Importance: Parent recall is the primary method for measuring positioning practices such as tummy time in infants. Concerns regarding the accuracy of parent recall have been raised in the literature. To date, no study has examined the agreement of tummy time recall measures with gold-standard methods.

Objective: To assess the agreement between parental recall versus direct observation of tummy time in infants, and to explore the impact of prematurity on this relationship.

Design: Cross-sectional observational study, spanning 1 yr.

Setting: Participants’ homes

Participants: Thirty-two infant–parent dyads (19 full-term, 13 preterm), with infants ages 3 to 6 mo and caregivers ages older than 18 yr.

Outcome and Measures: Home-recorded videos of infant play across 3 days were used as a proxy for direct observation of tummy time and compared with a 12-item parent recall survey.

Results: Parent recall had a significant moderate correlation (ρ = .54, p = .002) with direct observation in full-term infants but was not correlated (p = .23) with direct observation in preterm infants. On average, parents of preterm infants overestimated tummy time by 2.5 times per day compared with direct observation.

Conclusions and Relevance: For full-term infants, parent recall measures of tummy time exhibit an acceptable level of agreement with direct observation and can be reliably used over shorter periods. Parents of preterm infants may display a bias in recalling tummy time, leading to overestimations. To accurately assess tummy time in this population, a combination of subjective and objective measures should be explored.

Plain-Language Summary: Tummy time is an essential movement experience for infants, especially for preterm infants, who are at a higher risk for motor delays. The most common way to track tummy time is through parent reports, or recall, versus a practitioner directly observing tummy time in the home. Despite the widespread use of parent recall to track tummy time, no study has examined the accuracy of parent recall versus direct observation in the home. Accurately assessing tummy time is crucial for improving and supporting health outcomes for infants. This study found that prematurity may affect the accuracy of parent recall for assessing tummy time in young infants. The authors discuss the implications of this finding and provide suggestions to guide the selection of appropriate methods to measure tummy time in clinical practice and research studies.

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