After the recent Infantino sling recall, (it affected about 1 million slings) many parents were left wondering if slings can be used safely. I spoke to Michal Chesal, owner and founder of Baby K'tan Baby Carrier, recently. Michal wants to get the word out that--when used properly--slings are still a great way to bond with baby and get on with the business of motherhood.
What would you like my readers to know about the recall and sling safety?
Like any baby product '?? cribs, strollers, car seats, playpens '?? slings come with inherent risks and require parents to be wary and use common sense. When a stroller is deemed unsafe '?? like one recalled last year because it posed a risk of cutting kids' fingers '?? we don't ban strollers altogether. We issue warnings and try to make them safer. The same goes for slings / baby carriers.
Can you help moms know how to safely and properly wear a sling?
Parents and caregivers should make sure the infant'??s face is not covered and is visible at all times to the sling'??s wearer. If nursing the baby in a sling, change the baby'??s position after feeding so the baby'??s head is facing up and is clear of the sling and the mother'??s body. Parents and caregivers should be vigilant about frequently checking their baby in a sling. Using a sling / baby carrier incorrectly is not unlike using an infant car seat without proper installation, infant positioning, and restraints. It is always important to position your baby safely in any carrier or infant-carrying device.
At what age is it safe to "sling" a baby?
If you are wearing the sling / baby carrier correctly and making sure you are following the instructions, it is safe to start wearing your baby when they are around 8 lbs or newborn stage. Slings, when used properly, are a FABULOUS tool! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is advising parents and caregivers to be cautious when using infant slings for babies younger than four months of age. It is highly recommended to be extra cautious in using a sling and extra careful to wear it appropriately with a baby that young.
What should moms look of when purchasing a sling/baby carrier?
Wearing an infant in a well-constructed carrier and using proper babywearing techniques are of utmost importance. When done properly, babywearing is a very safe and beneficial parenting tool. Moms should therefore look for a baby carrier/sling that is well-constructed and has gone thru vigorous testing.
For now, the CPSC has not put together the sling safety standard regulations yet, but they are in the process of finalizing these standards. However, many baby carriers, like the Baby K'??tan, have been engineered, developed and tested by parents, often the manufacturers themselves with their own children. They have also been tested by a third party for a variety of juvenile product standards. The sling/baby carrier purchased should also offer very clear instructions and warnings. An owners'?? manual with pictures and text, in addition to a video, are of outmost importance. We all know that as simple as any product might seem in its package, it is always a bit confusing the first time a new parent puts it together and attempts to use it. Therefore, parents should make sure the sling/baby carrier their purchase contains very clear guidelines on how to use it. For example, at Baby K'??tan we include an owners manual in every box and a streaming video online.
What are the benefits of slings vs. stroller of other modes of carrying a baby?
In well-designed products, babywearing is not only safe, but is actually very beneficial when done properly. Studies have shown that quality baby slings and carriers have been shown to save lives, improve health, decrease crying, increase IQ, and facilitate breastfeeding and bonding. Studies have also shown that worn babies are happier and spend more time in the quiet alert phase. In this phase they benefit more than their non-worn peers in language development and knowledge acquisition. Babywearing also helps babies sleep better, and physical needs, including breastfeeding, are met more quickly by a close, responsive parent. Millions of babies over time have been worn to their benefit making baby slings and carriers more of a necessity than the often-publicized fashion accessory. (Source La Leche League International)
How did you get involved with Baby K'tan?
Ten years ago I found that most baby carriers didn'??t give my son, who was born with Down syndrome, support for his low muscle tone. His physical therapist would tell me what was appropriate for his hypotonia and what was not. I began to experiment, and as a result the Baby K'??tan Baby Carrier design came about.
With the use of connecting two slings, he got the swaddling needed and was able to sit up while still having his legs and body in a developmentally appropriate posture. The Baby K'??tan gave me the ability to have him face forward, observe the world & receive the stimulation he benefited from so much. It created the ideal environment for development and growth. Plus it was great looking and attracted a lot of attention. It could be worn like a sling, wrap or carrier. People were in awe. All the attention of wearing him in my hand made double cotton sling led me and my partners to bring Baby K'??tan Carrier public: it is now a Patent Pending 100% natural cotton hybrid carrier marketed all over the U.S. and abroad.
Not only was it perfect for my son, I now see it is ideal for all Moms, Dads, twins, breastfeeding and obviously especially babies with special needs (which is near and dear to my heart). We founded our company on the premise that a portion of p
roceeds from every sale will go to the American Heart Society as well as to help fund education, medical research, advocacy programs and promotion of awareness & inclusion for individuals and families living with Down syndrome.
The Baby K'tan carrier is 100% cotton and can be configured in eight different ways. This carrier was not affected by the recall. Prices start at $59.99.
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