Sunday, March 14, 2010

Word gets out on dangerous Duffle-carriers for babies

The word was going around in baby wearing circles, a national channel will broadcast a news clip warning parents on the dangers of bag slings. The widest most common heard response was “finally!”

Many of us are breathing a sigh of relief that the national TV Channel has taken the burden of approaching parents using bag-slings (or duffle-carrier, as the community is calling them) tactfully and advising them against continued use. This is something we have all fretted over and sought advice regarding and have tried to be very sensitive when approaching parents either using them or looking into buying them.

Today at Target, I saw the Eddie Baur sling-to-hip carrier displayed in the aisles and though the hip position looked like it was safe enough, but the way the carrier was used as a sling was definitely not. Yes, the drawing on the back makes it seems like safe positioning is possible, but you know what, there is a reason there is a drawing used and not actual mom and baby modeling proper position, because it is just NOT possible to get one for more than a few minutes. Even when learning ring slings, I was not able to keep infant Monster from turing into a dangerous position without a series of tugs and tightening. With these duffle carriers, there is NO WAY to adjust the thing!

Rule of thumb when it comes to baby wearing: You need to be able to see the baby ALL THE TIME! Anything that has a drawstring on the top rail of the sling is a no-go. I was surprised to see some Dr. Sears slings have this structure and even though I love Dr. Sears and his philosophy, I cannot back this product.

When demonstrating newborn wrapping, I teach moms how to maintain the natural curvature of the baby’s spine supported by the tension in the cloth covering the baby’s back. At the same time, keeping the neck held up and the head turned to the side supported by the mother’s chest (the slope that occurs between collar bones and the top of the breasts). This natural slope is the best support for a newborn’s head, and you must have noticed so as well how your baby just tucks his head under your neck when held in arms. This position is optimum for normal breathing flow. To recreate how breathing flow can be restricted, try laying on bed with three pillows right at the base of your skull, forcing you to tuck your head. With a newborn's undeveloped larynx, this position can cut off breathing, and with the baby so far away from you and covered from sight because of the drawstring design, that is not the position you want to leave your child in.

Keep the necks straight, heads at kissing-level and let’s keep our babies safe.

Examples of bag slings currently found in stores:

Eddie Baur Infant Sling

Infantino Sling Rider

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