Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Babywearing and a Bathtub

Tonight, a "guest blogger" steps in to give us his opinion on babywearing. This "guest," my very patient and loving husband, and father to our four children.

I've re
cently read some articles commenting on the safety of baby carriers. Some articles represent sides clearly against the idea, citing a few mishaps at the cost of a baby's life. While the loss of ANY baby is tragic, what is just as tragic is the interpretation of information (or misinterpretation) leading to unfounded panic and ignorant opinions about the safety of baby carriers.

We've all heard the baby carriers by many different names: slings, wraps, pouches, bags, and on and on. Somehow, the negativity in the articles regarding safety use the term "slings" as synonymous with baby carriers that are compromising, giving the specific Sling a bad rap. I'd like to put in my two cents as a father who was very hesitant about babywearing from the get go.

My wife got into the idea years ago and has become a guru. She chastises me when I don't use the carriers with our children as often as she does, suggesting that I am bad PR. Well, I just take longer than most to adopt a better idea. I will admit that they were awkward for me at the start, but I have tried several different styles, finding my sweet spot with the right carrier and position. I have to say, my favorite and most comfortable to me, is a traditional sling (only one made with the very comfortable and patented shoulder by BabySoSmart.com). It is my favorite because I know how to use it and it works for me. I feel safe with my child in it, though it took some coaching to get me to that comfort level.

Now, back to my point about the safety of slings. Slings are as safe as the person operating them. I would like to make a parallel to a bathtub. More children die by drowning in a bathtub than die from being smothered in a baby carrier. There aren't these freak articles on CNN citing the recall of ALL bathtubs because a parent used poor parenting techniques with the tub. Authorities or ignoramuses don't throw up banners calling for the boycott of bathing a child. You don't stop bathing a child just because a parent neglected their kid. Bathtubs and bathing a child are more dangerous than carrying a baby in a baby carrier. All water can drown a baby, and all cloth can smother a child. I have to say that my wife is safer with ALL her baby carriers than I am at bathing our children. Let me say that a different way; I would sooner trust my wife with your child in a baby carrier than I would trust you to bath my child. Babywearing is like bathing a child; it requires prudent parenting techniques and education. That's right, education. I wouldn't know about not leaving my child unattended in the bathtub if someone hadn't pointed it out to me at some point along the line, despite it being common sense (and I even need reminding, to this day, four children later, as success breeds complacency). Even with a two-year-old, who can sit up in a small amount of water; I'm tempted to walk away with them in the tub sometimes, even just for a minute. And I know from education, that babywearing is just as critical to a baby's health as a simple bath. I'm not going to stop babywearing no matter what people say or recommend based on safety (I'm just going to be smarter about it). So, the next time someone wants to knock all babywearing and all baby carriers for their safety, tell them to stop giving their kid a bath.


sheri said...

I love your analogy with the bathtub! Unfortunately, I am afraid that will not be the message that makes it to the mainstream. We shall all try though, because babywearing is too important & beneficial. It was great to read a babywearing article from a father too!

Amber said...

I agree!! And it's common sense that Most of America seems to be lacking these days!!