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Baby Slings

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There’s a great piece in the New York Times today about the growing popularity of baby slings. Parents are reportedly ditching their strollers and taking to “wearing” their kids.
For me, the Baby Bjorn didn’t work as the kids got heavier, and I could never quite figure the sling thing out. Even though a friend sent me a detailed letter and a photograph of herself wearing a sling, I just couldn’t get it. I would have been lost without my stroller. Or strollers.
The sling thing, if I had been able to figure it out, would have been great. But there is a caveat to this. Just this week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that it is issuing a warning about certain types of slings. From the NYT:
But as carriers have grown more popular, their safety has been questioned, with particular alarm about bag-style slings, which have contributed to the suffocation deaths of several infants. On Tuesday, Inez M. Tenenbaum, the head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, announced a forthcoming warning about slings, saying that “we know now the hazard scenarios for very small babies” carried in them. Many specialty stores, like Metro Minis, do not sell bag-style slings whose safety has been challenged, and instructs buyers to position babies in any sling upright and tight against the caregiver.
In 2007, the Infantino sling was recalled because the straps were breaking and babies were falling out of the slings. Read this.



2 Responses to “Baby Slings”

I find that story (like a lot of profiles of “new” ways of parenting) to be rather breathless. Yeah, we use slings, we use strollers, we use whatever it takes to be able to leave the house and grab some groceries. If you’re obsessing about your $540 sling OR your $990 stroller OR your $3000 Birkin bag, perhaps the full import of mothering hasn’t hit you yet. :) I was actually interviewd by our local news about the CPSC warning. http://www.nbclosangeles.com/station/as-seen-on/Baby-slings-are-a-Must-Have-for-New-Moms-but-Can-the-Harm-Your-Baby-87183752.html if you’d like to get my take, although they edited out the more colourful bits!

I just hope these reports don’t get distilled into “strollers are safe and carrying your baby isn’t.” I never had a bag or pouch sling, and I wore my ring sling only infrequently. But I really loved a stretchy wrap, with my baby upright against my chest, and later a mei tai and an Ergo, again upright in all cases. It was all comfortable and safe. There have been plenty of reports of injury and death due to those plastic carrier infant car seats, and no one’s suggesting the ban of those. Well, except me.
In case I come across as unreasonable, I use a stroller as well. But when my baby was younger and never wanted to be put down for an instant, babywearing was a life saver!

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