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Baby Carriage: Infants Walking With Loads Jessie S. Garciaguirre, Karen E. Adolph, and Patrick E. Shrout
 

Summary: Baby Carriage: Infants Walking With Loads
Jessie S. Garciaguirre, Karen E. Adolph, and Patrick E. Shrout
New York University
Maintaining balance is a central problem for new walkers. To examine how infants cope with the additional
balance control problems induced by load carriage, 14-month-olds were loaded with 15% of their body weight
in shoulder-packs. Both symmetrical and asymmetrical loads disrupted alternating gait patterns and caused less
mature footfall patterns. Walking was most severely compromised by back loads. Infants with less walking
experience, lower levels of walking proficiency, and chubbier body proportions were more adversely affected. In
addition, infants displayed a unique postural response to asymmetrical loads. In contrast to older children and
adults, infants leaned with loads rather than in the opposite direction to the loads. Findings are discussed in
terms of development from accommodation to compensatory strategies.
Nearly as soon as infants can stand and walk, they
complicate the problem of maintaining balance by
carrying loads. They carry objects in their hands,
hold them under their arms, and lift them overhead.
In a standing posture, balance is easiest to control
when the body's center of mass is maintained
squarely over the base of support (Winter, 1995). In
walking, the body's center of mass moves outside the
base of support. Balance is dynamic: The challenge is

  

Source: Adolph, Karen - Center for Neural Science & Department of Psychology, New York University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine