even have the most basic conversation,” she said.

She added: “It breaks my heart when I see parents pushing their kids along, chatting on their phone.”

Mrs Larkin criticised “buggies that face the wrong way”.

“You should be having a conversation as you walk along,” she said. “All these buggies where the kids are facing outwards; it must be the loneliest existence.

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