Emergency Babywearing Part 1

This week, as we remember the events of 9/11, I’ve been thinking a lot about the various disasters that have occurred over the last few years. Every time I see a hurricane or tsunami or earthquake I always wonder how parents handle these scary situations without the skill of babywearing. In disaster situations, not just major ones, how do we keep out little ones close and safe? Next week I will post instructions on how to use things you have around your home or car to wear your child in an emergency. But this week I wanted to explore the why.

I have four children and like many parents I sometimes worry about how I would handle an emergency situation. How can I get them out of a building in a fire? How could I protect their little feet from broken glass and debris in an earthquake or hurricane? I have read tragic stories of people being stuck in a flash flood and having to hold on to a tree and their child with their arms. I believe that every adult that has contact with children should have a basic understanding of the principles of babywearing and the ability to secure a child to their body should the need arise. Everyone should know how to do this regardless of whether they choose to use the skill in their day to day lives.

Let’s step out of the big scary situations for a second and look at things that happen every day. Babywearing calms children and slows their breathing. Imagine a child having respiratory problems or an asthma attack waiting in an urgent care waiting room. Do you think that child’s breathing would be better in a car seat or stroller or in a carrier? That’s right, heart rates and respiration improve when a baby is held by a caregiver. Or take a situation with a minor car accident or other small emergency, mom is a bit panicked and baby is fussing. She might be shaking or nervous and a wearing her baby will help her safely comfort her child and the physical contact will calm them both down.

I once spoke to a woman that takes a wrap with her on every hike, even if there are only adults going. If someone is injured, if they break a leg or twist an ankle, carrying them in a carrier is much easier than trying to piggy back down a mountain! Every area has their natural disasters and preparedness is so important! Once you know how to use non-carriers as carriers you can check one concern off your list! Next week I’ll go into the how tos and provide instructions for learning this valuable skill.

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Above: Melissa carries her daughter in a bed sheet

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