Extreme Babywearing: Fun or Foolish?

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alwayssmile's picture
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Extreme Babywearing: Fun or Foolish?

blog post: http://welcometotowerland.blogspot.com/2012/02/extreme-babywearing-fun-or-foolish.html

Any thoughts about this? Be sure and read about the mom who went rock climbing! :eek:

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Yep, I have to agree... a lot of that seems foolish. I wouldn't rock climb with a baby on my back. Not because baby-wearing isn't safe, but because ROCK-CLIMBING isn't safe. Know what I mean?

That said, this brings up an interesting point that DH and I have run into living in Laos. The main mode of transportation for MOST families here (locals that is) is a moped... dad drives, and mom sits behind him holding the baby- sometimes in a sling, sometimes not. Also, it's quite common that dad might have a toddler or older child standing or sitting between his legs in front. Car seats pretty much don't exist here (we have one, but we brought it with us from the US), and your average Lao person can't afford a car, never mind a car seat. So we are SURROUNDED by kids on mopeds, on main roads, usually without any safety gear.

We're also up against the fact that we have one car, and my DH has a moped. If I take the car, but don't take DD, he's stuck at home with her. I don't know how to drive the moped, and we absolutely cannot afford a second car- we could barely afford the first one. So some would say, it's plain as day, DH just doesn't go anywhere with DD if I need to go out with the car. For some it would not be a question. I want to say that it's clear cut for me as well, but, it's actually like being between a rock and a hard place. And so I'll admit, I've let DH strap DD in the Ergo to take her to my BIL/SILs on the moped. I would definitely like to get her a helmet, but, at the same time I don't really want to encourage her riding on the moped any more than necessary.

So yeah... it's an interesting issue when you look at it outside the spectrum of "western safety standards". That said... riding the moped with a baby on your back is a matter of necessity... rock-climbing with your infant on your back... probably not so much.

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I want to chime in here about the moped...on our honeymoon we went to a little island in Mexico called Isla Mujeres, and saw the same thing--families absolutely PILED on mopeds, babies dangling everywhere. It was alarming at first, until we realized that the only car traffic was little taxis--most of the traffic on the street was mopeds, bikes, and golf carts. Yes, a moped accident can happen anywhere, but I think it's a different risk level to do something like that in a place where mopeds are a large part of the traffic flow and cars are not a huge danger, vs. in America where you'd be surrounded by crazy car traffic and the danger of getting hit by something bigger than yourself would be really high. If that makes you feel any better Smile I would get her a helmet, though. Not getting one just because you don't really want her riding on there but then doing it anyway is kind of faulty logic...logic I understand, but really, if you're going to be honest about the fact that it will happen from time to time given the circumstances, I say go ahead and do it as safely as possible!

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That's really fascinating to hear about! Great points about doing what's necessary and what isn't. Rocking climbing and other dangerous sports aren't necessary parts of life at all for the majority of people. For me riding a moped is definitely not a part of normal life, but for you it can be necessary at times. Reminds me that I was seriously asked once if I dove while wearing DS. Most definitely not because we only have cars and DS is always in a car seat where it's safest.
I was quite shocked about the lady rocking climbing and such with the baby on her! I remember thinking, "why the heck would somebody CHOOSE to do this WITH their baby?!" I'm all about BWing (duh lol), but there are some activities I don't BW for knowing that it's not a good idea in the least bit. When DS was little, I never cooked while wearing because he was always on my front! Even now when he's on my back sometimes while cooking, I'll never fry or do other potentially dangerous cooking things with him back there. Why take the risk with my precious child if I don't have to?!

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I totally agree. If I need a helmet for an activity (and most of those did) then my baby doesn't belong strapped on my back for that activity. Climbing is safe most of the time. When its not it can be VERY unsafe. A guy in my fellowship program recently plummeted 30 ft breaking like 20 bones. There's no way in hell you'd see me BWing while climbing. I've fallen enough from 3-5 ft to tell you that's stupid. I saw a guy riding his bike near the university with his toddler strapped to his back. Oy! I love cycling and I didn't let DH put DD in our bike trailer until she was like 14 months old and her head was about an inch larger in circumference than the minimum required for her helmet. And you best believe I'm not ever letting her ride around without a helmet! OK, that kinda went off topic. Wink

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Yeah...completely agree about the necessity factor. I don't even feel comfortable putting DD on a bike now, but that's because I am not that experienced of a cyclist and I am terrified of traffic--I will only bike places I can get to on back roads or roads with REALLY NICE bike lanes.

But if I lived somewhere where bikes were a huge part of life and most people didn't have cars, it would be totally different.

(Slightly OT: Erin, we watched the first two episodes of Portlandia last night, and the bike sketch was the BEST.)

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"cactuswren" wrote:

(Slightly OT: Erin, we watched the first two episodes of Portlandia last night, and the bike sketch was the BEST.)

On your LEFT!

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Yep, if it's necessary, you have to do what you have to do (riding on the moped). Otherwise I'm not risking my child just so I can have "fun".

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My husband showed me this picture tonight! Eek!

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"alwayssmile" wrote:

My husband showed me this picture tonight! Eek!

RIDICULOUS!!! I don't know much about wind-surfing, but I'm pretty sure at some point you go down, and fall in the water... what happens to that baby strapped in like that then???? Seriously, there are some STUPID people in the world!!!!

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Aaahh!! I agree--how will he keep the baby's head above water when he goes in??? I'm pretty sure that falls under child endangerment.

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I really hope that's a fake.

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"TiggersMommy" wrote:

I really hope that's a fake.

Ditto, good lord.