Educational Resources for Early Years Child Development
The purpose of a baby mobile is to entertain and stimulate child development, their eyesight, and to help prevent the baby from having a flat head at the back. It is also a moving object for the baby to develop its hand and eye coordination whilst in its crib/cot.
Entertainment for children is my chosen the theme, with a brief of developing a toy or game within a fixed period of time. I have selected to make a mobile for babies up to the age of six months.
Sight at Birth
Mobiles are popular with babies because they dangle and move in intriguing circular motions. Babies focus their attention on mobiles, wondering whether the object in motion is alive, or whether its moving because baby is making it move! For the first three months a yung baby??™s life the mobile should be hanging low (8 to 12 inches over the crib) so a baby can see it. After that it can be to raised, keeping it safely away from feet kicks and hand grabs.
By the time baby can touch the mobile it should be removed, to prevent choking on small parts or strangulation.
Child Development Stages
At birth, newborn infants have a natural preference for what is familiar. Human faces are of interest, though most infants will only focus on them briefly and fleetingly, and often on only one feature at a time. Infants can see movement, and they can also see colours except usually for blue. In fact, infants respond so well to colour that there may be times that it is the colour of an object that is the focus of an infant??™s sight and the object itself is not actually recognised. However, vision at birth is very poor, so babies can only make out large, distinct sights and the rest remains a blur.
Sight by Two Months
An infant??™s visual system develops in the first two months to the point that the baby will be able to focus on human faces for a greater amount of time, and will particularly focus on the faces of individuals who also speak to them. Babies by two months are also able to focus on different individuals and items and move their gaze between them. At this point babies are also able to show preference of what they see, and many babies show preference for highly defined black and white patterns. Though babies are often taken with these highly contrasting images, they can also differentiate between much more subtle colours, such as a variety of shades of grey.
Sight by Six Months
By the age of six months, babies have expanded their ability to view faces to include enjoying those of other babies as well as their own reflection in a mirror. Babies are also able to remember and recognise others??™ faces, and will often smile upon viewing a familiar face. In terms of objects, however, by six months babies prefer to view new and novel items. Patterns in particular are becoming more easily seen, recognised and understood by babies of six months.
Babies??™ sight at birth is weak as compared to other senses. In the first year of life a baby??™s visual system will develop rapidly so that by one year of age babies can both see and begin to understand much of the world around them. Though the child??™s sight will still develop after one year of age, the foundations will have been laid.
Babies can see colours at birth though often they will have trouble distinguishing similar tones. For this reason many babies prefer to look at black and white patterns or objects with similarly highly contrasting motifs. The ability to distinguish colours develops rapidly, and as early as four months old some babies begin to show a preference for certain colours. However, some babies may be born with degrees of colour blindness that probably will not be tested or diagnosed for several years.
Infants and High Contrast Patterns
When infants are born, their vision is so poor that is equal to being able to read only the largest letter on an adult??™s vision test. While they are able to see a limited amount clearly, most of the world remains a blur. However, infants are able to distinguish contrasts and for this reason often show a preference for black and white patterns on their clothes, mobiles and more. These patterns could also be between other similarly contrasting colours, as it is the stark difference between dark and light that is initially attractive to babies.
Babies and Colour Preferences
In the early months a baby??™s brain works hard to learn and distinguish colours. Researchers have recently discovered that by as early as four months of age babies have not only learned to distinguish these colours, but develop a particular preference for a certain colour as well. Which colour, or spectrum of colours, is preferred will likely be unique to the baby and many babies show delight in a wide range of colours. However, even if parents notice a baby??™s particular fondness for a colour, researchers still suspect that it is best to expose the baby to a wide variety of colours and patterns to further their development.
Medical Safety Evidence
Pretty mobiles for babies may seem at first glance just a nice decorative distraction, but research has shown that they can actually help in Babys development, and could even help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Since 1992, more parents have been putting Baby to sleep on his back, since the American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement urging care-givers to place healthy babies on their backs to reduce the number of deaths caused by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The number of SIDS deaths has decreased by more than 25 percent since then.
Those in charge of changing a baby have known for eons that having a bit of a distraction at changing time can help keep a baby happily on the changing table for those crucial moments. Since the advent of battery-operated mobiles, theyre even more effective in capturing and keeping Babys attention; just wind it up and watch as Babys eyes glaze over watching the pretty bluebirds circle overhead. (internet: ???Mobiles for Babies???, Sarah Van Arsdale)
Baby Behaviour – Do Babies Need Alone Time
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the brain structure within infants develops at an astronomical rate. In their first year alone, the majority of infants go from barely moving to crawling on their stomachs. Everything including colors, every word, every object, needs to be learned and understood by a brain that is constantly developing.
What this means is that over-stimulation is a reality for the infant brain; the natural reaction under such conditions is for the human brain to “tune out” or periodically disengage. Put the average adult in a similar situation and the result would be exactly the same. (Just Me and My Mobile, By Jacqueline Bodnar)
Most parents position a mobile over a babys crib, so it can be entertained by the whirling shapes as it falls asleep or wakes up; this encourages the babys interest in the world around him, and stimulates his instinct to reach and grasp – even if his reach does not yet exceed his grasp. An added bonus is that the baby is less likely to start crying while waking and falling asleep.
A babys head is not as hard as an adults. It is liable to get as misshapen as much as a cantaloupe if baby lies on his back at every naptime. Once the word went out from the American Academy of Pediatrics, there was an increase in the number of babies with flat spots on the backs of their heads.
The reason that baby mobiles have something to do with this is that it seems that a strategically-placed mobile can also help prevent babys head from looking tortilla flat on the back. Wind up the mobile, hang it to the side of the crib instead of directly overhead, and baby will turn its head to the side while it dozes off. This will decrease the chance of the baby having a flat head at the back.
I have done some research on baby mobile and looked at the other competitors in the market; I did this so I could try to create a design that no one else has thought of. Some of the brands I have researched are :
??? Fisher Price
??? Early Learning Centre
From my research, which has included the internet, common brand comparisons and discussions with parents, I have concluded that mobile are an important feature in a babies early development. Most parents have at least purchased or used a baby mobile over a cot, pram or changing mat during the first six months of their babies??™ lives. It was evident from the price comparison that most parents are prepared to pay the market cost of around ?30 – ?40. This is a high cost investment for only six months use. I therefore plan to develop a simpler design of mobile using less costly materials but not reducing the developmental purpose and quality of the product.
In my design I shall take into consideration the technical and medical features which will specifically incorporate colour, shape, size and reflection.