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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Keeping summer safety in mind.

As we close out July it feels like a good time to revisit our theme for this month- Summer Safety!

We discuss safety during this time of year because of a few variables including heat, sun exposure, and more outdoor activities. All of these can have an impact of safety while babywearing, both for caregivers and worn children. A few absolute rules still apply:

  • Keep airways clear. You should always be able to monitor baby's breathing with ease.
  • Keep baby's chin off of the chest. Reposition as necessary.
  • Ensure a proper fit for your carrier- come to one of our monthly meetings if you need help.
Babywearing in the summer, especially here in Middle Tennessee, is going to be hot, plain and simple. You still have to get where you're going and get things done. So! How do you stay cool and safe while out and about?

  • Wear sunscreen! It helps to be extra mindful of those exposed feet and hands, especially for young babies that don't need shoes and older kids who go from arms in to arms out in a flash.
  • Mineral based sunscreen won't damage your carrier. Chemical based sunscreens may cause discoloration.
  • For wrappers, consider sticking to single layer carries to avoid overheating. A FWCC with bunched passes or a simple ruck will keep you cooler than a multi-pass carry.
  • Try out a linen ring sling or a SSC with a mesh panel- both may keep you cooler. We have several of these options in our Learning Library.
  • Monitor body temperature and don't overdress little ones. It's easy for both of you to overheat when wearing in the summer. If you notice baby feeling overly sweaty or flushed it's a good time to take a break in the shade or indoors.
  • Hydrate! We know you hear it and do it but it can't be said enough. 
We know it's hot out and everyone's cranky- cooling off in some water feels like the only solution these days. If you're going to be around water and plan on babywearing consider using a waterproof carrier. These specially designed carriers can help you have a great water wearing experience. There are a variety of styles available, we have several mesh ring slings in our Learning Library for that very purpose. Once you're ready to go cool off in your carrier of choice keep in mind a few other important safety measures.  

  • Visible and kissable still applies- front carriers or hip carries are the best way to monitor baby. Never back carry while in water.
  • No wearing baby in water higher than your waist.
  • Always be mindful of water near baby's face.
  • Water carriers are not a life vest substitute. Always put yourself and baby in a properly fitted life vest prior to any boating activities.
Getting stuff done is a huge reason why so many caregivers embrace babywearing. When you see how helpful it can be it may be tempting to think that anything goes as long as baby is secure and happy. However, we encourage you to exercise caution when it comes to certain activities. To round out hot weather wearing and water safety above, here are a few final guidelines that we hope you will consider when making plans for what you'll get done while babywearing. 
  • If you couldn't do an activity while holding a baby you shouldn't do it while babywearing. 
  • If a helmet or protective gear are required for said activity, do not babywear while doing it.
  • Lawnmowers, weedwaters, and other power tools don't mix with babywearing- a carrier provides zero protection when it comes to fumes and debris, eye protection, and ear protection.
  • Exercise caution around grills, stoves, or open flames of any kind. Curious hands are at an easy height to grab something hot.
  • Avoid running and other high impact activities while babywearing as these motions could negatively impact a worn baby's head, neck, and spine. 
  • Never use a carrier in lieu of a car seat or life vest.
We strive to see our community embrace babywearing in all seasons. Our VBEs are available to help you safely make the most of your babywearing journey. If you have a question, comment, or concern, don't hesitate to reach out to us here or on Facebook

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