Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Infantino Slingrider Recalled

A couple of weeks ago we posted about the CPSC warning on slings.  In that post we discussed the dangers of "bag style" slings like the Infantino Slingrider.  At the time, Infantino continued to maintain that the Slingrider was safe despite the research and evidence of deaths attributed to positional asphyxia in the Slingrider in particular.  We are happy to report that today the CPSC has issued a recall of the Slingrider and the Infantino made Wendy Bellisimo bag sling.  We hope this will encourage other makers of similar style baby duffles to remove them from the market.  

Any carrier that places a newborn or infant in an unnatural position for carrying in arms is not a safe choice.  Any carrier that forces baby to have her chin to her chest is unsafe.  If you are unsure if your carrier is safe, please seek help from a babywearing educator.

If you are looking for safe, comfortable choices for wearing your infant or toddler, attend a Babywearing International of DC/MD/VA meeting, skilled babywearers will be able to help you try carriers and learn safe positioning.  We look forward to helping you become a safe babywearer.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Just what does one DO at a Babywearing Meeting?

This is a question I hear often.  How do you meet about babywearing?  Well, let me give you an overview of what you might do at a meeting:

1. Learn about carrier types
Confused about what type of carrier would work best for you?  Not sure what makes a pouch or ring sling different from a mei tai or soft structured carrier.  Confused how wraps work?  Wonder which style will be best for spring hikes, or which will look nice at your cousin's June wedding?  We have examples and can help you choose a style that works with your needs.  You can also make use of our extensive library to try carriers and determine which one  (or two, or three, or ten - okay, some of MAY have a FEW too many carriers, but don't tell our husbands) is right for you.

2. Learn how to wear a newborn, infant, or toddler safely and comfortably
Babywearing is a skill, and like all skills, it requires instruction and practice.  Since it is a skill involving your baby, it really isn't one that should be left up to trial and error.  While pressing the wrong keys on your first computer might cause you to wipe the hard drive, incorrect babywearing could lead to injury for your little one.  Hands on help is the easiest way to learn how to use carriers correctly and safely.  There are at least two Certified Volunteer Babywearing Educators at each of our meetings ready to share their knowledge and skills. 

3. Learn new carries with carriers you already use
Ready to move on to hip or back carries?  Trying to master nursing in a sling?  Need to learn to wear 2?  Now is the chance!  Babywearing meetings are a great place to troubleshoot new carries or to find a solution to a wearing problem you are having.  For example, we often have people come into their first meeting stating that they LOVE their stretchy wrap at home and wish they could use it out of the house, but it is so hard to wrap in the parking lot.  The new mommy brain is clogged with so much information that the suggestion of, "wrap before you leave the house" is often met with a lightbulb moment and mama saying, "why didn't I think of that?"  We aren't going to teach you rocket science, but we can help you get through your daily tasks more easily.

4. Make friends for yourself AND your children
Babywearing meetings are also a place where parents can just hang out and chat, about the weather, about the newest infant development ideas, and about which store sells the best tomatoes.  For new parents, often the opportunity to have a conversation with other adults about ANYTHING is worth it's weight in gold.  For your children, they can grow to have good friends that they enjoy seeing and playing with at the meetings.  Some meetings we even go to a nearby playground and let the kids loose.

5. Discover the secrets of the mom who has it all together
I'll be honest, usually the secret is that she doesn't really have it all together. But sometimes a tip or trick picked up at a babywearing meeting is the thing that has everyone in your family admiring how cleverly you handle your little one, and the big family dinner.  And often, the best thing in the world as a new parent is to realize that the other parents don't know some magic formula that they forgot to tell you about at delivery.  But if we combine our collective knowledge, we can each become a better parent.

Hopefully this overview has enticed you to attend a meeting.  We have a lot of fun, learn a lot, and make some great friends.  The moms and dads I have met through Beltway Babywearers are kind, friendly, helpful, and are always willing to laugh at me, lest I get too impressed with myself.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

CPSC Warning on Dangers of "Slings"

The CPSC has announced its intention of issuing a warning on the dangers of "slings" (does anyone else think they should just issue the warning instead of planning to issue one and letting media outlets make up the warning for themselves?).  Anyway, back to the warning... the warning comes in response to several reports of infant deaths in "bag style" slings like the Infantino SlingRider.  This carrier is worn like a cross body purse and places the baby at about the parent's waist.  The carrier has a deep body which forces baby to be in a chin to chest position.  This position should be avoided by infants in all situations because it compromises their airway.  Car seats, strollers, bouncy seats, and carriers all have the potential to put babies into this position so parents and caregivers should be vigilant in all circumstances.  The main concern with the bag sling is that it is impossible to position the baby in a way that does NOT force baby's chin to her chest.  Also because the baby is enveloped in the sling, parents cannot easily see the baby, and because the baby is so far away (near the adult's waist) a parent may not hear baby struggling for breath.
M’Liss Stelzer, a registered nurse and babywearing educator, studied these slings and contacted Infantino about them in 2006.  They did not choose to heed the warning, and babies have died.

Important safety tips for ALL carriers:
Baby should be high and tight, close enough to kiss the top of baby's head
Baby should NEVER be chin to chest (a tummy to tummy carry makes this easier to accomplish)
If you hear grunting or sighing with each breath, remove baby from the carrier and reposition
You should monitor baby frequently to make sure she has not pressed her face into your clothing or body
For more information and some wonderful illustrations, see this page.

To learn more about proper positioning in carriers, attend a free babywearing meeting with Beltway Babywearers.

Posted by: Ann Marie

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Oh the Places You'll Go!

Now that I have two kids I find I am always off to some place for a little bit of family fun. Sometimes, this fun is made better with babywearing! Here are a few places we have been that have been cooler with our carriers.

The zoo
Sure, they say it’s made for kids, but what kids can see anything at the zoo from their height or by sitting in a stroller. There are great big walls, which thankfully keep us separated from the animals, but keep my kids from seeing anything. Even my oldest needs a higher vantage point. Plus, it can get a little crazy when everyone is crowding around one spot to see the baby gorilla playing with her big brother. These are times when we need our babies up high and safe with us. I also really enjoy having a child on my hip or back so we can talk about what we see. I can never hear them when they are talking to me from a stroller, but we have great interactions when we are close together.  I will admit that I sometimes bring a stroller to carry all our “stuff” (lunches, diaper bag, jackets, etc.), but the kids stay up high with us!

A Museum 
Much like the zoo, there is a lot to see that is often too high up for little people to see. Also, my little people get frightened by some of the sounds in the museum, so it is nice to be close to mom. For those of you who live in DC, you know how crowded museums can get around here. It can be impossible to maneuver a stroller and I worry about little people getting lost in the shuffle. Lastly, if you are at a nice museum that might not want sticky fingers touching their precious items, a child in a carrier will be kept away from the expensive items, but still get a great learning experience.

Why, on a tank of course!

How can you get a stroller on a tank? Or a helicopter? If you’re heading to the air show, a baby carrier is the way to go. We were up and down and on and off airplane after helicopter after humvee….well…you get the picture. It was the perfect time for a carrier. Some added pluses were that I happened to wear a fleece pouch on a freezing day when we were not dressed appropriately. At least my daughter was snuggly in her pouch. Also, a lot of children were afraid during the very loud air show, but I was able to cuddle my daughter close and even hold my hands over her ears and she was very content.

The Amusement Park
Whether it’s a little local fair or a great big trip to Disney, a carrier is a very useful item. Kids want to see it all, but may not be ready to try everything, and they may peter out after a few rides. Personally, I found my kids were getting down and getting back up to be with me a lot, so I tried to choose a carrier that I use quickly and comfortably. And don’t forget that amusement parks can be full of surprises. The one day we did bring a stroller my daughter won a 4 foot tall stuffed gorilla, which we had to put in the stroller, so you never know when you might need a carrier!

Music class
We never missed a beat after my son was born thanks to babywearing. He loved music class, after hearing it every week from the womb, so at just a few weeks old we were there dancing and singing away. With him in the baby carrier, my daughter barely noticed that her brother was there, stealing away her much wanted attention from mommy, and he slept the entire class thanks to the dancing, singing, and familiar sounds. So don’t miss anything because you have a new baby, just grab a carrier an off you go.

Last, but not least, church
Church, what? I thought this was a fun list? Well, mostly it is, but we still have to go to church each week, especially now that we are grownups setting a good example for our kids and so on and so forth. So, each week we trek off to church and hope not to be “that Mom” with the screaming kid (Don’t worry, I’ve been her quite a few times!).  You certainly won’t be strolling your child at church, so it’s either carry in the big bucket for the baby, hang on tight to the toddler, or grab a carrier. Church is a great time to snuggle, sing together, and learn patience. Plus, the kids really cannot see anything from behind all those legs. At the very least, I am able to go up and get communion with a strong hand on one child and another strapped to me.

Obviously, these are just a few places out there waiting to be conquered by babywearers. So head off to the rodeo, the Star Trek convention, the Renaissance Fair or to some Hot Air Ballooning. Just be sure to send us a picture when you return. 

Posted by Carolyn