We say that a baby can start using the Otteroo floatie in the water as early as 8 weeks old. But why 8 weeks? Dr. Joseph J. Kim, dad to 15-month old Otteroo-baby boy Jace and also the Director of the Pediatric Hospitalist Program at Stanford University’s Children’s Hospital, has been our advisor from the beginning and he recommended this age as good timing, physically and psychologically, for your baby to start enjoying our floatie. Of course, with indicated weight, development, size (9 pounds at least!) and other considerations withstanding.
He continues to advise the Otteroo team on clinical practices and potential clinical use for aquatic therapy using the Otteroo. Here, we asked Dr. Kim to talk about the many uses he can see for the product!
What was your first impression of the Otteroo?
I was intrigued but also skeptical at the same time, for obvious reasons, and about how it would be perceived by American parents. But once I had the product in my hands and saw babies in the Otteroo having fun and love being in it, and also the happy parents, I became enthusiastic about the product. I realized its benefits for early mobility and also its potential for other uses such as rehab in young patients with certain types of conditions and challenges.
What do you think of it now?
I now think it’s really great and my son does, too. From the start, I saw the ease and comfort that he was in. He wasn’t bothered at all about having the float around his neck. And he was able to freely move his arms and legs from earlier in his infancy—which was great.
Why does the Otteroo stand out to you?
It’s a device that doesn’t constrain a baby’s arms and legs as they move around and explore the water. Most flotation devices have arm constraints or they have to hang on to something. This one allows support of the head to be above water, but yet below water, they can freely move their arms and legs. That freedom to exercise all extremities at the same time and interact with the environment is unique.
What types of patients would benefit from the Otteroo?
Any child that has all sorts of developmental delays, specifically in the realm of coordination and muscle strength. For example, I can see patients with cerebral palsy and muscular atrophy benefiting from using the Otteroo. With some neurological diseases that cause spasticity, having something that allows the child to freely move their arms and legs that help to increase their muscle strength, can be a huge benefit, too. Otteroo and the water make this possible.
Do you think the Otteroo will be helpful to children without any risk of delays?
Yes. Swimming is a great sport, and a great form of exercise. It can really build strong muscle tone in infants and toddlers. I think Otteroo provides early exposure to this kind of activity in the water before they transition to swimming classes. It’s also great for getting babies to become comfortable with the concept of moving around and having fun in the water. Even in healthy children, I see a great use for it.