What is the Safest Type of Carrier for Your Baby?

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 which may accelerate wear and tear 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. 

How to tie a Square Knot

Posted on July 6, 2017 and filed under Development & Safety.

Cervical Spine Development

If one can understand the simple process of the developing spine, that knowledge alone can help a parent support their baby when using a carrier.

A baby is born with a primary curve of the spine, and as she grows, the spine develops secondary curves to balance/distribute the weight of the body. In this blog, we will talk about the cervical spine which consists of the first seven vertebrae.

When your baby begins lifting her head, the muscles of the neck become stronger.  The strengthening of the muscles against gravity is what help develop the cervical spine. You'll know when this stage is complete when your baby can rest her forearms on the floor and hold her head up without assistance.

But before completion of this stage, it is of particular importance to ensure that you support your baby's head.

To carry your baby most comfortably and safely, wear your baby facing you, vertically, a baby should never be curled so their chin is forced onto their chest as this can restrict their breathing, her head should be  resting in your heart and her chin off her chest.  It is a sure way to know her airway is open. Although some suggest using a carrier in the cradle position (the manner in which to breastfeed a baby),  it is not the safest way to carry your child.   The cradle position may restrict airflow because it puts a baby in a situation where their chin is close to their chest.  To understand what I mean, do the same.  Bring your chin to touch your chest. 
 Do you see how it restricts your airflow?  The good thing is we can lift our heads up to breathe effortlessly, but a newborn cannot.   Also, this position does not support hip development. 

Vertical positioning not only offers your baby a safer option but it requires your baby to balance his head against gravity which strengthens the neck muscles required for sitting. Vertical positioning also helps with the stimulation of the vestibular system, the system responsible for balance, proprioception, coordination, muscle tone and more.

 

Two day old Liam in  Helina Baby Carrier

Supportive Babywearing

hip health

 Do you see the similarity in the leg position of these two babies? The baby on the right is wearing Pavlik Harness - a medical device used to treat Hip Dysplasia. Hip Dysplasia is an abnormal formation of the hip socket. To heal the hip joint, the Pavlik Harness is worn by the baby for approx 6-12 weeks full-time and the success rate is quite high. The Pavlik Harness allows the femur (thigh bone) to align with the hip joint and it keeps the joint secure. Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense to carry a baby in this healing position all of the time?

Posted on November 13, 2016 and filed under Development & Safety, Babywearing, Parenting.

The Fetal Tuck

Fetal Tuck

This naturally flexed position of a newborn baby is called the fetal tuck. This position reduces pressure on an infant's hips and spine and is naturally calming to your child. To promote your baby's development, allow much of her time to be spent in the fetal tuck position. To aid you with this, use a supportive baby carrier or, simply hold your baby in your arms connecting your heart to hers.

Back Carrying a Toddler through India

From conversations I've had with parents of toddlers, many view babywearing as applicable ONLY for babies, but little do they know that during the walking stage, a carrier may be their best friend. Initially, we use a carrier to bond with our babies and to give them a home on our bodies to grow. Carrying our children also allows us to take care of ourselves, do tasks in the household, or attend to our other children's needs. However, when our babies become toddlers, their curious nature and their quick little steps keep us constantly chasing after them, so we need to keep them safe.  At this stage, a carrier is very helpful.

When my daughter was two and a half, I decided to venture to India. Traveling alone was not easy for me because I had a lot of of weight to carry while moving around. . However, wearing my daughter on my back and not having to think about her whereabouts kept my sanity. I just had to endure the trying times, and I tell you, strength training saved me. However, my greatest feat was carrying my toddler while climbing 600 steps to reach the top of the Monkey Temple.  I wanted to meditate on the sunrise and get a bird's eye view of my beautiful surroundings.  So after climbing for 30 minutes, we arrived in time for the 6:00 a.m. sunrise.  It was breathtaking to witness the magnificence that surrounded us.  Filled with beautiful green rice fields and huge boulders, Hampi, Karnataka, holds a deep, peaceful energy and a special place in my heart.

Back then I had not developed the Helina Baby Carrier, nor was it even a concept in my mind. But the experience of carrying my daughter has inspired me to create the baby carrier.

If I never had a carrier or dismissed babywearing as only for babies, my trip to India would not have been so adventurous. Not only did it allow me to discover India with my little girl but using a carrier made life more convenient for me especially when she fell asleep or did not feel well.

If you are considering traveling with your young one(s), or a toddler who may be perfectly capable of walking on his or her own, bring a carrier. You won't regret it.