Components of Standing Postural Control Evaluated in Pediatric Balance Measures: A Scoping Review
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OBJECTIVE: To identify measures of standing balance validated in pediatric populations, and to determine the components of postural control captured in each tool. DATA SOURCES: Electronic searches of MEDLINE, Embase, and CINAHL databases using key word combinations of postural balance/equilibrium, psychometrics/reproducibility of results/predictive value of tests, and child/pediatrics; gray literature; and hand searches. STUDY SELECTION: Inclusion criteria were measures with a stated objective to assess balance, with pediatric (≤18y) populations, with at least 1 psychometric evaluation, with at least 1 standing task, with a standardized protocol and evaluation criteria, and published in English. Two reviewers independently identified studies for inclusion. There were 21 measures included. DATA EXTRACTION: Two reviewers extracted descriptive characteristics, and 2 investigators independently coded components of balance in each measure using a systems perspective for postural control, an established framework for balance in pediatric populations. DATA SYNTHESIS: Components of balance evaluated in measures were underlying motor systems (100% of measures), anticipatory postural control (72%), static stability (62%), sensory integration (52%), dynamic stability (48%), functional stability limits (24%), cognitive influences (24%), verticality (9%), and reactive postural control (0%). CONCLUSIONS: Assessing children's balance with valid and comprehensive measures is important for ensuring development of safe mobility and independence with functional tasks. Balance measures validated in pediatric populations to date do not comprehensively assess standing postural control and omit some key components for safe mobility and independence. Existing balance measures, that have been validated in adult populations and address some of the existing gaps in pediatric measures, warrant consideration for validation in children.
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