baby carrierWhen it comes to raising my babies, I thought I had appropriately worried about pretty much every little thing I could possibly be doing to screw them up. Here's one I somehow missed along the way. According to at least one expert, if you place your baby so that he faces forward in either a baby carrier or a stroller, you're pretty much scarring him for life.

Catherine Fowler, an Australian professor of child and family health nursing, says doing so scares children and turns them into anxious adults. She has harsh words about parents who do such an unthinkable thing too.

Fowler told the Daily Mail:

Imagine if you were strapped to someone’s chest with your legs and arms flailing, heading with no control into a busy shopping centre -- it would be terrifying. Outward-facing baby carriers and prams give babies a bombardment of stimulus, creating a very stressful situation. In not considering our baby’s perspective, we are inadvertently quite cruel to children.

Cruel? Wow, and here I thought they loved seeing the sights instead of just staring at me. I thought it was good for them, but Fowler seems to think they may need therapy someday. Another previous study found babies may suffer "trauma" from such experiences. That seems a little extreme, don't you think?

It's not just newborns they're talking about either. Fowler thinks kids up to age 1 should be kept facing their parent, which doesn't sound fun for anyone. Others just hate the carriers (dubbed crotch danglers by some) and strollers altogether no matter which way a kid faces and condemn their use ubiquitously. Fine for them, but there's no way I would have made it this far if I didn't have both, so let's concentrate on the proper way to use them, and save that argument for another time.

I can see how facing forward may be a problem if your child was in a carrier or stroller for long periods of time each and every day, but that in itself seems like the real problem in those cases. Even then, it would seem most parents would be able to tell their kid wasn't happy. If a kid seems happy facing forward, I personally don't see any harm ... but I guess I'll have to see how my kids turn out in 16 years or so to know for sure.

Do you put your baby in the forward-facing position? What do you think about "evidence" that says it's harmful to babies?


Image via abbybatchelder/Flickr