Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

At the 2010 International Babywearing Conference in Rigby, Idaho

Mandy and I went to Rigby, Idaho, June 8-12 for the 2010 International Babywearing Conference. We learned a lot and met a lot of interesting and inspirational babywearers. (And we came back with a lot of swag to share with our members!)

Here are some posts from around the web to give you a taste of the conference as well as some of the important information shared:

Inspirational post by a babywearing dad who got help at the conference. What does babywearing mean for parents and their children? Why do we volunteer to help people with babywearing? Read this!

Article about carseats by Jan at Sleeping Baby Productions based on the all-conference session by M’Liss Stelzer. Very important information!

Traditional babywearing, and museum exhibit of traditional and modern baby carriers, from Beltway Babywearers, our sister BWI chapter in the Washington, DC, area. Lots of great pictures from the museum display!

IBC 2010 post 1 from Beltway Babywearers.

IBC 2010 post 2 from Beltway Babywearers.

Idaho Babywearers post about conference attendees trip to Yellowstone National Park. And don’t miss the immediately prior posts about the medical panel, the Dutch Oven dinner (complete with cowboy band, rodeo queens, hula hooping, and celebrity babywearers), keynote speaker Kelley Mason (who sparked a babywearing revolution in the U.S. when she founded the Kozy Carrier company) and observations about the conference and the role of babywearing as “the fabric of a global community,” the theme of the conference.

The next International Babywearing Conference will be in San Diego in 2011, and after that, the Beltway Babywearers will take it to DC for 2012.


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Here is a short video from Wrapsody about protecting your baby’s airway in a sling:

You can see more of Wrapsody’s how-to videos, including a general babywearing safety video, here.

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The following is the text of the press release from the CPSC:

Infant Deaths Prompt CPSC Warning About Sling Carriers for Babies

WASHINGTON, D.C.- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is advising parents and caregivers to be cautious when using infant slings for babies younger than four months of age. In researching incident reports from the past 20 years, CPSC identified and is investigating at least 14 deaths associated with sling-style infant carriers, including three in 2009. Twelve of the deaths involved babies younger than four months of age.


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Here is the story by the Associated Press.

There is a lot going on here. There has been some communication among babywearing advocates, Consumer Reports, and sling manufacturers. It’s encouraging that they are talking about the risk pattern rather than saying that baby slings are unsafe.

It’s seldom helpful to say “baby slings are safe” or “baby slings are not safe.” We talk about safe babywearing practices at every meeting. In almost every case, it’s how you use the baby sling that is safe or unsafe. However, some carriers, like the bag slings shown and discussed in the article, can only be used one way … a way that puts babies, particularly fragile newborns, at risk of asphyxiation. So calling them unsafe may just be completely fair.

Let’s see what the CPSC says.

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Some Action Baby Carriers are being recalled due to issues with the chest strap. There have been no injuries, and the carriers can still be used in positions that don’t involve the chest strap (for example, you can still use the carrier for a front carry with the shoulder straps crossed behind you), so there’s nothing dramatic to see here, but if you have an Action Baby Carrier, you’ll want to check on this to see if you have one of the approximately 250 affected carriers, which were sold in June. Click here for the CPSC’s recall notice. This is a voluntary recall initiated by the manufacturer, Optave, Inc., after it received two reports of the affected chest straps detaching from the shoulder straps.

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Doggone it, I forgot to take my camera. But our family went for a lovely, easy hike today on the Boulder Canyon nature trail in Vestavia Hills, and I wanted to share that this family-friendly trail is suitable for babywearing. 🙂 We weren’t actually babywearing … our 28-month-old, 35-pound boy handled the trail fine by himself, as did I, his 40-year-old, 33-week pregnant mom. From that information, however, I deduce that most babywearing families could handle this well-kept trail just fine.

When going on a babywearing hike, we choose easy trails, and mostly short ones. Other families are more ambitious. Even for our style of hiking, which is more of a stroll in the woods, there are still a few things to keep in mind for safety and comfort. My rule number one is to wear hiking shoes; they make a difference for me. I’ve done some hikes in running shoes, and they had decent traction, but my toes were not happy with me after a short while. In any event, sturdy shoes are a must, especially if you’re carrying a baby. (more…)

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With the recent Beco and Ellaroo recalls, sling safety has been on my mind and the minds of many babywearers.  At Magic City Slingers meetings, and in our internet presence as well, we try to promote safe babywearing practices.  For example, we try to raise awareness about positioning newborns so that their airways remain open and unobstructed.  Now is a good time to think about what makes a particular sling more or less risky than another sling.

I think it’s helpful to think of babywearing as a skill rather than as a function of a particular baby carrier.  There are lots of parenting skills … diapering, burping, feeding, bathing … pretty much everything you do with a baby involves skill, so it’s no stretch to think of babywearing as another baby-care skill.  Thinking of it this way, to me, helps remind us that we as caregivers are the most important factor in babywearing — not the sling, which is just a tool.  Nevertheless, slings are essential tools, and we need them to work properly.  So on with some nuts-and-bolts comments about sling safety. (more…)

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