Chutes and Toddlers

A least a half dozen friends forwarded me the the New York Times article about injuries toddlers receive when going down the slide with their parent. It seems counterintuitive, but when a child goes down a slide with an adult, they are more at risk of being injured if their hand or foot gets caught on the slide.  The additional weight of the parent can break a toddler’s arm or leg, and apparently this is a common injury in ERs.

I have always been advocate of letting my children go solo at the playground. (Although have been spotted on a few slides, it was more for my own enjoyment than helicopter parenting.) That said, it’s not always easy getting a child to take the plunge for the first time, so I certainly cannot begrudge any parent doubling as a toboggan.

And be aware, a hands off PG approach has its downside. My 4 year old son has broken his arm twice due to his adventurous spirit that his dad encouraged.

But I always tell him, broken bones heal, chicks dig scars, and Park Slope has the highest toddler-to-pediatrician ratio on the country.

Baby Slings: Mothering Bond or Smothering Bind?

After a sling trip to the Met, my back felt like I built the pyramids.

Apparently, wearing your baby is either  an in vogue way to bond with your child, or incredibly irresponsible, depending on which article you read in the New York Times this week.

The Latest in Strollers, Mom and Dad” talks about how more parents are getting baby carriers and eschewing strollers.  In addition to “fostering a strong attachment,” baby carriers are popular with parenteratti, “with celebrities like Brad Pitt and Keri Russell” seen wearing their children. (I guess this helps justify buying a $540 designer sling ?!, which is essentially a piece of cloth.)

Yet a few pages deeper in the paper was the article, “Govt to Warn on Baby Slings Because of Deaths.” The Consumer Product Safety Commission is about to issue a warning about the possible suffocation risks with certain baby slings.

It’s enough to make an overprotective parents head explode!

From my own experience, a slings are safe and great for short trips, but would never replace my stroller.

I know other babies love the child to parent contact, but my son rarely slept while strapped on, and we tried 3 different carriers.  But he always napped soundly (and still does) in the stroller.

He outgrew his Baby Bjorn at 13 months(the Bjorn has 25 lb weight limit , you’d think the strapping Swedes would accomodate a bigger baby), he kept slipping through the Moby (you need to take a lesson from the Merchant Marine Acadamy to make sure that thing is secure,) and by the time we got the Ergo, which mom, dad and baby all liked, he was just too heavy to carry around for any extended periods.

And the usefulness of a carrier diminishes after tour child is a year old.  Maybe the mothers of !Kung San tribe in the Kalahari can carry 25+ pounds strapped to their body all day, but my back can’t take more than a couple of hours max. I leaned this the hard way. “We don’t need the stroller,” I arrogantly told my wife before a trip to the  Metropolitan Museum of Art when my son was less than 6 month old.  The next day my back was so sore I could barely get out of bed (although Nate did really like the Egyptian wing.)

Quasimodo never used a stoller

Maybe all these people who never use a stroller and call them “isolation pods” are all married to chiropractors. Because if I had to rely on a sling to get my son around, I’d look like Quasimodo after the first 6 months.

I am interested to see what the official Consumer Product Safety Commission warning says, but I’m guessing common sense will apply, ie. make sure your baby’s airway is always clear, and don’t let them curl up in a ball at the bottom of a rucksack.

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