Doctors say benefits of baby wearing outweigh risks - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Doctors say benefits of baby wearing outweigh risks

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By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

CAMILLA, GA (WALB) – Baby wearing is still a foreign concept for many parents. And for a lot of those parents, the conflicting views on whether baby carriers are safe keep them from enjoying their benefits.

There is definitely a lot of negative attention focused on baby carriers. And it's true that a couple of the carrier designs can cause injury to babies. But after speaking to a pediatrician and a mother who has done quite a lot of research of her own, the overwhelming benefits of baby wearing are hard to ignore.

Baby Alyssa doesn't like it when she's not close to her mother.

"She's one of those babies that likes to be held all the time and I have to get stuff done, so I just strap her on and go."

Alyssa's mother, Tiffany Brimlow, is a firm believer in baby wearing, a popular trend in urban areas that's making its way into the south.

"I think a lot of people around here just haven't really been exposed to it. But the more I got used to it, it's so convenient and it's easy."

But Tiffany says she's growing more and more concerned with the bad rap baby-wearing is getting.

"The latest sling warnings have made a lot of people worry that they are not safe, but they really are. There are quite a few that are safe, although there are some you should watch out for."

The bad apples in the bunch are carriers designed with a bag-like shape or that put too much strain on the baby's groin.

"I like to call them crotch danglers."

Studies have found that the bag-like carriers can cause infant suffocation because their faces are tucked into their bodies or against the inside of the carriers. But doctors say if a carrier is used properly, the benefits greatly outweigh the risks.

"I think we all agree that contact between a baby and a parent is a good thing," says Dr. Bruce Smith of Southwest Georgia Pediatrics. "You just have to be aware."

"It's proven that they are actually learning more when you're wearing them because this is their quiet time. They're observing and you're right next to them."

But doctors still warn that common sense is the best protection in keeping a baby safe.

"We even have people who are running to catch a phone call and have the baby in their arms and they hit the door frame with the head of the baby," explains Dr. Smith. "Know even accidents like that can happen without any artificial device."

Because whether you're wearing your baby or she's crawling on the ground, you just have to be aware and be careful.

The best way to keep a baby safe in the carriers is to always make sure the baby is facing you, whether it is in the front or in a backpack style carrier on the back.

Both Tiffany and Dr. Smith say parents should do their research and ask their doctors for recommendations to find the best baby carrier for them and their lifestyle.

Doctors also say it's a good idea to keep up with the product's manufacturer and store where it was sold to be aware of any recalls if a problem is found after the product is already out on the market.


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