Today am saddened by hearing that yet another sling company is going out of business because their products resembled something that was recalled earlier this spring. As much as I want safety for our babies, I also want truthful product advertising, and not fearful avoidance of really good products because they 'might' be used unsafely. As I taught a new family how to tuck their new babe into a wrap today (see below for a demo of this style) I realized just how useful carriers of this type are to parents, and how much I rely on them to get things done in my doula life (and earlier in my newborn parenting life). It disappoints me that so many are not having the benefit of several wonderful carriers because the businesses could not withstand the shake-up of a few unsafe models that needed to be recalled (and sling makers have asked for this recall for many years, long before there was a reported death).
There are many blogs out there covering the recent sling deaths, ensuing recalls, and aftermath. I won't go into all of it here. I just didn't realize the far reaching consequences of widespread public panic over sling use. And it is a shame.
Babies have been worn safely for centuries. If there were unsafe practices with tying your infant onto your body, we wouldn't have developed all the techniques we have for allowing parents to have their arms free while still supporting their children. We may have lost some of this working knowledge, but it has been a growing movement in the past decade, and we all expected it to continue. I am so sad that instead of this recall empowering parents to buy the safety approved slings, it has caused them to avoid some great products, to the point that companies are scaling back or closing up shop all together.
I am glad that several of my favorite products are still available and selling (like the water wrap here--clearly a safe option). I just would prefer to see a bump in the road--not a complete roadblock--of sling makers as we all strive to make things that are helpful to parents AND safe for babies.
My heart goes out to the small business owners who make some fine products that are no longer available to us as doulas and parents. May your life find new opportunities to help and support families with newborns. And we will be scouring the resale shops for your great products, perhaps for years to come.