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Study: Infant and Young Toddler Screen Time May Lead to Speech Delays

Posted By Communications Manager, Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Updated: Sunday, May 28, 2017

We’ve all been there. It’s almost dinnertime and you’re standing in the kitchen, baby in tow, wondering what you’re going to make for dinner and how you’re going to handle watching your little while cooking. You’ve heard time and time again that screen time prior to age two is detrimental, but part of you wonders if it’s an over exaggeration. Could it really be that the hour or two you set your child in front of a YouTube channel or iPad each day to keep them entertained while you’re checking off chores is really that bad?

A new study being presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting says yes. Conducted by Dr. Catherine Birken, a pediatrician at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the study found that the more time children between the ages of six months and two years spent using handheld screens the more likely they were to experience speech delays.

Nearly 900 children were studied to obtain the findings. Parents reported the amount of screen time their children had at 18 months. Researchers then used a validated infant toddler checklist to assess their language development while looking at whether or not the child used sounds or words to get attention, as well as how many words are in their vocabulary.

Parents reported that the average participant spent around 28 minutes using screens. Every 30-minute increment of daily screen time resulted in a 49 percent increased risk of speech delay. Interestingly, the study found no link between device use and a delay in body language, gestures and social interaction.

More research needs to be done but the findings backup the American Academy of Pediatrics claim that children under a year and a half should avoid televisions, tables and other screened devices. Read more at CNN.

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