September 20, 2011
Who does the blame lie with?
I'm sure by now many of you will have heard about the death of a two-day-old boy in Adelaide while he was being carried in a baby sling (though the media hasn't said what kind of carrier it really was and tend to lump them all together, so it could have been any kind...)
A lot of you also know I'm an avid babywearer. When news broke of the little boy's death, my first reaction was the same as a lot of my fellow babywearers - "why the hell was she wearing him under a shirt and jumper?!" and "stupid media, why don't they get anything right?!"
While the second point still stands, I've revised my thoughts on the first. We don't know all the details. Some carriers can be worn under clothing - or jackets at least - and there are tonnes of DIY sites out there telling you how to modify clothes so you can babywear under them. Plus, what if the shirt/jumper (if this point is true) weren't even the cause? What if it was SIDS - remember, it doesnt always hit in bed! - or a medical condition no-one knew he had? What if this little boy was going to die anyway, and he was lucky enough to die while snuggled close to his mummy? And how terrible would she be feeling, even if she knows it's not her fault, hearing all these people blaming her for her baby's death?
I suppose my point is, don't blame the sling. Don't blame the mother. Educate yourself on how to safely use carriers if you plan to use one. This was the first known death linked to a sling in Australia. The majority of the 16 in the US were because of a certain type of sling that was found to be unsafe. More babies have died in prams and cots.
In coming days: Why I love babywearing.