BabyWearing Institute


Babywearing Under Attack Again

Cache Valley, Utah, September 21, 2011. Babywearing under attack again.

Jonathan Samuels wrote an article in Sky News on Monday Sept 19, 2011, an Australian newspaper, about the dangers of wearing a baby in a baby carrier. Unfortunately Samuels used fear instead of education to make a point.

Tanja Martinson, a certified babywearing educator took issue with Samuels' statement: “ While the loss of this baby was a tragedy, what bothered me most about the article were the scare tactics unnecessarily sounding the alarm against all slings.”

Beate Frome, president of the Babywearing Institute, which has been educating on safe babywearing with multiple certified educators across North America to assist parents in wearing their babies safely, says: “Some carriers and some positions are simply not safe, even though manufacturer, several organizations, and some educators continue to support and demonstrate them.”

In the article Samuels refers to the carriers as “The slings, worn over the shoulder” and “the child's mother, from Adelaide, was carrying the baby in the pouch.....” It sounds like this baby was worn in a cradle carry and the style was a pouch. Frome explains: “The cradle carry is a high risk carry and should be avoided with any age child. Especially a newborn does not have the muscle strengths to lift his little head out of the fabric in a compromised position. Babies worn in a reclined or semi reclined position are in danger of positional asphyxiation, baby's airway is kinked by baby's head slumping forward onto his little chest. A baby can suffocate within 2-5 minutes without making a sound.” Frome has studied all the incidents of baby carrier deaths in the US to understand the greatest risk factors in carrying babies.”


Martison agrees: The ideal position for a newborn is to be worn upright, chest to chest with the parent, seated in a natural spread-squat position with their feet outside the fabric. The fabric should be spread from the hollow of one knee to the hollow of the other. A newborn should not be carried in a horizontal or cradle carry which can easily force the baby into a chin-to-chest position, restrict their airway and put them at great risk of positional asphyxia and death. Positions that put the baby's legs in either a straight dangling, straight confined, hyper-flexed or overly spread position are unnatural and pose risks to the development of the hip and alignment of the developing spine.”

Statistically at least 21 out of the 25 known incidents in the USA were reported to be in the cradle carry. The Babywearing Institute strongly advises against using the cradle carry. Europe, where carrying upright has been taught for decades, reports 0 incidents of babies dying in a carrier. Carrying baby upright from day one, embraced tightly chest to chest in an anatomically correct baby carrier is by far safest. Baby's head is close to the caregivers senses and any kind of distress is noticed immediately and eliminated before it causes baby's airway to be compromised.

Martinson and Frome urge new parents to educate themselves on safe babywearing and if possible get help from a certified babywearing educator in order to get correct information on safest humanly possible babywearing.

Contact Information: Babywearing Institute. PO Box 154, Smithfield, Utah 84335. (435) 563-9253. 



Is the Consumer Product Safety Commission being educated on babywearing education? 

Cache Valley, Utah November 23, 2010, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is moving into the right direction. Babywearing Education rather than regulation!

With interest we read the CPSC news release on babywearing and safety November 19,2010. Why did we think it was well thought out and written?

The CPSC blog writer wrote :

“For many parents, babywearing promotes a positive bond between parent and child.

The key for any mom, dad, or caregiver who wears their baby is education. In the first few months of life, babies cannot control their heads because of weak neck muscles. We at CPSC want babywearers caring for infants younger than 4 months old to keep this in mind.”

The CPSC realizes that babywearing promotes a positive bond. This is the first time we read something positive about babywearing from the CPSC and it is true. Babywearing promotes a positive parenting, a happy parenting. A parenting where parents do not feel overwhelmed but rather are able to meet babies needs naturally and immediately. An all around harmonious parenting.

CPSC acknowledges education is the key. We believe that and have been instrumental in helping hundreds of parents wear their babies safely. To wear baby safely parents often need to receive a little extra education because safe Babywearing is not passed down from generation to generation as it used to be. Even many of the so called “babywearing educators” teach practices that are far from safe. Baby wrapped tight upright on your chest is best! Certified babywearing educators have put in the extra time, energy, and investment to learn all the safest practices and will assist parents wanting to form this sacred bond with their children in the safety humanly possible ways of babywearing.

Is the CPSC trying to outlaw babywearing 4 month and younger? We don't think so. Babies under 4 month of age are the most vulnerable group of humans on this earth. Babywearing puts baby in the safest place possible while being in need of extra care. Wearing baby upright wrapped tight on your chest is best. It is best because you can sense baby's needs immediately and can respond to any distress before it becomes an emergency. Baby is much less likely to have the airway kinked as it is a great risk factor in the cradle carry, called positional asphyxiation. Baby's brain is also stimulated positively being carried upright. Overall the safest babywearing practice.

The CPSC blog writer continues,

“Babywearers should place their baby’s face at or above the rim of a sling or wrap so that their face is visible.When babies are placed with their faces below the rim of a sling, they are not able to lift their heads to breathe...”

We agree. Baby should not spend time in a sling or other carrier that swallows baby up with no way to see baby or sense any distress. Keep babies face visible at all times and upright close to your senses.

Another truth from this CPSC blogger, “Every day, new babies are born and new moms, dads, and caregivers may not be aware of the safety information we’ve given before. We want all new moms and dads who choose to wear their babies to know how to keep their babies safe.”

The Babywearing Institute is instrumental in keeping babies safe. We teach babywearing the European way. Europe has had 0 incidents in the past 30 years. The USA, without proper education, had at least 14 in the past 20 years. Although not a huge number, every lost baby is devastating for the family and the babywearing world. We are committed in teaching the safest humanly possible ways to wear your baby so you and your little one can enjoy the loving bond close, secure, and safe for many years.

Beate Frome, president of the babywearing institute says: “The CPSC got this release right and we are excited to move in the right direction of babywearing education rather than regulation.”

Contact Information: Babywearing Institute. PO Box 154, Smithfield, Utah 84335. (435) 563-9253.

Babywearing is safe!

Cache Valley, Utah October 9, 2010, Babywearing is safe! Statistically baby is safest in a baby sling worn by a parent.

Babywearing is safe! For baby being close to mom or dad is by far the safest place a baby can be placed. It is not only physically safest but also emotionally, intellectually along with psychologically. Because of recent news on baby slings we will look at babies being physically safe.

Recently the Consumer Product Safety Commission started a campaign called “Safe Sleep” urging parents to keep their babies safe while sleeping. Beate Frome at the Babywearing Institute said; “We applaud the CPSC for bringing awareness of safe sleeping arrangements to the parents. We wish they would have also told parents that babyearing is the safest most secure place for baby to sleep, especially for a newborn.”

Physically wearing baby is safest. Looking at the statistics, according to Shital N. Parikh, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Cincinnati Children's Hospital medical Center found a total of 43,562 car seat-related injuries from 2003 to 2007. This excluded injuries in traffic accidents! That makes 8,712.4 injuries yearly from car seats used as hand held baby carriers alone! An average of 15 babies die every year of injuries related to accidents in car seats used outside the car.

Statistics from the American Academy of Pediatrics show children injured by shopping carts make 24,000 visits to emergency rooms each year. Head injuries are common. These type of injuries often cause life long disabilities, explains Janet Brooks, Primary Children's Medical Center child advocacy manager in Salt Lake City, in a recent article.

The danger of mainstream baby holding devices does not end here, infant swings are by far not as safe as babywearing. Between 1990 and 2000, at least two dozen babies were killed by their infant swings. That is 2.4 per year, not counting injuries that did not lead to the passing of the child.

A study recently released in Canada found about the use of car seats or swings:

A recent study attributed many cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) to the prolonged sitting /laying position these infants are in when putting the safety seats to use. When researchers reviewed more than 500 infant deaths, it was found that 17 of these deaths occurred while the infant was in a device such as a child safety seat.”

The number of crib related death averages about 50 per year. Playpen death about 16 yearly.

Who can argue that babywearing is not safe? The average death per year is 0.7 in a baby sling, the lowest number of all baby holding devices. Compared to Europe's babywearing record with 0 incidents in the past 20 years, we do believe we can do better in keeping our babies safe. What makes the difference in how safe babies are in Europe and the USA?

For one thing Europeans do not use bag style slings and discourage the cradle carry,” says Frome, “and with the re-discovery of the ancient art of babywearing decades ago, education developed right alongside. Dr. Kirkilionis along with other babywearing educators keep publishing safest babywearing practices. Certified babywearing educators are plentiful. New parents have easy access to safest babywearing education in their neighborhoods and they gladly take advantage of it.”

What can we in the USA do to emulate the European safety record? “The only way is through education and with that we will see the same safety record Europe has enjoyed for decades with 0 incidents.” Frome adds.

Contact Information: Babywearing Institute. PO Box 154, Smithfield, Utah 84335. (435) 563-9253. 


Most Baby slings and Carriers are Safe!

Cache Valley, Utah. March 22, 2010. The Babywearing Institute is taking issue with the warnings about baby sling carriers recently issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Most baby slings used correctly are safe. In the published warning of the CPSC on the use of sling carriers for infants they reported 14 deaths in the past 20 years which have been attributed to the use of baby slings. That is 0.7 per year. Compare that with 50 deaths yearly in cribs and 15 cases of suffocation resulting from car/infant seat overturn on soft surfaces, not counting positional asphyxiation in unattended children left in car seats. Beate Frome, president of the Babywearing Institute says: “We are sorry for any baby whose life was cut short by the misuse of products design to keep them safe. Unfortunately many children have died in car seats outside of cars. Do we stop using car seats? Of course not, rather we educate parents on the proper use of car seats. Baby carriers are no different. We are for education not regulation.”

Just like with any baby product, parents should educate themselves on its proper use before placing their child in it. The design of the tube or bag carrier sling in question was never favorable for children and despite many warnings from the babywearing community, some continued to be made. Reviews found on the Internet and diverse forums can assist in helping parents pick a safe and comfortable baby carrier.

Babywearing has been around for as long as people have. We understand there is a need to educate but know with the limited experience most elected government officials and lawyers have in babywearing, we might not come to a consensus on what is considered safe. African women have been carrying their children upright in a simple piece of fabric called a Kanga. There are no records of any suffocations in a Kanga.
“We want our children to be safe in a way that will also allow for the optimum development of the child's overall health. Safe Babywearing does just that. By carrying a child, all senses are stimulated. The sensory motor integration is favorable when babies are close to the babywearer's body. There are many benefits to carrying children for the child and the parents. To put out a blanket warning about baby slings and babywearing is contrary to research in this area,” Frome adds.

The Babywearing Institute is working with experts around the globe and has been instrumental in educating the public and teachers on the safe use of baby carriers. Certified Babywearing educators work with parents and store owners to make using baby carriers easier and safer.

Some safety rules for picking a baby carrier

  1. Make sure it supports the physiological correct development of your baby. A rounded back is normal in a newborn. The C shape used in the news recently should refer to the kink in the airway chin to chest, not the back.

  2. Needs to support baby's head properly.

  3. Good support for carrying baby upright to support the optimal brain development.

  4. Keep your baby's head close enough to kiss, usually your baby will be above your belly button.

  5. If nursing in a carrier monitor your baby closely and bring your baby upright after he is done actively nursing.

  6. Baby's knees should be above the baby's bum (110 degree up) and knees should be moderately spread apart (90 degree) to help the proper hip development.

  7. Baby needs to be embraced by the carrier and should not fall into it when leaning forward.

  8. The carrier also needs to allow natural movement of the baby.

  9. Needs to be individually adjustable for the baby as well as for the babywearer.

There are many baby carriers, woven wraps, ring slings, adjustable pouches, mei tais, podegies, Soft Structured Carriers, and so on, on the market that are safe to use. Frome says: “Babywearing establishes a symbiotic relationship between baby and parents, also called secure attachment, that turns live with a new baby into a harmonious dance. For parents choosing to experience their babies up close and personal by wearing their babies often, they embrace babwearing as a way of life they would not want to miss.” Frome should know, she is now safely wearing her five month old sixth child daily and says she enjoys every minute of it. She won't be looking back thinking she wishes she would have spent more time with her children, she maxes out her experience raising children through babywearing.

Contact Information: Babywearing Institute. PO Box 154, Smithfield, Utah 84335. (435) 563-9253.