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Baby Wearing: Should we offer safety checks?
September 20, 2010 11:03 am | by

We noticed comments on the Cotton Babies Facebook page this weekend about a picture posted of a mama wearing an older baby on her back using a stretchy wrap. She was shopping our Cloth Diaper Garage Sale this weekend and clearly enjoying her day… Understandably, a few people were very concerned about the way she was wearing her baby. Don’t go look, to protect her privacy we deleted the photo. However, this raised a pretty hairy topic this morning that I thought we should discuss with you.

The way the baby was being worn isn’t recommended by the manufacturer. It also isn’t recommended by Cotton Babies. When worn on the back using a tie-style carrier made of a stretch material (like jersey), the baby can easily fall out of the carrier and get hurt. Nobody wants their baby to get hurt.

So, we know this.

Some of you know this.

Clearly, not everyone knows this.

If I had been there on Saturday, I probably would have politely mentioned to the mom that Moby Wrap was now recommending against carrying babies on your back due to the risk of falling. However, I would have thought about my wording very carefully for quite a while before saying anything to her. Put yourself in her shoes. If one of our staff members told you that you were wearing your baby incorrectly, you might feel embarrassed or defensive. Maybe it’s something you do *all the time* and you’re not worried. Or worse, imagine yourself having that encounter at your most hormonal, vulnerable moment… We don’t want to embarrass you. We also don’t want to send you into an emotional tailspin. However, we want your baby to be safe.

I really try to pick my battles. As we’ve worked through the major issues over the years, I’ve realized that most of the things that I would have taken a stand on with my first child are issues that I now know aren’t issues worth loosing relationships over. We work very hard at Cotton Babies to respect every mom where she is at. You’re going to parent your child better if you don’t leave our store feeling like you are an inadequate mom.

Baby carrier safety is something that we’ve never chosen to address… I’ve seen some crazy things in my store and usually, the most unsafe situations are moms who are NOT new to baby wearing and should know better.

So, what do you think we should do? There’s a definite line to walk between respecting the mom (who may be understandably defensive) and protecting the child (who we don’t want to get hurt).

How would you feel about having a Cotton Babies staff member let you know if your baby was being worn in an unsafe manner (knowing that they could help you resolve the safety issue)? How would you want us to say this to you? Would you prefer to ask for advice rather than to have a staff member offer it? Or is it none of our business?

I’d like to hear from people who consider themselves activists on this issue… but I’d also like to hear from everyday moms who are just slugging through life with a baby (or two or three or four). In your comment, please tell me who you are, why I should listen to what you say and what gives you credibility.

Sound off… tell me what you think. I’m listening.

About the Author

Jenn is the founder of Cotton Babies & creator of bumGenius, Flip, and Econobum, worldwide leading cloth diaper brands. She has four children (Andrew, Oscar, Elsie and Louis) and holds an MBA from Washington University. When she's not working full time, she enjoys teaching business leaders how to implement sustainable economic & social change.



  • Anonymous said...
    February 5, 2011 at 5:55 am

    I did’t know Moby changed the policy, I used my moby for back carrying with my kids, never felt unsafe, I did prefer a Mei Tai for back carrying because it’s easyer to put on.
    I would be happy if a person would tell me (in a friendly way) Moby changed their policy.
    I would feel a little embarrassed at the moment for not keeping up with the latest advice, but still happy someone cared for my child’s safety.

    Sometimes people do things that are very dangerous, and sometimes its pure ignorance.
    Last week at the supermarket I saw a woman putting her infant seat Forward Facing on the back seat of her car, didn’t even to bother to buckle the seat up (very old seat (it said Century, had a 3-point harness, no base)
    She got in the car and drove.
    I was just in shock, another mother saw me and told me she had friendly try to tell the woman she wasn’t using the seat correct, but the woman just yelled at her.
    Some people don’t want yo hear the are doing something ‘wrong’ not even if there child could be injured if something happened

  • Gretchen Probst said...
    October 10, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Check out this video on WHY it’s not safe to back wrap with a stretchy wrap like the Moby.
    I didn’t think anything was TOO different between the wovens and the stretchies, but SEEING it.. yeaahh.. that could definitely be my daughter grabbing at stuff.

  • Anonymous said...
    October 7, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    I am a mother of 6 (14, 10, 10, 9, 2, 1) and have seen many many changes over the years! And I can tell you that most things change because parents being foolish. I remember when my oldest was little, walkers were a huge no no! Everybody was on that kick… thoughts were who in their right mind would have there child in a walker, around stairs, and unsupervised! Remember how much side sleeping was pushed along with sleep positioners? But wait now its “back to sleep” and positioners are increase risk to sids. No paci…..paci decreases sids! Forward at 1 & 20lbs…..rear face for as long as possible. It amazed me that there had to be a warning on the bumbu seat not to put it on counters or table!?! So my point is that most moms will be defensive and black out what you are saying. I know that if someone came up to me, first Is want to know what level of education they have and want to see their certifications in infant / child safety and want them to present their safety law badge. I would also want to know how many kids they raised?
    Point being unless it is your job to educate parents on child safety, its best you stay out of their business! Most of you are talking about showing the mama the “correct” way….that’s wrong approach right there. I am speaking as a pediatric RN for 9+ years working in a low income, under/uneducated parents, most being very young. While I am at work, it IS MY JOB to educate these parents. When I swipe out, it is no longer my job and I would probably be shot if I tried to stop a parent in that area to tell them their child was not properly restrained!
    As the store owner, you should have signs, pamphlets, flyers all around for moms to see about the dos and don’t of babywearing. If a manufacturer has changed their recommendation…plaster it all around your store. Offer a class and make announcements about the class.
    I have worn my babies for years in many many kind of carriers…my rules are if I’m not comfy or their not comfy, its not a good carry….if the feel loose or slipping, no good…..if it requires frequent adjusting, its not good, if I can’t see my baby, its not good!

  • mikroenjeksiyon said...
    September 27, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Was a beautiful page. Thanks to the designers and managers…

  • Jan said...
    September 26, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    I think it would be a nice service to OFFER if someone requested it. Kind of like how the sheriffs do car-seat inspections in our town. It’s not a law that the fit be inspected, but they are willing to help if you ask for it. Maybe a sign in the store that says you’d be willing to check baby-carrier fit. I’d take you up on it!

  • SarahJ said...
    September 22, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I’m a first time momma and still trying to figure everything out with my now 9-month-old daughter. I would want to know if was doing something or caring for her in a way that might lead to potential harm. Picture instructions in most of the wraps/carrier are pretty complicated to figure out. When my daughter was about three months old, I was using a Moby incorrectly, but didn’t know it. I was a play date with a friend and she politely suggested that she show me some other carries with it. I found that totally helpful and not at all offensive. I especially agree with Rachael’s suggestion (first post) about how to broach with subject.

  • Christina said...
    September 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    my husband and i are having our first child in January, there is so much info out there its over whelming!!! We did register for a moby wrap….I don’t know what is correct or not correct for age of the baby! I pray that there are instructions with the wrap so we know what is safe and not safe for our child!!!

  • Nicole Everitt said...
    September 21, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    The way I see it is … Would you tell someone if they strapped their child into the car seat improperly?
    The issue should be approached just as gently, with full awareness that sometimes we just didn’t realize it: but it really, really should be brought up.
    While it might not be likely something go wrong, I personally would feel devastated if I knew someone KNEW I was wearing my baby unsafely and didn’t tell me before some accident occurred. Y’know?

  • Anonymous said...
    September 21, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    I think Christy up above said it best: no matter what your intentions, how much thought you put into what you say, or how kindly you say it, some moms will be downright annoyed, some moms will be embarrassed, and some moms will be fine with it. Speaking from a business standpoint, you don’t want to alienate potential customers. But you also don’t want to ignore dangerous situations. I think her suggestion of posters illustrating various “poor” baby-carrying choices would be great, especially if paired with posters of similar but better choices you can make to replace those holds. Then you’re making the point without having to talk to anyone and possibly make them annoyed or embarrassed. A pamphlet you have on hand and put in the bag of a mama who is wearing a baby incorrectly could help, too. To me, babywearing is fairly personal and changes with each baby you have. So it’s a little invasive (in my opinion) to say something unless you see a baby who is literally about to get hurt. But then again, I’m just terrible at any form of confrontation…so that probably colors my opinion!

  • Megan W said...
    September 21, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I love all the suggestions about gently approaching a mom not safely wearing her baby. I would be open to that also, I hate it when people are not gentle and come across like they know it all with their parenting suggestions.
    You also might post a sign on one of your front windows saying, “Babywearing Safety Checkpoint – Ask an associate for more information”. Then people would know that you are on the lookout for babywearing safety and they might be more inclined to ask for help. Babywearing is tricky and it is nice to have help.

  • Anonymous said...
    September 21, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I just purchased a Moby wrap to carry my baby in once she’s born. The instructions that came with my brand new Moby showed the back carry that you’re all talking about. How did you find out that Moby no longer recommends this? I don’t see any information about this on their website. Could someone tell me where you found this new recommendation-I’d like to see if they have any other updates that obviously aren’t being included in the instructions for their wraps. Thanks.

  • Anonymous said...
    September 21, 2010 at 10:57 am

    i think it’s totally possible this mom knew full well that a moby isn’t “supposed” to be used that way, but had no other option so she decided to do it, just carefully and keeping aware of the baby… Or maybe she does it ALL the time and the baby has learned how to sit so as not to fall. Maybe her baby isn’t the type to try and wriggle out…. one of mine is, and one of mine isn’t. I’m just trying to say that we all do things at some point that aren’t the absolute recommendation, but our babies live through it.

  • Melanie L said...
    September 21, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Please say something! When my daughter was two weeks old, we attended a La Leche League meeting. Another mama watched me strap my child into her carseat, and politely asked if I’d taken it to a local hospital to get inspected. I said I hadn’t, and she told me, “Well, I think there might be an easier/safer way to buckle her into the seat. Would you like me to show you?” Turns out, I’d been buckling her in totally wrong! I was a little embarrassed but sooo grateful that she took a chance and offered some advice. The safety of my child is worth it! And done sensitively, I don’t think any mama would turn her back on kind, well-meaning advice from “professionals” like you guys!

  • Ashley said...
    September 21, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Hi there. My name is Ashley and I’m mother to a delightful 18 month old boy. From day one we have used a moby wrap or similar woven wrap. A little over a month ago, my husband and I tried the hike hold (per the instructions from moby wrap booklet) for a short walk in the mountains. To make a long story short, my husband asked me to rewrap because something didn’t feel right (the instructions recommend help from a partner). Our son was slipping out because I had forgotten to wrap under his legs. Once he was wrapped correctly, and securely, we went on (until DS fell asleep).
    Now, I have been in embarrassing situations before-such as being told to “xyz” at a county fair. Who knows how long I had been walking around with my zipper down before some woman had the courage to tell me. And that isn’t even harmful. Yes I was embarrassed, and yes I remember the moment after 10 years, and yes, I was grateful to the woman for telling me.
    Yes I was embarrassed in front of my own husband for wrapping our precious son incorrectly, and I’m grateful to my husband for telling me something felt wrong.
    We have since decided against the hike hold. I’m now going to check out the website.
    I think baby wearing is a potentially harmful act if done incorrectly. We’ve all heard about it, I’m sure. I think it is appropriate, then, as a knowledgeable store owner/manager/worker/baby wearer to share that knowledge with a mother or father who may be putting their treasure at risk for serious injury. I like how your first poster worded it.
    Good luck.

  • Anonymous said...
    September 21, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Having a sign in the window would be a great thing to do. Personally, I’ve come into the store for help with my Hotsling because I knew that you sold them and would be approachable. Saying “you don’t look comfortable” or “I’ve heard others have had difficulty with that carrier, do you have any problems with it feeling unsecure?” are appropriate ways to approach someone (I think expressing concern for the Mom or asking a question rather than making a statement would probably be your best bet!). The Moby wrap seems to be a hot button topic, maybe a small sign by the wraps or at checkout stating that the back carry is no longer recommended would be helpful.
    However, it’s also a place of business and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to risk turning off customers or embarrassing them so they don’t want to come in anymore. For some, I think it could even turn them off from babywearing entirely. I think that most people would say that they would want to be told but until that actually happens to you, you don’t know how you would feel about it. Ultimately, if staff does not feel an opening to bring it up in a friendly and inviting way then it’s probably best that they not bring it up at all.

  • Jenny said...
    September 21, 2010 at 9:38 am

    You have to be more careful in general with stretchy wraps. Our daughter got a little wiggly once and very nearly fell out on her head (in a Moby front carry), and we began to favor our Storch wrap–more expensive, not as soft, but secure.

    I had no idea they were recommending against the back carry, and honestly I am annoyed that I haven’t heard about it. If you google “moby back carry” you’ll see that nearly every single link on the first page consists of instructions on how to do this wonderful thing. Since so many new moms search for instructions online to learn a new carry, I think it’d be more productive to get a few posts out there on why this is dangerous.

    I just looked at Moby’s website and was surprised to find NO info on this, not even in the safety section. If there is anything mentioned, I couldn’t find it. I’m disappointed that Moby didn’t take it a bit more seriously and put the info prominently on their site. Instead, they seem to have quietly removed the info on how to back carry.

    After a bit of research, it seems things like this do in fact happen:

    So yeah, I’d want something said to me because if I did that carry my daughter would definitely try to jump out on her head. She’s a wiggler. I’d rather be humiliated than have my baby get hurt, but this is not a failure on the part of the mom. Moby should’ve taken a bit more responsibility here. I’m off to send an email to my old workplace where they sell these, and possibly to our local BW meeting leader. Glad to have the info, thanks!

  • Anonymous said...
    September 21, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Not being a momma yet, I can’t comment on what I would prefer. BUT I do just want to say that this is a caring and responsible way for you to handle such a sensitive issue: taking it to the people! Good job, Cotton Babies, your customers are lucky to have you.

  • Anonymous said...
    September 21, 2010 at 8:35 am

    I would want someone to point out if I’m doing something that could endanger my child. If you approach it privately and politely, I think you’ll have the best reception. 🙂

  • Anonymous said...
    September 21, 2010 at 4:47 am

    Being that you are at the forefront of alternative diapering and offer wraps and slings for moms to use. If I had been shopping in your store and one of your associates approached me very descretely to discuss babywearing and that the manufacturer has suggestions on how to carry correctly. That you noticed that she was carrying the baby in a way that the manufacturer doesn’t no longer recommend. Since you are a store owner, I don’t think it would have come off badly. she might have been upset becuase some one pointed it out but she might not have known that that type of carrier isn’t for back carry.

  • Heidi Maxwell said...
    September 20, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    As a mom of 2, a babywearer, and an active member of my babywearing group, I say with a resounding YES, that you should definitely say something. I have a Moby and I love it. But when we tried to put our second daughter in a back carry, following the old instructions (which you can’t even get anymore), we just could NOT get her secure enough. Every time she arched her back, the wrap would stretch and roll down and she would be on the verge of falling out. So we retied. And retied. And retied. No method of back tying could keep her safely on my back in that wrap.

    When I see parents carrying unsafely, I approach them. Gently. Openly. Not with derision or judgement. “You don’t look comfortable.” “Your baby doesn’t look comfortable.” “It looks like your baby is slipping/sliding/about to fall out of that carrier.” “If you would like, I’d be more than happy to help you make an adjustment to see if we can fix that!” Woven Wrap, Short Wrap, Sleepy Wrap, Moby Wrap, Bjorn, Ergo, Mei Tai, Sling – whatever the carrier, you can do it wrong or unsafely. I find that most parents are appreciative of some gentle help with their carriers.

    What happens MORE often is that mamas come up to me and ask about MY carrier. What kind is that? How do you do that back carry? I love your carrier, tell me more, etc. I love to advocate for safe babywearing and I help whenever I can. Whether that is me approaching others or being happy and helpful when they approach me.

  • Jill said...
    September 20, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    In my case, I’ve never baby worn before, and I’d be horrified if I was doing it wrong. I’d definitely want to be shown the right way to do it. Would I be embarrassed? Totally, but I’d get over it. If we have another child (ttc) then I’d be looking to baby wear since I have a toddler and it’s next to impossible to chase her, let alone chase her and carry a pumpkin seat (infant car seat) at the same time. Maybe a class, or brochures on your counters? I would say though that there’s a 99% chance you’d have to say some really stupid stuff to piss someone off. Then again, I am always willing to learn.

  • Kim said...
    September 20, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    It seems to me that many of us (me included) were totally unaware of Moby’s change and the Mobys we bought came with instructions for the back carry. Perhaps Moby should be contacted re this issue so that they can take on their share of responsibilty with educating their consumers.

  • mandymershon said...
    September 20, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    I am a mom of three (7, 3, and 7mo) and I have been babywearing since my second child was born. I help run an online babywearing group and I maintain a blog about safe babywearing but while I am an experienced babywearer, I am in no means an expert. I saw that photo and cringed but did not comment but I love hearing that you are addressing the issue.

    I applaud that you are concerned not only about babies’ safety but also moms’ feelings. It IS hard to approach a mom who is putting her baby at risk without sounding like you are attacking her parenting skills but I agree with many of the moms here that I would want to be told. As a retailer that sells carriers, you are in the best position to give that information in a way that is not accusatory or judgmental.

    For the moms who have mentioned the women in Africa wearing their babies on their backs, there IS a safe way to do it. The problem with the wrap from this photo is the type of fabric used. Moby is stretch knit and even wrapped perfectly, a child can lean and flip out of the wrap. I have a link on my blog of a mom who tried it with her daughter to show the danger (over a bed of course) and it is scary! Moby did give instructions for that back carry at one time and many other stretch wraps still do (like K’tan.) Moms who don’t know better should be told and I applaud Cotton Babies for being willing to do that even though it might be upsetting to hear. If you want to back carry you need a different carrier or a woven wrap.

    Now if you ever see me out, please do tell me if I am using my car seat correctly. I know nothing about that and I would want to know!

  • Stephanie said...
    September 20, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    …So, perhaps, a simple, “hey, i noticed your cute baby on your back, and just wanted to make sure you are aware of the new wearing recommendations for that kind of carrier. I know they recently came out stating that they don’t recommend using it in that position. I’m sure your baby is in there nice and secure, but just in case you hadn’t heard, I thought I’d bring it up.” If they say they are aware, say “Oh, okay, I just know a lot of mom’s hadn’t heard about it yet.” If they aren’t, let them know why it isn’t recommended and offer to show some alternate positions.

    Case in point, last Sunday at church, my baby was on the floor with the little plastic sacrament cup in bit tightly in her mouth. She has played with it many a Sunday, as have all of my children at that age, and I was well aware of what she was doing with it. It was crushed in half and vice gripped between her teeth with the outer rim outside her mouth. A kind, and I’m sure well-meaning, lady pointed it out to me. When I said I was aware of it, and didn’t take it out, she basically gave me that “look” the rest of the meeting. Had she been simply informing me without judging, I would have taken no offense at all. But when I failed to remove the cup, and she thought I was risking my child’s life by leaving it there, that’s when I took offense. (Which I’ve since let go of, but at the time I didn’t think she had the right to judge.)

    Some mom’s may turn a young toddler forward facing in their carseat because they need the infant seat for the newborn. Or, with one mom I knew, because the child screamed bloody murder when rear-facing, so mom finally turned her around to be able to have a calm driving environment. She would have been more prone to a wreck with a screaming child. We don’t know the reasons behind the decisions parents/caregivers make so we shouldn’t assume to know better. Many are simply not aware of a better way, but some, like me, can be stubborn on certain points.

    With it being in your store, and since you sell the product, I think you have even more authority to mention something kindly. I also think posting the recall notice and pictures of proper and improper positions would be great.

  • Stephanie said...
    September 20, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I’m not a huge baby wearer, so don’t have any advice directly on that line. But I do have some thoughts. I’ve always been one to gently point out car-seat errors as I’m a huge advocate for car safety. To me, that one is a no-brainer life-or-death situation. However, my baby is still in a crib with a drop side, which I understand are being completely phase out. I actually want to buy another one second-hand just to have if I end up with two babies close together.

    Here’s my reasoning, and you can attack it if you care to: Most recalls come because babies or children are being injured or killed using the product. TRUE! But, with SOME of these products, if the parents/caregivers were more aware, the injuries would have never happened. I check my crib regularly to make sure it’s still solid. If I ever saw a broken or cracked piece I would immediately stop using it and either fix it or replace it. Not putting a baby in a Bumbo chair on the counter makes sense, but I’ll tell you I have done it when I was RIGHT there with her and didn’t turn my head for a second. My baby isn’t strapped into her high chair and COULD fall out, but again, I’m always right there. I have worn a baby forward facing in a rear-facing carrier, but I made sure he couldn’t fall out and had proper support. I DID sleep all 3 of my babies on their sides with a sleep positioner for reasons not worth arguing, but I knew the risks and choose to do so anyway.

    What I’m saying here is that I think it’s a good idea to mention something when someone is making an error that could possibly hurt the baby–BUT be sensitive to the decision ultimately being up to the mom. There may have been a very specific reason her baby was on her back, IN SPITE of the recall. Perhaps that’s the only position that doesn’t hurt her back, or the only position baby is happy in, AND she always makes sure baby is VERY secure in it. I know too many moms who consider themselves experts on some topic and think that everyone who acts contrary to their belief is being an bad parent…

  • Elizabeth said...
    September 20, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    I am a SAHM of an almost 11 month old. I didn’t use a Moby because they honestly made me nervous! I know that’s silly. I would be mortified (because I carefully read instruction manuals), but yes, I’d definitely want to know. It would sound better coming from a store employee than a random person on the street. Someone is going to ask for help only if they are new to a product, I’d imagine. Someone who has been using it for a while or bought it second-hand might be less likely to ask for help. The best approach would be to greet the person, say something nice about their baby/weather/shopping needs (ok, several nice things), and then lead into saying that she [employee] wanted to bring to the person’s attention that Moby had issued a warning about doing a back-carry. The employee could elaborate about how stores that carry baby products often get notifications like this, and she wanted to make sure the woman knew. Even if that’s a bit of a stretch, it would go over a little better.

    Something else that I often see wrong with Baby Bjorn’s and similar carriers: people don’t put baby’s arms UNDER the folded flap when baby is facing out. That is what protects them from coming out the top (and is what Baby Bjorn recommends), but I see tons of people who let baby’s arms just rest outside. It is an accident waiting to happen.

  • Anonymous said...
    September 20, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    I would want to know that the recommendations have been changed!

    I have a moby and had no idea if it had been me I would hope that someone would kindly let me know.
    Since the infantino recall I have been approached many times (more often rude than not) while baby wearing my upright 16 month old and told he could die. However those who asked politely if I knew about the recall and that the slings could be unsafe I felt very comfortable explaining myself to. I do encourage everyone to try wearing their baby and I do think that cotton babies is a place to learn about natural parenting and if I was in the situation to have an employee inform gently away from the crowd I don’t think my feelings would be hurt.

  • Rachelle said...
    September 20, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I don’t see a problem wearing baby on back with a wrap if tied properly. If you travel to many countries, you will see that backwearing in a wrap is very popular. Even newborns are carried in a wrap on the back shoulder is common. Many of the tying techniques were handed down from parents, grandparents etc. People have been doing it for many years compared to other types of carriers. I think this is more of North American culture thinking.

  • Sarah said...
    September 20, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    I teach baby wearing and while not a huge activist, I do believe in it.

    I’d say to someone “hey, can we go talk in private?” then start out apologizing and saying you know this is awkward but that Moby is no longer recommending that babies be worn that way and you weren’t sure if she knew.

    It can go with “yes, I know” and you can smile and say “okay” because you’ve done your best

    or you’ll get “no, I didn’t know!” and there is a chance for education.

    Because it’s in private, I think the reception of the info will be smoother.

    I think if safety is in question, it’s best to go with caution and say something. Don’t make it a personal opinion in any way, just a “the manufacturer just came out with this and not everyone has heard” which leaves you the messenger, not the judge.

  • Kristin said...
    September 20, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Not sure why you should listen to me…. but here’s an idea:

    Do you give out fliers in your bags when people make a purchase? Maybe you could slip one in this womans shopping bag at check out detailing safe baby wearing techniques.

    I honestly would appreciate this.

  • Anonymous said...
    September 20, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    As a mom of 2 and wearing my baby in something besides a bjorn this time I would be SO SO SO grateful if someone would have stopped me the first few weeks with my new babe to say “hey I used to use a ring sling do you find it hard easy? etc” just to open the conversation up! I was so confused and worried I wasn’t doing it right and thankfully now know I am but at the time I was desperate to find someone, anyone that could have helped me!

  • TaraB said...
    September 20, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    I love babywearing but I am not an activist. I view baby wearing as convenient and helpful. It is easier to shop with it than with a stroller unless I am trying on clothes. I would say that if there was something incorrect or recalled or against best recommendation then I would mention it by striking up a conversation and then stating the current recommendation. I had no idea that the Infantino sling was recalled. I cant remember what brand I have because it was a handme down but I am going to go check asap. I dont want my son in a dangerous sling. My maya was bought new and I have watched video after video clip about directions to use it. I would have to admit I would rather another mom come up and help me adjust it then watch the video again. I cant see what they see when it is on my body. As for baby wearing on the back quite a few countries do babywearing solely on their back. I wouldnt think much about a baby in a sling on the back unless they looked in an awkward position. I have an old Moby wrap that I never did use because I was too scared of knotting it. The directions have a way to wear it on your back. I would never have known this was not current recommendation. I think a baby wearing 101 is in order. What a fun event it could be.

  • The felt Commisary said...
    September 20, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Oh man I was at a play date last week with my son (2.5) and my daughter (6months) it’s at a gymnastics gym and so I was carrying my daughter around and my son was playing. I saw a mother with what appeared to an infantino sling. They baby wasn’t in it but she had it on. I wanted to say something but with my child running around and the baby in my arms and the mothers talking to the woman I couldn’t get a word in. I wasn’t sure if I should have said anything b/c I wasn’t sure if it was a recalled sling!

  • Roscoe and Julia Richardson said...
    September 20, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I like some posts about striking up a conversation on how she likes the wearing position and then casually mentioning the recommendations.

    I’m curious about culture here and what ethnicity she may be. I say this becuase when we were in Africa adopting our child, the ONLY way you saw babies being carried was on the mother’s back with a durable cloth wrapped and worked into a sling. Mothers somtimes even sling the babies forward to breastfeed and then back without ever taking baby out – it’s quite amazing!

    Personally, I would not feel safe not following instructions but I wonder how much of that type of personality is culture based? Do others from different societal backgrounds feel the same about safety recommendations?

  • Lindsey A said...
    September 20, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    From a newish, regular mom of an 8-month-old, I would want to be approached if someone saw me doing something completely unsafe in any arena (not just babywearing). If I was already aware of the potential hazard, I’d politely thank the person and move on…but if not, I’d be glad to have the information and the assistance in finding a safer alternative.

  • Danielle said...
    September 20, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    I think it would be awesome to be able to go somewhere and have them tell you how to use different carries. I mean you can go get your carseat checked, why not have a place to go to see if your wearing your baby right. I have 2 different carriers that came with pictures but I’m still not sure if I use them correctly sometimes. I think baby wearing specialists would be awesome!

  • Anonymous said...
    September 20, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Thank you for this information. I also have a Moby Wrap from a few years ago and didn’t know about this change.

  • subaruthie said...
    September 20, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    I used to work in a pet store and had to carefully approach owners about their animals’ safety quite often (I even chased a man down in the parking lot for putting a cat in a carrier in his trunk). It’s a difficult line to walk as a store employee, but if management and employees are all on the same page with regards to customer safety and how to address the issues, it is better for everyone in the end. Information kiosks or displays of pamphlets regarding these issues (at checkouts or by the related products) can both spark conversation and get the appropriate safety info out in a tactful way. And having the info written down will give your employees a basis for discussing these issues with customers.

    If you’re going to target car seat safety and other issues, perhaps have “focus weeks” when you put up temporary signage and prepare employees for addressing particular concerns. Offer your expertise on that subject to every customer you see that week, and end the week with a free seminar on the subject. Your customers will then all be better informed and able to pass on the info to other parents.

    As a Moby-wearing mom of a three month old (it’s the only way he’ll nap during the day!), I would be embarrassed, but eventually welcome, advice on carrying my son more comfortably and safely.

  • Anonymous said...
    September 20, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    It seems to me that the fact that you sell and advise about baby carriers as well as the fact (at least in this specific case) that the manufacturer’s recommendations have changed put you in a very good position to say something that will be received well. Granted, there’s always somebody out there who may get offended no matter how polite you are, but even then, you’ve planted the idea in her head to consider later. I confess I have a tendency to get defensive at times (though less so now than with my first!) but would definitely want to know if I was doing something unsafe.

  • Jenna said...
    September 20, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I’m a new mom to my 7 month old daughter and have a Bjorn. I don’t know very much about baby wearing, and I really haven’t done it for a few months. I read my manual that came with the Bjorn and that’s it!

    If someone else thought my baby was in danger I would certainly want it to be mentioned. I might be a little embarrassed, but the bottom line is I want my baby to be safe at all times, even if my feelings are hurt.

    People are always saying things to me that used to make me feel bad, “you’re STILL breastfeeding!?; she isn’t crawling yet!?; don’t worry, she’ll have hair eventually.” I have learned to let it go in one ear and out the other. Someone bringing up a safety issue would be much appreciated!

  • Chelyeah said...
    September 20, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    As long as the mama is approached politely, I think you/your staff should absolutely say something. When a child’s safety is at risk, I think we all have a responsibility to address the issue. If a baby wearing mother is offended, so be it, although I’d like to think that as a mom, she would just be thankful that others are looking out for her child’s welfare. I would just suggest that any employee that broaches the issue with the mother knows their stuff. I would definitely be upset if somebody tried to correct me with the wrong advice.

  • Priscilla said...
    September 20, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I think that wording can definitely defuse a situation. Most moms would want to know if we were doing something incorrectly that could harm our babies. I think politely starting a conversation in a friendly manner and then pointing out the changes regulations would be cool. With all the recalls, etc. constantly popping up on children and infant items, it can be hard to keep track. I didn’t do a lot of baby wearing with my first because she hated it and I didn’t have a chance to try a wrap that you tie, but I would love to if we have a second child. I’d want to even go to a class about it, if one was offered! With all the scary stories about babies suffocating in carriers, car seats, etc., I’d want to make sure I was doing it right. Of course, you might have a mom who’ll get offended no matter what, but I think the majority would be grateful for being told in a respectful, friendly, mom-to-mom manner.

  • Sonja said...
    September 20, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    I’ve told a mom shopping at the store where I work that she was wearing her sling incorrectly and that I’d be more than happy to show her how to make it more comfortable. However, the mistake she was making had no impact on her baby’s safety, it only made it more uncomfortable for her. She actually told me that she knew what she was doing wasn’t “textbook” but that the right way never worked well for her.
    I think what’s important is that you start a conversation first so that you have a friendly basis to start out. I think if a CottonBabies person came up to me and said “Hey, you might not know this, but MobyWrap no longer recommends using their wrap this way and here’s why,” my feelings wouldn’t be hurt and I’d be thankful to have my mistake pointed out to me in a non-judgmental manner.

  • Anonymous said...
    September 20, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    I had seen a You Tube video of how easy a baby can come out of the jersey wrap. If I’m doing something wrong, I would so much rather someone bring it up to me. Which is more embarrassing/uncomfortable: someone mentioning incorrect use or having a baby fall out and everyone staring at you? There is a polite way of mentioning. Pull the mom away from the crowd and mention the concern without making a scene. Advertising a safety check would just be nice, as some moms do ask “Am I wearing this right?” when using a new carrier.

    I have seen so many people incorrectly wear babies and it is a sickening feeling. Such as a mom wearing a Baby Hawk with the baby situated in the center so no one can see the print. Literally the headrest was midback on the baby about 9-12months old, the other half of the print was on his belly. I’ve also seen babies being worn in Bjorns that are maybe belly button high on the mom.

  • HereWeGoAJen said...
    September 20, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I’d say that a very carefully worded comment would be fine. I’m not saying that I think everyone would take it nicely, some people will definitely get insulted, but I think a nicely worded comment would be the right thing to do here.

  • Maria said...
    September 20, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Oops, typos…nak. Sorry.

  • Anonymous said...
    September 20, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Could someone in your store design a large poster board to post on the wall of pictures with explanations of correct baby wearing positions and incorrect baby wearing positions with different carriers. Also making a pamphlet and putting it in every ones bag when making a purchase. Or just a simple sign in your store and website that says, “Are you wearing your baby correctly and safely? If you are not sure ask one of our employees to help you”. That way you’re putting your word out there without making anyone uncomfortable. I hope this was helpful.

  • Maria said...
    September 20, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Knowing what I know of Jenn, gentle advice would go over well. I picyure you making small talk & getting acquainted, then making a gentle suugestion using :I” statements, rather than “you” statements. I might be a little embarassed and angry at myself, but I’d rather know.

    There’s a fine line though. I despise people who know nothing about the subject doling out strong “advice”. Such as the idiot in the motorizede scooter at the grocery store telling me “ats danjerss” (that’s danjerous” because my son’s head was leaning aout of the wrap. I would tuck it is in the would scream until he got it out so he could look up. My hand was always on him and when he was ready to put his head on my chest, he’d do it.

  • Kellie said...
    September 20, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    All of the comments so far have been great–one more idea would be to simply print up a small sheet or pamphlet, which you regularly update, with safety information and changes in policy. You could list current recalls of items that your store has carried and changes in safety recommendations. Anytime you see someone with one of those products, whether they are using it correctly or not, you can simply hand them the pamphlet and say “I notice that you are using one of the products that is on our safety/recall update–would you like a pamphlet that explains the recall information or changes to safe usage?” Approached that way, I would be grateful for updated information, especially for products that do not offer product registrations that would alert me to a recall.

  • EG said...
    September 20, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Because Moby has CHANGED their recommendations, I don’t think it would be offensive. It would only be helpful.

    Otherwise, I think if something is clearly dangerous you have a responsibility (we all do). Maybe just something like, “You may want to check the manufacturer’s website for your carrier because I don’t think this is quite how it’s meant to be used. If you did this… your baby would be more secure.”

  • The Titmi said...
    September 20, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I did not know about the change of not wearing a baby on the back in Moby until I tried it and it did not feel safe. I looked it up and saw the controversy. I bought an ergo right away because my baby needed to be on my back 🙂 I think saying something like “I love my Moby! My Ergo does a much better job on my back though. He felt more secure.” or some thing like that might be a conversation starter.

  • Sarah R said...
    September 20, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    I would definitely want to know. Babywearing can be kind-of confusing, especially in the beginning. I would welcome the advice. A way to do it would be to pull the mother aside quietly and ask her if she would welcome some tips on babywearing. I would MUCH rather know and be a little embarrassed than have my child be unsafely worn.

  • Karyn said...
    September 20, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    I wouldn’t mind being approached. You’re the experts and I would welcome the advice of someone who has my child’s best interest in mind. That being said, I would have told her myself most likely and told her to buy an Ergo now that her baby was bigger! I <3 my Ergo!

  • FootPrints said...
    September 20, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    i think it’s embarrassing to be approached that your doing anything wrong, BUT but would i rather me embarrassed or have my child fall and get a head injury?

    i can suck it up and respect the person who is trying to save my baby from harm.

  • Anonymous said...
    September 20, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    I will forever be haunted by a baby I saw one day. His dad put him in the frame backpack and went for a jog! The poor baby’s head was bobbling around. He went to sleep and I can still see his head bobbing. I was too shocked to say anything, but I’ll forever regret that I didn’t. I could have explained that I’m an expert babywearer, but running while babywearing is never safe. I could have offered to let him borrow my jogging stroller. I wish I had stopped him and helped that poor baby. I let that baby down.

  • Jenn @ Beautiful Calling said...
    September 20, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    It is definitely a touchy subject but as long as the concern is based on fact and not opinion, I think it is important to share in a tactful way.
    I’ve never used a Moby but have seen them. I never thought they seemed to be a particularly safe way to wear a baby on your back but that is my opinion. If I were a mom wearing my baby in it and someone voiced that opinion, I would quite possibly be annoyed. However if someone shared with me that the manufacturer had changed their recommendations and it was now unsafe, I would probably feel a little sheepish but would be very thankful to know!

  • Anna said...
    September 20, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    I’m just a mom and by no means a baby wearing expert. I think if you approach the situation respectfully and honestly, you would be doing the right thing. You really can’t control the way people react to you. If you have good intentions and say something like “I’m not sure if you are aware, but (insert wrap style company) has recently changed their recommendations for this wrap, may I show you the recommended way?” If she is insulted and refused then there is little you can do, but at least you tried. Chances are that a woman who loves her child would get over the embarrasment and be grateful for the suggestion. But if she is not, that isn’t your fault. I think it is safe to say that the people who offer baby wearing classes are the experts and sharing the proper way to weat a child would be like a police officer or fire man correcting the way a car seat is installed. It’s their responsibility to give the accurate information, but what people decide to do with it is their own business.

  • Cara said...
    September 20, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    I’m a mom of 3 with one on the way, and my kids are 4, 3, and 1. They’ve all been worn. I’m not an activist, but I do love babywearing and my babies pretty much live in a carrier of some type until they become mobile!

    I think that no matter how you handle it, you risk hurting someone’s feelings, but that is better than their baby being seriously injured. When I was a new mom, I didn’t know that the handle/arm on my daughter’s infant seat wasn’t supposed to be left up in the car. Someone pointed it out to me when she was a few months old, and thought I did feel REALLY stupid and embarrassed that I’d been endangering my child for 3 months, I was also very glad that someone told me. I’d rather go through an embarrassing moment like that, then have something happen to my baby.

  • Brie said...
    September 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I am a babywearing mom of a 15 month old. We have owned several homemade mobys, a beco, en ergo, 2 mei tais, a gypsy mama, a ring sling, and 2 hotslings. I think if you are going to start commenting on unsafe baby wearing, then you also need to comment on unsafe carseat usage. I see that WAY more often than unsafe babywearing and I think it is more dangerous. I’ve had dumb strangers comment about unsafe babywearing to me shortly after the infantino recall(“I’ve heard those sling things are really dangerous to use and babies die!” while my 10 month old hangs out happy and secure) but I politely educated them and made fun of them later 🙂 I think some would be appreciative and some will be offended no matter what.

  • Leslie said...
    September 20, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    I’m not a new mom, I have 4 kids who range in age from 12 to 8, and we’re currently TTC again. However, just because you’re not a new mom doesn’t mean that you’re not new to babywearing. I, sadly, never wore any of my children. I had tried when they were little, but I didn’t know about different wraps, and the basic carriers that you could buy at the store were horribly uncomfortable, so I gave it up. But now that I’m a little more informed and wiser, I fully intend to wear this next baby. If someone were to see me carrying him/her in an unsafe position, I would like them to tell me. HOWEVER, respect, tact, and concern are fundamentally important in your approach, because if you approach someone with judgement, you’re much less likely to achieve the desired impact.

  • AndiDurall said...
    September 20, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    I would not be upset. I have a Moby wrap too and didn’t know that they had changed that. In my booklet, they show how to do the on the back hold. I’ve never done it because it freaks me out but if I was wearing Ben wrong, I’d want someone to tell me!!! Even if they are upset, on some level they will appreciate it and it will sink into their minds. 😀

  • Anonymous said...
    September 20, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    I am the type that when a child darted out in front of my car at the farmer’s market, I followed him to his mother and told her what happened. Not because we were hurt or mad but I don’t want any mother to have to experience the loss of a child. I am not an extremist and I love my Moby. Maybe just say “Ma’am, I don’t know if you are aware, but the people who own the Moby company suggest that you don’t wear your baby in the Moby on your back. This is a new policy and most people who already own them are not aware of this. Our management has asked us to make all Moby wearing moms aware of this new stance.” Then maybe have some information available to give to them. Maybe this should be your new policy. Even if the mom is wearing the baby properly. I didn’t know you shouldn’t do it and I have only had my Moby for a couple of months.

  • Anonymous said...
    September 20, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    My take is, inform, but try not to criticize. Let the mom know you support her decision to wear her little one, and you’re so glad she is into attachment parenting. Along those lines, does she know that moby no longer recommends this position for safety reasons?

  • Cassie said...
    September 20, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    I agree with others… i’ve had a Moby for several years now and had NO idea that they changed their recommendations. Now, I don’t use my jersey Moby on my toddler any longer, no matter what position, because he exceeds the recommended max weight, and my baby is too little… but I DID wear my older son on my back… I would suggest to Moby, as one of their distributors, that they have a registration for the wrap, like many strollers, carseats, etc. do, so that if they DO change things or have a recall, they can notify their consumers.

  • erinwells said...
    September 20, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I would definitely want someone to tell me! I’d rather be a little embarassed for a few minutes than to risk hurting my baby. I know anyone at CB would approach the topic in a caring manner, so I wouldn’t be offended at all that someone was looking out for my child.

  • Sarah said...
    September 20, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I’m a mom of two little ones but not a babywearing expert. I think having signs posted with appropriate/inappropriate ways to wear a baby would be the best way to inform everyone who walks into the store. I would feel much less defensive/embarrassed if I noticed a sign and could then ask for help rather than being approached by a worker. I care about the safety of my child and would want to know, but it would have to be done gently and with respect. A fellow employee informed me that my new baby was not strapped in his seat correctly when I went back for a visit. She let me know that a lot of people aren’t aware of the correct way. I can’t remember exactly what she said, but I know I walked away thankful and not embarrassed. My son could have slipped right out of his seat had we been in an accident, and I would have never known that the chest clip is supposed to be up closer to his chin. Now, any time my family straps my kids in, I let them know that my co-worker showed me the correct way to strap them in. It makes me be less of a “bossy know-it-all” when I can let others know I was also unaware until a friend showed me. And I agree with those who have said that a mom might be wearing her baby in a way that looks wrong but might actually feel secure to her. Maybe you could offer her (and everyone in the store) a pamphlet with information about babywearing safety and new recalls/changes to carrier instructions. That way it’s done more discreetly and not as offensively.

  • Anonymous said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    If it had been me, I would have LOVED for someone to tell me- in a non offensive, caring manner. The last thing a mom wants (whether she is a first time mom or momma to 19) is to be told she is doing something “wrong”. I’ve found, as a parent, that when people bring up a parenting subject with me (vaccines, cloth diapers, circumcision, babywearing, co-sleeping), that a calm, tactful approach that gives me the facts is the best way for me to listen and change my mind. Also, I know as a parent, that if I were doing something unsafe, I WOULD want to know- but I certainly would not want it to be done in a public forum. Possibly approaching the mother and complimenting her on the fact that she enjoys wearing her baby, and then show her some “safe” ways to carry the baby- and THEN mention that the manufacturer just changed their recommendations on back wearing- might be the best way to approach it. Even if it seems like common sense…we all know that we hormonal mommies can sometimes have somewhat skewed judgement, which seems perfectly fine to us! I’ll be the first to admit- I am no where near a perfect mom, and there have been times I’ve done something, and later thought “wow, that was stupid, how come I didn’t realize that at the time?”. So yes, definitely, a kind word to her that could save a babies life would be wonderful!

    -mom to 2 boys. a nurse that uses delayed/alternate vaccine schedule, wears her babies, CD’s, breastfeeds (not always successfully), and circ’d her first boy, but not her second. (See, we all learn something when someone approaches us with kindness!)

  • Michelle said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I am the mother of three but used just regular old carriers with my first two,… didn’t get a nice wrap until this baby. I LOVE using my wrap but feel like there is still sooo much to learn!!! Gently brought up and discussed.. = no hard feelings..(in my book)!!!!!

  • Ruth said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Honestly… I’d rather have a Momma be angry at me for gently saying something than not and a baby ending up with a broken skull.

  • Tammy said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I am a Mom of 3 (14,9, and 3mos-surprise!!) and I would definitely want to know. Yes I would be embarrassed, who wants their mistakes pointed out (we are all trying our best),but when it comes to my child’s safety I would take embarrassment any day over a potentially dangerous situation. Once the parent is informed, whether or not they continue to use the item incorrectly is up to them, but I think it is our job as citizens of the parent community to gently inform each other of a dangerous situation. Informing someone is very different from confronting or accusing. Baby wearing check points would be a great idea! The last time I was at the pediatrician I mentioned the Moby Wrap that I use and my Dr was kind enough to inform me of the safe ways to carry my baby girl(he is AWESOME!!)

    Thanks for caring enough to even bring up the topic!

  • Anonymous said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    I actually had a fellow mom come up to me in my husband while he had our baby in the Beco to tell us to make sure the baby didn’t get over heated. I was already well aware of watching out for that and told her so but thanked her for looking out for our baby. There are many who are new to BW and don’t know certain things and babies safety comes first!!
    On another note, I saw a dad carrying his child (appeared to be about one) in a Bjorn facing forward! It was painful to look at but I bit my tongue as it wasn’t necessarily an imminent danger situation.

  • Amy/Gabi said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    I didn’t babywear my first very much at all and I got a Sleepy Wrap for my second, which is even stretchier than the Moby. I didn’t know about not using a stretchy wrap for back carries until this article, so I’m glad you posted it. I would probably want to be told somehow, but not in a way that made it seem like you were just another person trying to tell me how to raise my kids… as there are a ton out there. 😉

  • Mom to the Power of 3 said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I’m a mom of 3 (4, 2, and 8mo) and also a parent educator for the Parents as Teachers program. In my job, I’m having to gently suggest things to parents all the time. ie. – making sure they are getting tummy time, sleeping on their backs, and not introducing solids too early. If told in a polite and informative manner, parents are usually appreciative of information that will keep their babies safe. 🙂

  • Jen M said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    When my daughter was really young (think under 6 months), we went to Happy Baby Company’s new retail store. While there, the owner noticed we had her strapped into her carseat ALL WRONG! He delicately approached the subject and was so kind as he showed us the correct way to strap her in. I have never had anything but admiration for him telling me that, and literally every single time I use our car seat now, I think abotu Adam going above and beyond to help keep our baby safe.

    It helped that I already sort of knew him a little bit, btu I’ve heard the same story from other mamas who had the exact same experience with him at the store. It shows a personal investment. I can see how someone might feel offended if you don’t have that relationship, but praying for the other person to receive it with the spirit intended can go a long way, as can a humble spirit when talking to the person.

  • Tara said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    I wasn’t even aware that they changed that recommendation. I would love if someone had told me…..but honestly, if I felt comfortable wearing my child that way I still would. I know that sounds bad but I read the recs and then decide for myself b/c they change so often. I totally would have thanked you for the info though.

  • Ashley said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    It’s a tough one b/c people do things differently. Some moms in my playgroup have their 15 month olds forward facing in the carseat. We have decided to go with the new recommendations and keep our daughter rear facing until she reaches the weight limit on the seat. Should I say something to the moms in case they haven’t heard the new recommendations? Maybe the lady had been wearing her child like that for a long time and felt secure. Everyone has a different concept of safety.
    On a side note thanks for publishing this b/c we were actually planning on wearing our 17 month old daughter on our backs in the Moby for a hike in a few weeks. Now we won’t!

  • T Rex Mom said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I think because your store sells these, it’s an easy transition to simply strike up a conversation and then mention you sell this item and get the most up-to-date information on products and recently found out it was no longer suggested baby be worn in back due to safety issues. Maybe even say that her instructions probably give information on wearing baby in back but because of recent safety concerns it is no longer recommended.

    I know I always want to know about such things. It’s all in the way it’s done, though. I’ve had my feelings hurt and I’ve also felt gratitude for situations like these.

  • Christy said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    That’s a tough one. I think no matter how polite you try to be some people will just automatically go on the defense. Moms constantly judge themselves and rather we admit it or not we are all guilty of judging another mom at some point or another. Because we have all done it at least once if a stranger comes up to try and offer advice we automatically throw up our walls thinking we are being judged. At the sane time if i was honestly making a mistake and was not aware of it i would want to know. Maybe you could put up some signs saying employees ate more than happy to help anyone with any questions on how to use a product nor even just some signs that list appropriate and inappropriate ways of using wraps/baby carriers.
    It’s a senstive subject that’s for sure! I am a mom off 4 and I am still constantly questioning my mothering skills and worried others are judging me when my kids misbehave in public.

  • Anonymous said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    One thing to think about: have you ever seen the African mommies wearing their babies?? It would seem to many of us that those babies are “unsafe” but the mommies don’t seem one bit worried!

  • Heidi said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    I’ve only been a mom for 7.5 months and often feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. So if someone sees me doing something they know the manufacturer is against… I would definitely want to know about it.

  • StephC said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    I’m a mom of 2 wonderful kids, ages 5 and 2 1/2. I only have one carrier, a Mei Tei. And while I feel I’ve done my share of research on the internet as to the safest ways to use my carrier if someone in a store such as Cotton Babies came up to me and politely struck up a conversation about baby wearing as Rachael suggested I don’t think I would be offended.

    Baby wearing can be confusing. I’ve seen photos at online stores of babies in carries in positions specifically against the intended use, yet the photos are still there. There are disclaimers, but I still feel it can confuse a parent. In the end we all want what’s best for baby.

  • Stinky Pete said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    I’m a new momma and I’m new to baby wearing. Babywearing is something that has really defined my experience as a mother, giving me a way to bond with my baby and allowing me to experience some freedom. I would want someone to say something to me. There is a lot of confusion around babywearing (especially the difference between the jersey wraps and woven wraps). With all the DYIing going on around babywearing, I think it’s really important that people understand the risks and dangers in imporperly wearing a baby. I guess I put it up there with carseats. I would never be embarassed to hear that I was putting the baby in the carseat the wrong way; I’d be glad she was safer in it with the correction.

    One other thought, one of the places in my area that sells cloth diapers and carriers offers babywearing classes (how great). Maybe this is something Cotton Babies could do at their store as well!

  • Anonymous said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    @strollerfreak – The car seat straps are only dangerous that way in a forward facing seat. At or below shoulders is what is advised in a rear facing seat.

  • valerierouse said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I would have to say that I’d be horrifed and really emabarassed…butttt I’d be even more upset if my daughter broke her head. Safety first 🙂

    -regular mom

  • dannyscotland said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    I’m a mom of one daughter who is almost 2. I no longer wear her very often, because she’s usually walking on her own or in a stroller or shopping cart seat. When she was little, I wore her a lot, but didn’t have a stretchy sling at first. I always wear her in front when I do, even when she got bigger. I read the instructions and put her in the best I could. If I went into a store that’s known for its baby items and has a good reputation like Cotton Babies (or any other CDing store), and someone told me my baby wasn’t safe, even if I felt embarrassed or upset, I would still want to know. I care more about my daughter than my pride. I would, however, want the person to do it quietly, discreetly, and with a compliment to start out. (This is something I learned as a teacher; start every conference with a positive; also try not to use the word “you” if it can be helped, as it tends to put people on the defensive). Maybe they could say something nice about the baby, how cute or whatever, and maybe find out the baby’s name; comment on how great it is that I’m wearing her, ask how it’s going and first see if I say anything about having trouble with it. Then if not, say something like, “I noticed that Baby/Susie is not as safe as she could be in her sling. May I demonstrate another/a safer/a different/etc. way for her to be worn?”

    I think it’s really wonderful the way you strive to be careful and considerate of parents’ feelings. Moms are attacked all too often for any number of things they are doing “wrong”, but safety should certainly be a priority. I think that if your staff goes about it the right way, it could certainly make a potentially difficult situation into a really positive one.

  • Elizabeth C said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    I approached a mama at the zoo when I saw her wearing her child in a recalled infantino sling. I simply asked her if she knew about the recall and reassured her that I wasn’t trying to “other mother” her. She responded well and said she would definitely check it out. Unfortunately, I saw her again later, with the babe in the sling, but at least she was aware of the situation.

  • Tami said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    I’m not an activist on the issue by any means, but just another momma! I understand there are some moms that might be new to babywearing and may not understand, but in any case, I would hope the mother would secure the baby, new to babywearing or not. If the baby is hanging out- that’s another story. Definitely say something. But more often than not, I would say the mom can feel how secure the child is by the tightness of the wrap and by baby’s movements. I HAVE worn a child on my back with the Moby (since it was in the instructions I tried it!) and I made sure she was very secure. There was no way she could’ve fallen. I haven’t done it since, just because it’s hard to get them up there! I did have someone question the security of my older baby in a sling one day, but that child was so tight against my body, her little bottom couldn’t have slid out if it wanted to!

    Bottom line- if the child is obviously perched precariously and dangerously close to falling, say something polite. Otherwise, mom probably knows how secure she tied baby and could tell if baby is getting too loose.

  • steph said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    I am a mom of 3 (5,3,and 1)and I have worn all three of them in various carriers over the year. It’s interesting you posted this b/c on the same idea our local talk radio was discussing if you should confront a parent who was obviously incorrectly using their child seat or not using one at all ( ie putting an infant seat in forwards, putting a toddler in a booster, etc). Basically I think it’s our responsability to offer help to someone using a product incorrectly that could seriously hurt their child. I would approach this by saying something along the lines of ” hi! i noticed your cute baby in your carrier and couldn’t not speak, b/c I would feel SO horrible if something ever happened. did you know that Moby has actually recommended that their wraps no longer be used in a back carrying position.” I think if you put the child’s safety as your main concern than the majority of parents are going to hear you out and not take offense.Some people will take offense no matter how you word it, but I would think even if they don’t give you the time of day, that warning will heed in their head and they will at least look into it on their own.

    I can’t imagine how guilty I would feel if I didn’t say something and then witnessed the child getting seriously hurt. As a distributor I think it’s your duty to say something, just say it out of love.

  • Anonymous said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    I think it is worth addressing. If it’s a matter of safety, it deserves attention. Many moms aren’t aware that this is not advised. Sharing that information, politley and discreetly, will likely be appreciated. I think a simple, ”The manufacturer of that wrap has recently changed their recommendations. They now advise against back carries due to a fall risk.” is all that’s probably needed. If they have more questions, you’ll be happy to answer them.

  • Meredith said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I think I would respond best if you (or another staff member) told me that there were “a few adjustments I could make to make you more comfortable and your baby safer”. That way, you aren’t exactly saying that anyone is doing anything wrong, more that they are close but there is room for improvement.
    Your timing on this is downright strange, I saw pictures of a friend of mine babywearing last night that bothered me, and can’t figure out what to say or how to say something to her about it.

  • strollerfreak said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I would want to be told…I buy many things second hand and they may have outdated or missing instructions. (Yes, I do look for the owners manuals online.)

    I would approach it the same way as I approach a parent who has their carseat installed improperly…it’s a touchy subject, and it’s always best to complement them on something FIRST to get a good foot in the door, and then subtly mention that there is a better way of doing what they are doing. (Wow, you still have your kiddo in a harness, good for you, but did you know that the harness straps are supposed to be at or above his/her shoulders? It’s actually really dangerous to have them coming out from behind his/her back like that.)

  • Anonymous said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Hurt feelings can be gotten over. A broken bone will heal, but a head injury, maybe not. I am certainly all for education even if the mom knows better. Like you said, she may have had no idea it was a potentially dangerous situation. When it comes to a child’s safety, that comes first. Mom’s feelings on being approached about it come second. I can certainly see your dilemma. I would have no problem with someone approaching me if they thought my child was in danger by something I was unintentionally doing, or even if it were intentional, I would appreciate the concern. I have, many times, offered safety advice to another parent, usually due to car seat issues. I haven’t once had a negative reply, only gratitude expressed, as they were uneducated on the situation and what was considered safe. Good luck with your situation. Just remember why you are in the business, you love babies and want what’s best for them!

    Jennifer McK

  • Jenna said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    I think that even if a momma would be defensive at first once she went home to think about it she would be thankful that you brought it to her attention. As mom’s we don’t always have the time to check up on things like recalls or changes in products/procedures. I think having an open door where mom’s with question can come and ask is a great idea! Keep up the great work CottonBabies!!

  • Laura Webber said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    I love baby-wearing for my children and I would definitely strike up a conversation with ANY baby wearing Mom to find out why they chose their carrier, plus I’d like to find out the pro’s and con’s that they have experienced. I think asking questions makes the Mom feel like A) you care about her/her opinions, B) you are looking for information to make a well informed decision for yourself and it also allows you to mention that you’ve never seen that particular method of baby-wearing with that carrier, and it opens an opportunity to ask if its recommended by the manufacturer.

    I have mentioned (gently) to parents wearing their baby in a recalled sling (I think its Infantanimo) that it is indeed recalled and that they may want to look at the company’s website to see if their model is included in the recall.

    Its definitely a touchy subject, but I’d want someone to tell me if my baby/child was at risk!

  • Crystal Biehl said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I think as long as you didn’t make me feel stupid..I would want to know. I’m perfectly fine with another parent giving me advice or gently letting me know if there’s a better way to do something. So long as they are respectful of me and my feelings.

    I like what Melissa said at the end of her post–that would be a very respectful and helpful way to address the situation.

  • MommyFerg02 said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    I would want you to tell me and I think the safety checks are a great idea! I don’t babywear much so it wouldn’t suprise me if I was making a mistake. I def see now harm in politely correcting a mama as long as you don’t come across as a know it all lol.

  • Jessie said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    I think it would be appreciated as long as it’s addressed privately and in a gentle manner (not condescending or harsh, which I’m sure wouldn’t happen in your store anyway). Of course the mom would probably be a bit embarrassed, but I would personally rather be embarrassed for a few moments than continue to do something that could possibly harm my child!

    Honestly I didn’t know that it wasn’t recommended to use the Moby wrap for a back carry, it didn’t seem secure to me, but I thought that was just a personal thing. We use a Mei Tai for back carries, sling for hip carry and moby for front carry. It may seem like a lot, but we love our baby wearing 😉

  • Kandice said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I totally agree with Rachael. I have a moby, I had no idea they no longer recommend back carrying. I think there is almost always a polite way to address it, and it should be addressed!

  • Becky said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    I’m new to your blog (followed a link from facebook), and I’m not local to your store, but I love my cloth diapers and I think as a mom of a young child (7 months) I have an opinion that might be of some use to you.
    I think that approaching people directly is going to make them defensive, no matter how you do it. What I would suggest is maybe some signage in the store letting people know that you are happy to help them figure out how to best use their wraps. And also maybe some pictures of suggested ways to wear the wrap, and things that you definitely shouldn’t do. These don’t need to be complicated signs, but I think leaving it up to Moms to ask is going to be received better than approaching them. Especially if you approach some Moms but not all.

  • Melissa said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    I saw something similar in the airport a few weeks ago. A woman was carrying what appeared to be a newborn (under 4 months at least) in an Ergo with the baby facing out. I was shocked as my baby could easily kick herself out in that position at that age. We were in passing so a comment wasn’t possible.

    If it was me I don’t think I would be offended if it was handled politely. An “Oh my god! What are you thinking!?!?” would definitely offend but a polite “Can I show you a really great secure tie with your wrap?” would be ok.

  • Rachael said...
    September 20, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I would want you to tell me, because my Moby came with instructions on how to wear your baby on your back. So I’d want to know that their recommendations changed. I think there is a polite way to ask/mention “Hey, how difficult is it for you to get your baby tied onto your back? Ever had an issues with slippage? I planned to try it but then saw recently that Moby changed their recommendations” etc. versus being rude and hurting a mama’s feelings “ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL YOUR BABY???” lol.