Supine: development, assessment and intervention

Importance of supine development 
Spending time in supine when awake, active and moving is important for infant development as this is the first position that infants can independently explore the environment and learn to stabilize the trunk to allow for more differentiated and goal directed movements of the limbs.

Observation of the infant's abilities in supine provide valuable insights into the the different aspects of behaviour that influence present behavior: level of alertness, general level of activity, motivation to move, approach/avoidance behaviors, attention and persistence, and engagement with social and physical environment.

Lying supine, especially if the trunk is slightly raised, provides an opportunity for infants to look towards interesting events in the environment.

Infants also learn to reach for and pick up toys that are placed within easy reaching distance.


Typical development in supine 



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Assessment guidelines    Supine 3-7 months 

Annotated video clips    Series of video clips highlighting changes over time 

Notes on supine development    Newborn in supine      5 weeks    1-2 months      Will at 10 weeks       3-4 months      5 months   5-7 months 

Bibliography    Development in supine 

Understanding development  Emerging sense of self 


External resources and useful websites

Developmental positioning for preterm infant 
Positioning preterm infant using The Zaky