If you were to read the article Common Nursery Products Send Thousands of Children to the Hospital featured in the New York Times, you would be led to believe that all baby carriers are dangerous devices prone to failure. According to the article, 19.5% of injuries requiring hospitalization were baby carrier related, and of those injuries more than half were children under 6 months of age.
These findings were collected from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. We took a look at the source directly to understand the specifics of these findings and we found a common theme among these dysfunctional products: the product failures are related to malfunctions occurring in buckles, buckle straps, aluminum rings, hinges, missing plastic pieces, and in one case, baby positioning. The most common errors are related to moving parts and systems.
If you have a buckle carrier, then it is of the utmost importance that you check the attachment systems consistently and keep the product away from sunlight and pets that may chew on the plastic. If you have a ring sling carrier ensure the rings are RoHS compliant and lead and nickel free. The best option for a baby carrier is a woven wrap carrier or a Mei Tai carrier, not to be mistaken for a stretchy wrap carrier, which is made of a t-shirt-like material and does not support a baby as well with :
-A woven wrap carrier is a single piece of cloth, about five-meters in length, which then requires a mother or father to construct the pocket to support the baby in addition to tying the support system. The learning curve for this device is fairly extensive comparatively.
-A Mei Tai carrier consists of a rectangular piece of fabric attached to three straps, two for your shoulders and one for your waist, used to securely keep the baby on the your body. Since the rectangular pocket is already created for the baby to fit into, all that is required are a few simple knots.
While it may appear more convenient to choose buckle systems, it is less safe than a woven wrap carrier or a Mei Tai carrier, and therefore requires more maintenance.
Not all baby carriers are inherently dangerous. The simplicity of a Mei Tai carrier or a woven wrap ensures that, if tied properly, the child will remain in a proper position in the carrier. There is a nonexistent, or a very small learning curve, to tying a proper knot, and once you learn it you are set for the remainder of your child’s early development. This is a tried and true system that has been used throughout the world in various cultures.
Most importantly we would like to remind of these key benefits for carrying your baby:
- When carrying /wearing your baby, the two of you move through your day together. The baby hears your voice, picks up on your emotions, and trusts you to provide safety and comfort.
- Wearing your baby provides closeness even when you can not give one hundred percent of your attention, while attending to older children, running errands or working.
- Babywearing is also best for a child's physical development. Babies need and enjoy motion, similar to being in the womb.
- Babywearing is very useful for toddlers, too. They will feel more confident when they know they can retreat to the security of the carrier if needed.