Tuesday, October 5, 2010

#Babywearing Safety: It's about Education not Recalls

I have mentioned, at least once, that there needs to be some personal responsibility on parents and caregivers who do not use products correctly or for their intended use. I may have said something like you cannot recall common sense. However that is exactly what the CPSC is trying to do.

It's one thing to recall an item that is clearly dangerous to babies (i.e. bag slings, collapsing cribs) it's a completely different matter to go after products that are safe because tragedy occurred when used improperly. Hundreds, thousands, dare I say millions of people use products improperly daily. There is no call to recall belts so they can't be used to beat children with. There is no outrage to pull JetSki's off the market when JackA$$ makes a movie using them in pools. Common sense was used, the product isn't dangerous, the person using it is.

Slings, Wraps, babywearing is not dangerous.

From the BCIA"Truly, it [babywearing] does not require special skill. There is no "if done properly." We are working to ensure that babies are kept safe all the time, and babies in slings are safe. They are in the safest space besides a mother's arms.

"That said, we will continue to educated [sic] the public about best practice -- correct positioning, and also keeping the baby's face visible to mother or caregiver in the first three months of life."

My Babywearing story:

I was one of the first of my local friends and family to have a baby. I did what all the books and magazines told me to do, with some input from my mom (who for the record had not had a baby in 25years). I registered for a travel system and a Bjorn, because everyone told me I had to have a Bjorn. I also registered for an Ultimate Baby Wrap because it looked cool. I knew nothing of babywearing, I didn't even know it had a name. I just figured that it would make going on hikes easier and we liked hiking.  

I had no idea how much I would come to rely on that Bjorn to not completely lose my mind. 

{ This Might be my favorite babywearing picture ever, #1, 3mo old, in Bjorn }

I suffered from many confusing and irrational thoughts during those first few, very hard, months. Wearing my baby literally saved me and him. If I was wearing him I wasn't consumed with or worried by thoughts of his stroller rolling into the street, or someone grabbing it and running away. When I wore him, he was calm, not screaming, and happy. When he wouldn't sleep and my nerves were frayed and I thought I was going to die wearing him saved us. I could put him on, go for a walk and guarantee a nap, and some peace. I firmly believe that wearing him kept me from going even deeper into the darkness of PPD.

{ Number 2, I have hundreds with her like this }

When I was pregnant with number two I had learned a thing or two about babywearing. I had started reading Steph, and I had met many other moms who wore their babies. I also had one in preschool and there was no way, I Was going to lug that 30lb carrier in and out of his preschool for a 5 minute drop-off. I got a Hotsling and I was in love.She went everywhere in this thing. It made nursing her in public a breeze, we nursed everywhere, the store, the beach, even during mass and no one was the wiser. I can count on my hand the number of times she was in the stroller. She didn't like it and she would not sleep in it. My travel system has been collecting dust since I got my sling. I used it until she outgrew it:

{ 2.5 yrs and still being worn! She was only 20lb FWIW}

For us, babywearing made sense.  There were hundreds of times either me or my husband were left pushing an empty stroller because our children wanted to be carried. It only made sense to stop bringing a stroller and invest in some good carriers. I prefer the slings, my husband the conventional Bjorns and Backpacks Carriers.

The more I have learned about babywearing, the more I love it. I am excitingly thinking about carrying my new baby. Trying to decide if I should give wraps another try (I didn't like how stretchy the Ultimate Wrap was) or if I should try an Ergo or Mei Tai. I can't imagine a better way to bond with a new baby, especially when there are two other "babies" running around, than to have them in my arms. 

{ Last month, still being worn, thanks to good friends lending a hand* } 

Babywearing is natural.

Babywearing is safe.

We need to educate parents on how to do it right, not have recall, after recall, scaring them. 

The CPSC puts out education material all the time, I know, I get the emails. There is one every winter with how to buy safe toys. There have been ones on lead and safe cribs. Just last month they put out education materials on sleep positioners and fastening furniture (such as TVs) to walls. Why not instead of recalls, they try education. Steph and Hyacynth have already done the work for them, why not publish their pieces?


Is it really better to scare parents?

Scare tactics won't work with me. I know my baby is safe in my arms, and I will continue to wear them.

* While writing this post my little one (now 3.5) came up and said: "Mommy, that's me! When will you carry me in that (Hotsling) again?" I said, your too big honey, we'll use that one on the baby. "Well what about that one on our back (pictured above) I liked being able to rest on your back"

Babywearing support from the mouths of babes. And an apparent vote for getting a Mei Tai carrier so she can still be carried too!

I'm linking this post up with BCIA Facebook page and Adventures in Babywearing's Call to Action


hairyshoefairy said...

Love it. I'm a huge fan of babywearing. The next time I have a baby I plan to buy an ergo. I'm still surprised how many women have no idea about babywearing. Many complete strangers have approached me while I'm out and about to ask about whatever I'm using, whether it's my hotsling or moby wrap or whatever. I'm happy to see more women showing interest in it. Not to mention how much easier it is than hauling around that dumb carseat carrier that's usually empty anyway because they baby just wants to be held. Hear, hear on the more education instead of recalls idea. I will not be scared out of using something just because somebody used it incorrectly.

Tristina said...

Fabulous post. I can't count the number of times I've been stopped so folks can ask me where I bought my wrap. Then that leads to "Is it hard to use?" and a host of other questions! I just hope at least one of those couples went out and bought one and now love it as much as we all do!

Stephanie Wilson she/her @babysteph said...

Oh, that first photo!!!!!!

Also, you are beautiful.


Shell said...

It drives me crazy when things are recalled b/c of people's misuse- nothing wrong with the product. I remember when the bumbo seats were recalled so that they could make the warning bigger on them not to use them on higher surfaces. There already was a warning on them and common sense said not to put them up on a table, but they recalled b/c people weren't paying attention.

I loved to wear my babies. I really wanted an ergo. I ended up making a sling for my third- just a big long piece of fabric that could be tied in different ways.

Rebecca said...

Isn't babywearing beautiful? Sunday, I could wear my tired and ready-to-go home little one when we needed to stay longer at church. I wrapped her in our silk sling and sat down at the piano. She fell asleep to Mama's playing, held secure . . .