Children under the age of two should not be allowed to watch television or use smartphones, tablets or computers, according to new guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The new recommendations cover physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under the age of five.
What are the new recommendations?
The WHO has recommended that children under 12 months old should be physically active several times a day in a variety of ways.
This should include floor-based play, and for those not yet mobile, at least 30 minutes in a prone position (tummy time) while awake.
Babies should also not be restrained for more than an hour at a time in prams or high chairs, and should not be given any screen time.
Children between one and two years of age should also not be allowed any screen time at all and spend a minimum of three hours a day doing physical activity.
They should also not be restrained for more than an hour at a time in a pram or a high chair.
Children between two and five should be allowed no more than one hour of screen time a day, states the WHO.
Why is this important?
The WHO says that failure to meet physical activity recommendations is responsible for more than five million deaths globally each year across all age groups.
More than 23 per cent of adults and 80 per cent of adolescents do not do enough physical activity.
Physical activity will also help develop motor and brain development and will help lifelong health.
Dr Juana Willumsen, WHO focal point for childhood obesity and physical activity, said, “What we really need to do is bring back play for children. This is about making the shift from sedentary time to playtime, while protecting sleep.”
The WHO added, “The pattern of overall 24 hour activity is key: replacing prolonged restrained or sedentary screen time with more active play, while making sure young children get enough good-quality sleep.
“Quality sedentary time spent in interactive non-screen-based activities with a caregiver, such as reading, storytelling, singing and puzzles, is very important for child development.”
The full guidelines can be read here.