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Baby-Wearing Is Safe!

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This mom of two says to claim that ALL baby slings are dangerous because of a few isolated incidents is one-sided and unfair.

baby Sling

Natasha Stanton: I have been making baby slings for my company "Rockin' Baby Sling" for almost eight years.

When I read an article about an upcoming baby-sling safety warning, I felt it was super extreme and really one-sided. With everything -- like cribs, strollers and slings -- you have to educate yourself as a parent about the safe way to use it.

Every one of our slings comes with safety warnings, and they are also posted on our website. In big, bold red letters, we say:

Be careful not to allow your newborn's chin to rest on his or her chest, as it can restrict breathing. Make sure your newborn baby is laying flat in the sling or pouch, or put a small pillow or folded receiving blanket under baby's neck to keep chin off chest.

Before using a baby sling, you have to educate yourself on how to use a sling and how to place your baby in it properly.

If you use a sling correctly, it is 100 percent safe. Saying all baby slings are unsafe because of a few tragic incidents is so unfair.

My business partner Lisa and I encountered this type of attitude a lot in the beginning when people didn't know about baby-wearing. People gradually became more educated. The Dr. Sears books advocate baby-wearing, and he's a great proponent. There are other ways to carry your baby than by pushing her in a stroller away from you!

Thousands and thousands of babies have been worn safely in slings for hundreds of years. It's everywhere: Africa, Asia, Native-American cultures. We are not the first culture to embrace baby-wearing. In fact, we were one of the last to get on board, because we love our gadgets so much here.

But there are so many benefits to wearing your baby. You can be relaxed knowing baby is with you, you can feed on demand and you can go through your day wearing your baby.

Happy babies make for smart babies, because they're more able to absorb their surroundings. I just love seeing a baby smiling in a sling as Mom walks down the street. It is so different from the expression a child has when she's in a stroller. There's a comfort level there. They can hear your heartbeat, and they can smell you. They feel safe.

How I got acquainted with baby slings is simple: Someone gave me one and raved about it. It took me forever to figure it out, but once I did, I loved it. Both my kids were really calm when they were on me. It was kind of a no-brainer: If it made them calm, I was all for it!

Even though I loved my first sling, it was hideous and padded. I said, "I'm too vain. It's not me!"

I come from a costume background. I had a bunch of fabric, so I made some slings. People started asking me if I could make one for them. That's how this all started -- and it's blossomed into the company it is today. Our Rockin' Baby Slings and Pouches are now worn by celeb moms like Angelina Jolie, Gwen Stefani and Brooke Burke.

We have never had any safety complaints about any of our products. We're super sticklers about quality: If the fabric on a customer's sling is torn or fraying, we replace it immediately. Our rings are not welded -- it's one solid piece of metal. We are so super vigilant about safety because we're carrying our kids in these slings, too. They had to be the safest things we could make.

I definitely feel for the families of the infants who have died. But when a baby tragically dies in a crib, we don't say "all cribs are dangerous" and stop using them.

These tragedies don't happen all the time. Moms just need to educate themselves. Always read your safety manuals before using a baby sling, but continue to enjoy wearing your baby. There's nothing better!

Check out our safety guidelines for baby slings here.


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25 comments so far | Post a comment now
Renee March 11, 2010, 12:46 PM

While I think it is wonderful you are so passionate about baby wearing I found one part of your article insulting. When you mention the look on a child’s face when s/he is in stroller it makes it seem as if all children in strollers are lonely, unhappy, and miserable. Both of my children loved being in their strollers and they also knew I was near as I talked to them. When they were younger they faced toward me and as they got older they faced away, but could look back at me or I would bend around to them.
Just as you do not want all baby slings to be judged, please do not judge the decision to place baby in a stroller. I just hope all babies are safe and loved no matter how they are transported!

Joline March 11, 2010, 1:21 PM

Renee, I do not think she is saying to never use strollers but she is saying in her opinion babies are happier in slings. That is her opinion and she is entitled to it. I am happy to hear what she has to say about slings because I have been hearing about the warnings. It’s nice to hear the other side, that they are safe when used correctly. Reminds me of when a few kids got their fingers cut off in strollers and then there was the huge stroller recall. I didn’t stop using my stroller then and I won’t stop using my sling now. I won’t give into the fear that the media tries to make us feel. We all just have to do what is right for us as moms. Thanks for the information.

tennmom March 11, 2010, 1:30 PM

Of course this was in 1998 & may be deamed unsafe now, but I used a carrier that had a strap around my body, baby faced forward until old enough to hold their head up & could safely face forward. My first daughter loved that thing. For the first several months of her life she almost insisted to be on the move (me, the husband or a grandparent on the move, ha)if she wasn’t eating or sleeping. We always “cradled” her to our chests with our arms, though, just in case. There’s no telling how many miles we all walked while wearing that thing.
My younger daughter hated it. She liked to be nursed, burped, cuddled, then wanted to be put the heck down, in her bouncy seat or swing so she could check out “her world” on her terms.
As long as it is safe & baby likes it, go for it.

me March 11, 2010, 8:17 PM

I am a sling wear-er and only got my first when my child was 6mos+, so I didn’t know about the chin on the chest thing— now, expecting my second, I will be viligent about that— thanks so much for that info!!!

rachel March 12, 2010, 8:05 AM

hey this artical has a lot of very important info on how you should transport your baby, and also i agree wit renee in that all babies should safe and loved no matter how they are transported!

LauraP March 14, 2010, 9:17 AM

This article has some things in it that make no sense to me.

“If you use a sling correctly, it is 100 percent safe.”

Absolutely nothing is 100% safe. The safest thing in the world is not 100% safe. When someone makes a comment like this, I realize they do not understand that safety is a question of benefit vs. risk.

“But when a baby tragically dies in a crib, we don’t say “all cribs are dangerous” and stop using them.”

However, cribs are regulated, and cribs often are recalled when there is an injury. (There does not even have to be a death for this to happen.) They try to find out why something bad might have occurred and try to fix it. This seems to be what they are trying to do with the sling - identify a problem so maybe someone can come up with a solution. And since slings are not regulated like cribs, they do not have to be recalled.

“Thousands and thousands of babies have been worn safely in slings for hundreds of years.”

Just because something has been around for hundreds of years does not make it safe. Usually it is the opposite. We have much higher expectations of safety today than we did in the past. (We used to not have seatbelts in cars, but I don’t think this is a good idea, based on what we know today.

I also thought the “slings are better than strollers” thing is a little silly. Each kid is different, and may prefer different things.

I have nothing against slings, but these kinds of arguments drive me nuts. You want something to be 100% safe, yet you get angry when an agency tells you something you like is not safe.

babyhawk oh snap April 6, 2010, 2:12 AM

You need to use a little common sense when handling strollers, baby chairs and slings and if you know the way then there sure is no problem.

KK April 18, 2010, 8:37 AM

Another item to keep in mind is the fabric that is used to made the baby sling. Try to stick with those that are made with organic fabrics. I believe Rockin’ Baby slings have a number of options that are made with organic fabrics.

Organic fabrics will help you avoid putting your little one in contact with poisonous chemicals and pesticidse that are often found in non-organic fabrics. Especially when they are infants, their skin is very thin…so you need to do your best to protect them from such contaminants

If you are looking for a organic baby carrier, I suggest you google around or there is a site I stumbled upon that has a number of options, www.organicbabycarriers.net. Cheers!

Natasha May 12, 2010, 1:56 PM

Hi all, I was interviewed for this article and I want to make a couple additional comments. I apologize if I sounded one sided to anyone about the use of strollers, in no way do I want to come across judgmental! I have used strollers and it is completely up to the situation and the child. I was trying to make a point about how happy babies are when they are carried in slings and other carriers, even in just plain old mom or dad arms! The other thing I would like to address is the 100% safe comment. LauraP you are absolutely correct nothing is 100% safe, but educating yourself in safety does greatly reduce your risks when using slings. I apologize if my wording was off putting, what can I say I was interviewed the day the warning was announced and I was a bit hot, yikes! Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments, I am always open to feedback.
Thanks so much,
Natasha
info@rockinbabysling.com

PatriciaGA July 6, 2010, 5:18 PM

I’ve just found this site www.free-baby-bjorn.com, can I really get a baby bjorn for free?.

Patricia

MaryNO December 9, 2010, 5:31 PM

Hi there, Just saying hi to the forum.

Mary

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