Ask the Doctor
Mary Jane Baniak, Ph.D. is a doctor of physical therapy specializing in early intervention for special populations. A mom of three girls, Dr. Baniak combines professional expertise, academic credentials, and practical mom know-how to answer common questions about MightyTykes™.
Dr. Baniak is a certified Early Intervention Specialist, Certified Infant Massage Instructor, Certified Weight Trainer, and is licensed in both Maryland and West Virginia. An accomplished athlete, Dr. Baniak is an experienced race director and ultra-runner, having completed the Boston Marathon twice and over 20 marathons in 15 states. She has also completed four 100-mile races and an Ironman triathlon.
Dr. Baniak holds a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Master of Science in Physical Therapy (cum laude), and Bachelor’s in Biology (magna cum laude) from Wheeling Jesuit College in Wheeling, West Virginia.
Dr. Baniak lives in West Virginia with her three daughters and veterinarian husband.
Frequently Asked Questions
How old should my child be to use MightyTykes Infant & Child Weights?
As with any weight or exercise device, your child should be able to make purposeful movements in order to get any potential benefit from using the weights. In other words, your child should be able to move his/her arm or leg while wearing the weight, without assistance. They need to be doing it on their own. The weights may be used as early as six months, though this could vary from child to child.
Check with your pediatrician or physical therapist before initiating any exercise program.
How do I know which weight to use?
Start by trying the lightest weight available. Your child should be able to lift their arm or leg with some effort, but without obvious straining or discomfort. Take cues from your child and remove the weight when they seem tired or frustrated.
Read the User Guide for more information.
When can I increase weight?
Again, watching your child is the best way to determine when they’re ready to increase weight. Once your child appears to be moving their arm or leg effortlessly, try the next weight, being sure to only allow them to wear it only as long as they seem comfortable.
Are the weights safe?
The weights are constructed of non-toxic materials and are very low risk, but as with any device used with small children, you’ll want to take some common-sense precautions:
• Never leave your child unattended while wearing the weights.
• Don’t let your child chew or suck on the weights.
• Be sure to secure the weights above the joint, not at the most narrow part of the wrist or ankle, to minimize the chance of tugging on the joint ligaments.
• Don’t use multiple weights at the same time.
• Don’t use more weight than your child can comfortably lift.
Read the User Guide for more information.
My child has tremors and moves awkwardly. Can MightyTykes™Infant & Child Weights help?
MightyTykes™ Infant & Child Weights can help decrease tremors, help minimize awkward movements, and also provide sensory comfort for some kids. Experiment or ask your therapist or pediatrician whether MightyTykes™Infant & Child Weights may help your child.
My child seems to like the feeling of weight on them. Can MightyTykes™Infant & Child Weights help?
Some kids enjoy the feeling of heavy weight against their body—what’s called a sensory phenomenon. If your child gets comfort from the sensation of MightyTykes™Infant & Child Weights, there’s no harm in using them with adult supervision.
Can my child wear the wrist and ankle weights at the same time?
Yes, but again, it’s important to pay close attention to your child to ensure they don’t fatigue your child.
Is it OK to use MightyTykes™Infant & Child Weights on a typical child just to help them get stronger?
MightyTykes™Infant & Child Weights are safe to use as indicated on children, whether they have a medical condition or not. Just be sure to follow instructions and consult with your pediatrician or therapist.
Do the weights really work?
Like similar weights for adults, these weights may promote increased strength and endurance when used as indicated, but it’s important to note that several factors contribute to healthy physical development. MightyTykes Infant and Child Weights are helpful as a tool to help progression toward important motor developmental milestones.
Be sure to consult your child’s Physical Therapist or Pediatrician before starting an exercise regimen.
If your infant is not participating in a state early intervention program and you would like your child evaluated, you can find a program in your state.