A day after I decide to write a post of wearing a sling the news erupts with babies possibly suffocating while being worn! I've got great timing! Being an avid baby~wearer, and also the owner of a small business that makes Ring Slings, I want to clear up some of the fear in the air and give you exactly what these articles are talking about.
First the dangers of babywearing. Nothing comes without risk. Even riding a bike (or walking down the street for some of us) can pose a risk if you are as graceful as I am! So of course when wearing (or carrying) your baby you need to be cautious. Two not-so-common dangers are ::
1) Suffocation~ this can happen if you are using a sling improperly or using a "bag style" sling such as the Infantino Sling (7 babies have died due to suffocation using a bag style sling)
2) Concussion, bruises, serious injury to baby~ over 11 years 37 babies have fallen out of sling causing injury to the baby, but thankfully no deaths.
You can read more about this at Consumer Reports
In fact an RN conducted some studies on the bag style sling and you can read about her findings here.
A parent needs to be cautious when using a sling, and there are guidelines for safe positioning and babywearing. Here is a great video explaining some safe babywearing practices ::
Take the 5 minutes to watch this if you have questions or concerns about wearing your baby. She does a great job of giving some tips on making sure your baby is safe, secure and suffocation free.
Some important tips ::
1. Always make sure your baby can breathe! You do want to be hands free while wearing your baby but obvously NOT at the expensive of their respiration! Never wear your baby in a C position where their bottom is the lowest point in the sling, leaving the head and feet higher than the head. This causes the babies chin to press firmly against his chest making breathing difficult. (this is the only position the bag style carrier allows you to wear your baby~not safe!). You can wear your baby in a cradle position but always make sure the baby is laying in a diagonal with his head at the highest point, his feet at the lowest, not vertical!
2. Don't do anything with the carrier your wouldn't do while holding your baby! This includes activities like running/jogging, jumping, driving, swimming, roller blading, riding a bike, mowing your lawn (do you get the idea??) etc. Carriers are for babies to be held securely, any of the previous activities could injure or harm your baby! Walking, rocking, dancing, gentle motions are the best for protecting babies neck and spine in or out of a carrier!
3. Make sure your carrier is appropriate for your babies age, developmental stage and weight. There are lots of carriers to choose from. They offer different positions and different weight limits. Every carrier is different. It's best to go to a store that offers slings and carriers to try and see which one feels right and comfortable to you! And while you use that carrier, make sure you are using positions your baby is ready for! In a Ring Sling we don't suggest you use the back or side carry until the baby can hold his head up very well. Find out the requirements for each carrier and follow them!
4. Follow the directions and guidelines correctly for each sling. Make sure your read through those directions and find additional tips online and especially on Youtube. There are a plethora of baby wearing videos offered to help make wearing your baby easy the first time and safely!
5. Make sure your baby is being carried securely. The sling or carrier should be buckled or adjusted to support and hold baby in. If you bend over to pick up an item, place you hand on baby for extra security and monitor your babies position periodically. In all honesty it's hard to wear your baby insecurely because it won't feel right to you, but it's always a great practice to be proactive and check their position! Also a newborn should have their head and neck secured and not bobbling around, make sure the sling comes up to their ears, but not over their head or face.
Hopefully this was helpful! Baby wearing is wonderful for development and contrary to some beliefs it is not a "fad". It has been done for centuries, we are just figuring out how to do it more comfortably and stylishly! And with the lack of need the western world has had with all the fun gadgets and toys you can buy to entertain and "hold" your baby for you, baby wearing has been lost for a while. So I'd say it's not a fad, but it's making a comeback!
happy Baby~Toddler wearing!