Last week's tragedy of a 5-month-old baby becoming entrapped on a luggage belt at the airport have many of us questioning the safety of baby carriers, which the child was in moments before the accident occurred. Apparently the family's stroller got caught on the belt and the mother tried to set it free, perhaps placing her foot on the conveyor belt to do so. She was wearing her infant in the carrier when she lost her footing and fell, which made the baby fall out. Within seconds the child was dead, reportedly crushed in a 10-centimeter gap where two belts converged.
Accidents happen all the time, and this one had the most devastating outcome. There are some very important safety tips when babywearing, and some we may forget because babywearing has become such a part of our everyday life. Let's take a moment to review some safety measures that could save your baby's life.
When babywearing, we have to make sure baby can breathe properly, especially in slings, and that it's the right carrier for the baby's age and weight. Also it's better for baby to face inward instead of outward. But besides those basics, there are other safety tips we need to remember.
1. No running, jumping, or jogging when baby is in the carrier. Those movements would shake your child too much, potentially even causing shaken baby syndrome.
2. Avoid bending over. Baby could slip out if you bend because your body's shape changes from when you put the carrier on in the standing position. If you must bend, do it safely, from the knees, and secure yourself when standing because you have however many pounds your baby added on.
3. Check that your carrier is secure often. You can look in a mirror or a storefront window reflection and make sure everything looks right. I often would keep one hand on my child and feel around to make sure it's secure from time to time.
4. Review your carrier before wearing. Especially if you just washed it. Check seams, buckles, latches -- whatever is a part of your carrier to make sure it's safe.
5. Do not wear your baby when you aren't feeling well or are faint. If you fall or are unsteady on your feet ... the outcome could get you both very hurt.
6. Wear shoes that are comfortable for you to walk in with a few extra pounds strapped to you. Everyone's idea of comfortable shoes is different so know yourself and what you can wear to walk with steady feet.
7. Beware of slippery ground. Particularly if you get caught in the rain and the bottom of your shoes get slick.
8. Pay attention to the pavement and ground you walk on. There could be cracks or holes that could easily make you roll your ankle.
9. Hold the railing when walking up and down stairs.
10. Don't have a false sense of security even when you think your baby is secured well. Ask for help if you need it even if it's to reach for an item high on a shelf or bending down to pick something up. By paying mind to all these on this list and not exerting yourself, you could prevent both of you from getting hurt.
What other safety measures for babywearing would you add?
Image via Allie/Flickr