Carrying children in a sling or on a practical stretcher has its advantages, its disadvantages, but also certain pitfalls. Much depends on the correct choice of stretcher or sling, as well as the method and duration of wearing. What is the opinion and advice of physiotherapists?
In addition to the pram, slings and ergonomic stretchers are a widely used and increasingly popular means of transporting children. If the child is physiologically fit and physically healthy and the parents are informed of the type of sling to be used, or they obtain the correct ergonomic stretcher that corresponds to the age of the child, and the child does not wear the sling for several hours every day, then this type of wear is in terms of the baby’s health and development is perfectly fine.
VIDEO: What should a baby look like with a scarf?
“It is important to keep in mind that the scarf or stretcher is used for transport, not for the development of movement. “Give it as much as you can.” emphasizes physiotherapist Eva Prokůpková.
Sling or stretcher?
“The main difference between a stretcher and a sling is that the sling is universal during the entire carrying period, it can carry newborns and preschoolers. legs in the abduction-flexion position, the fabric the stretcher or sling holds the baby firmly so that it does not balance, the baby is dressed appropriately so that there is a thermal bond between him and mom or dad.” describes physiotherapist Iva Gondeková.
For a suitable scarf or stretcher, it is good to go to specialized stores. If you buy the first sling, the sellers can advise you on how to properly attach the child to the sling. Some stores also organize scarf tying class. To choose a scarf, it is good to know what types of ties you will use it on, and whether a softer or stronger scarf will suit you better. Saleswomen can help you with all of this.
There are three basic rules for selecting stretchers:
- The child must always face the bearer, that is to say the one who carries the child.
- The child’s back should be round, at least until the age of 14 months.
- The knees should be higher than the hips (so-called M position).
The baby feels safe in the sling
The advantages of wearing a headscarf certainly include the child’s close contact with his mother and the child’s sense of security. Certain positions in the wrap relieve bloating, in winter the child does not breathe cold air, but air that has already warmed up slightly against the wearer’s body. The benefits of the scarf while traveling will be fully appreciated only by those who have already traveled by public transport with a stroller.
Hands-free is also an undeniable advantage. You can roll the scarf up on the road, use it as a mat on the floor or as a blanket if the child falls asleep. With the right harness or a correctly selected stretcher, the child has what is called abduction position in the hip joints (legs apart), which is a position used when the hip joints are not developing properly (congenital hip dysplasia).
The disadvantages of wearing as well as the advantages affect both the wearer and the child being carried. Carriers can hurt their backs from carrying them and they should always have a backpack for long journeys – they don’t load anything into the stroller. Carrying the child (especially all day) prevents him from actively and independently exploring his environment and does not provide him with space for independent play.
Scarves and stretchers can affect physical development
“As a physical therapist, I see some of the pitfalls of carrying children. If a child is not developing properly (affects up to 30% of children), carrying can exacerbate this incorrect movement development. Physical activity , and therefore much-needed muscle interactions cannot be created,” presents Eva Prokůpková.
Problems can also arise if the harness is incorrectly selected or the wrong stowage (low harness, wrong position selected) or in the wrong stretcher. If the carried child has a straight back (for example, facing the carrier), there is a lot of pressure on the spine, and the child is therefore mainly at risk of back pain in the future.
Children 6-9 months should also not be carried in an upright position if they have healthy hips. There is also a risk that the child will choke or suffocate if restrained – tilting his head or covering his mouth and nose with his mother’s body or the fabric of the sling.
Check out some videos on how to properly tie a scarf:
Cross with a pocket inside – for children who already keep their heads up
You can also carry a newborn in the sling, but then it is advisable that the baby lie down in the sling.
Cradle in the cross with a pocket inside
What is the opinion of physiotherapists? If a physically healthy child has scars, proper slings or stretchers are used, and the child does not wear a sling all day, this method of wearing should not have a negative impact on their health . However, placement in a sling or stretcher does not lead to the development of movement. They must be used wisely and leave enough freedom for the child on the ground or in the cradle to play and develop his motor skills.
A physiotherapist, a neurologist or an orthopedist will be able to advise you
Among physiotherapists, orthopaedists, neurologists and doctors in general, there are very different views on wearing the headscarf, from complete damnation to enthusiastic approval. “It is always important that a particular mother takes the advice or recommendations of her treating specialist. If a physiotherapist justifies why not, and the mother understands that he must follow his advice. However, if he stops carry for fear of authority, I recommend I think that if the right rules are followed, there are no restrictions, the mother can carry the baby in a sling or baby carrier as needed, we know babies who wore almost non-stop for the first few months, 10 to 12 hours a day, simply needed to “wear”, and they did not show musculoskeletal disorders at an advanced age”, says Iva Gondekova.