Monday, October 04, 2010

Tarring babywearing with a broad brush?

It's recently come to my attention that the CPSC may be using scare tactics and bullying to go after a reputable manufacturer of baby slings.

There was a VALID recall of a certain type of padded "bag" sling, which is NOT safe. I completely agree with this recall; the slings in question did not allow proper positioning of the infant's head (chin should not hit chest), proper airflow, or freedom of movement for the infant to reposition to a safer position if necessary, nor did they allow parents to easily check on baby.

This does not mean that babywearing by other methods-- front or back carriers such as Mei Tais and Ergos, wraps such as Moby Wraps, ring slings (such as Maya Wraps) or pouch slings such as Hotslings, and many others (when properly fitted for the mother/caregiver and properly used with baby) are not safe. It means they should be used properly, and any incidents investigated. The CPSC stepping in to bully without logic or science on their side is tarring all these products with the same brush as one unsafe product-- which could be a detriment to the health of many a baby.

Not only does babywearing promote bonding, help soothe refluxers (when worn upright), allow mom to get work done, it also helps prevent SIDS and positional plagiocephaly. Babies who are left to sleep in a car seat or swing or EVEN A CRIB are at much higher risk for SIDS and other methods of death than babies who are worn in a properly used and fitted carrier, wrap, or sling. Wearing baby allows parent or caregiver to constantly be aware of baby's breathing, sleep pattern, etc. Positional plagiocephaly (flattening of the head due to lying in one position for too long) has been on the rise since the "Back to Sleep" came in, coinciding with the use of multiple baby "devices" in most homes. Babies should be out of "devices" such as swings, infant seats, and bouncers as much as possible; time in them should be limited, and one way to keep baby happy while limiting time in these devices is to wear baby! I modeled a while back for a "do's and don't's" slide presentation for my mom's colleague (she works in craniofacial)-- and one of the "do's" was showing me wearing baby in a sling! Wearing baby can also promote emotional and language development, as babies worn close to mom (or dad, or caregiver) are more likely to be talked and sung to, and feel comfortable and safe.

I urge those of you who would like to read more on what's going on to check out the thread here with more information on what's going on, and what you can do about it.

Babywearing is important, for the health and well-being of babies, and the sanity of parents. The CPSC is not following their own protocols if they are bullying and harassing companies rather than following their mandate to look simply into injuries and prevent more by investigating them and potentially dangerous products. BABY WEARING IS NOT DANGEROUS when done properly. Let's stand up for it!