My baby loves his carrier. I mean literally loves it. In fairness, I love it too, so I was hugely surprised/perturbed when somebody came over to me at a baby group and said: “I can’t believe you use one of those crotch danglers. Next, you’ll have him facing forward. Do your research – carriers are awful for a baby’s hips.” Cheers Sharon, you made me feel like a shit dad!
I went home and thought about what Sharon had said (I don’t know if her name was Sharon, but she looked like one) and I was questioning myself. My baby has always seemed so comfortable in his carrier – am I doing him any harm without knowing? That witch was right, I have been thinking about having him forward facing… am I some kind of carrier criminal?
I did some research into the link between hip problems and carriers. The more you read, the more it seems like a myth.
Dr Nicholas Hoque is a specialist doctor in caring for newborns and has done extensive research. He knows his stuff. He states: “Despite the facts, there are people that mistakenly believe that carriers are harmful for baby hip development. I treat infants with hip dysplasia and there is no evidence that modern carriers cause these serious problems.” Moreover, he even goes as far as to say, “Good carriers are more likely to provide the right support and are safer than slings.” My wife wasn’t happy about that, she rates her sling over our carrier but it does at least highlight that there are indeed misconceptions surrounding baby carrier.
Aghast with worry about my decision as to whether I should carry my son forward in his carrier after Sharon’s disgust, I decided to avoid the usual militant chats on certain forums (you know where) and go straight to the source. I got in touch with BabyBjorn and asked them straight:
1. Are there any known health impacts with regard to forward carrying?
“With age curiosity grows in many babies who want to face outwards, so they can see what is going on and meet the world. Many psychologists testify that it is a comfortable position to discover the world when the neck is strong enough, at around 5 months. There are no known negative health impacts on forward facing babies. BabyBjörn have performed extensive pressure tests on their carriers to provide optimal support for babies, hips, spine and neck. The hips will be fully matured at this age so a perfectly comfortable way to travel as a baby.”
2. Is there and official minimum age or weight for forward carrying?
“A baby is ready to face forward when the neck is strong enough to hold the head up. Usually they turn their heads to show that they are curious to see what’s around them. Usually this happens around five months and is therefore our recommendation.”
3. Is there any medical research to support the idea a carrier can be bad for hips?
“No medical research has been performed on baby carriers, so we rely on recommendations and advise from leading paediatricians in this field as well as thorough in-house testing combined with test institutes.”
Despite Sharon’s best efforts, I’m going to keep using my carrier. Why? Because my baby and me like it. As my son’s parent, I’m making that decision. I might even face him forward. How you like them apples Shaz?