Screen time for children below five years of age should not be more than one hour, World Health Organisation (WHO) advised in a recently released report. They should spend more time playing than in front of the screens.
As per the WHO guidelines, infants should not only be allowed lesser screen time but should also not be restrained in prams or seats for long. Parents should ensure they have more time for active play and get better quality of sleep.
Lack of physical activity is responsible for more than five million deaths globally each year across all age groups, as mentioned in the report. “Improving physical activity, reducing sedentary time and ensuring quality sleep in young children will improve their physical, mental health and well-being, and help prevent childhood obesity and associated diseases later in life,” said Dr Fiona Bull, programme manager for surveillance and population-based prevention of noncommunicable diseases, WHO.
As per the WHO recommendations, infants less than one year old should engage more in interactive floor-based play, including 30 minutes of tummy time. They should not be restrained for more than an hour at a time and should get no screen time. Babies up to three months of age should sleep for 14-17 hours while those up to 11 months for 12-16 hours.
Children between one and two years of age should spend at least 180 minutes in various kinds of physical activities, and should not be restrained for more than an hour, with minimum screen time. They should get at least 11-14 hours of good quality sleep.
For children between three and four years of age, on the other hand, screen time should not be more than an hour. Parents should engage them in storytelling, and in physical activities for at least 180 minutes. Good quality sleep for 10-13 hours is recommended.