Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Babywearing SAFETY Considerations

While babywearing offers a lot of convenience, it is VERY IMPORTANT to take safety precautions AT ALL TIMES no matter what type of sling or carrier you are using. This goes without saying that it applies to when you use a Peekaroobaby pouch sling. Quoted direct from Wikipedia... (I can't find a much better way to put it... the link can be found on the side)... some important points...

"Parents who babywear must be aware of external hazards in the environment, mostly relating to floor or ground conditions such as curbs, debris, icy sidewalks, etc. As the baby has more freedom of movement and is closer to the adult point of view in a sling, compared to the knee's eye view of a stroller, parents must also watch to prevent the baby from grabbing hot drinks or other dangerous items.

Proper position in the sling/carrier is important for the infant's hip, pelvis and spine growth. Several sources express concern that carriers which put all of a baby's weight on a narrow band of fabric at the crotch may cause problems with spinal growth, and advocate carriers which disperse most of the infant's weight between the hips and thighs. There is much debate on this in the babywearing community since there has not been sufficient research to show that this could be an issue for babies who do not already have a hip or spine condition which would require special consideration.

In general, when wearing a baby it is important to stay attentive to the baby's interaction with the environment. Parents need a little more space to turn around to avoid bumping the baby into counters and doorways. Babies on the back may be able to reach things that the wearer cannot see. Carriers must be fit snugly and properly to avoid an active baby wiggling out, and it is generally recommended with most carriers to avoid wearing an uncooperative child on the back. Babywearing can improve safety, especially in crowded areas such as airports, by keeping a child who might otherwise be able to run into a crowd safely attached to the parent. I cannot agree more with this especially now that Arthur wants to "walk, walk" everywhere we go... usually, I'd let him walk for a while (I cannot just keep him in the sling all day.. gotta let him practice walking)... keeping close guard all the time.. then, pop him back into the sling when the place starts to get crowded. Indeed, the best and most useful time of the pouch sling is during toddlerhood.. just when they 'discovered' they've got legs and wouldn't want to sit still in the stroller. Instead of dragging the stroller along and chasing after a baby who keeps wiggling out of their stoller.. just wear your sling and pop the toddler in and out when need arises.

A parent who trips and falls while wearing a baby is often better able to "catch" themself and is less likely to injure themself, avoiding dropping the child and less likely to drop the child at all.

Where young infants and newborns are being worn in "cradle" or other horizontal positions, it is important to be alert to the baby's head position to avoid the baby's head being pushed chin-to-chest and constricting airway. In pouches and other carriers intended for use with the "cradle hold", a towel or small pillow may be placed under the baby's back to improve positioning. One must make sure that all worn babies have good color and are able to breathe easily, and avoid overdressing worn babies, who will stay warm just from being in contact with the parent in most cases. Parents must avoid putting blankets or other fabric in the vicinity of a child's face in or out of a carrier.

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