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The close contact of the baby with the body of its parents is very important, especially during the first months of the child's life. Baby carrier backpacks are still a trend widely used by parents, as they allow them to have their baby safe, protected and close to their body, at the same time that they carry out many other activities.
He Dr. Cesar García Fontecha, Pediatric orthopedist at the Vall D’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona, has answered GuiaInfantil.com some questions about baby carriers.
1. In what stages of the baby is the use of the baby carrier indicated?
From a safety and posture point of view, the backpacks available on the market today are designed to carry the baby from birth, generally establishing a minimum weight of 3.5 kilos. From an affective and sensory exchange point of view, both the newborn and the mother or father benefit from using a baby carrier from the first days of life. At the other extreme, current designs allow two-year-olds to be carried without problems.
2. What is the best position to carry the baby in the backpack, facing the parents or facing forward?
The newborn baby has weak muscles in his spine and neck, and also the relative size of the head with respect to his body is greater, which increases the risk of neck injuries if he suffers a sudden movement. For this reason, in this period, the best posture is facing the parents and the backpack should cover the neck area stabilizing the head.
However, between 3 and 6 months, the baby progressively acquires the muscle strength to hold the head and maintain the trunk firmly, while developing distant vision and becoming curious about the world around him.
At this time the child can be positioned facing forward as long as the backpack is correctly designed for it and thus can look out into the world while maintaining the sense of security provided by contact with the mother or father and turning the outside into a large field of game.
3. Is there a relationship between baby carriers and hip dysplasia in babies?
Hip dysplasia is characterized by the fact that the acetabulum or socket, the area of the pelvis where the head of the femur articulates, is underdeveloped, has little concavity to properly house the head of the femur, and it can become dislocated (or dislocated).
This is a congenital situation produced by genetic and mechanical factors within the uterus and requires specific treatment by the pediatric orthopedic specialist. It has not been described that a baby carrier can favor the development of hip dysplasia and in fact, in a backpack, the hips of the baby are placed open, with the legs apart, which stimulates the correct development of the acetabulum.
4. What should parents consider when buying a backpack for their baby?
To promote contact between a parent and the baby in a harmonious way, the backpack must provide security and comfort for both. The backpack must be designed to protect the baby and to ensure adequate support and position avoiding compression areas or straps that could cause injury.
Likewise, it must have a correct support for the carrier that allows him to properly distribute the weight and avoid the appearance of muscle fatigue. The shoulder straps should be wide and padded, and it is recommended, if the size of the mother or father allows it, that they have lumbar or pelvic support. Also, the backpack should be comfortable for both.
Comfortable for the child, adjustable in size and with a fabric appropriate for the climate, cool in summer and with accessories for the cold, breathable and washable. Comfortable for the wearer, easy to put on and take off, with simple snap-on and easy-to-release closures that cannot be released by themselves or that the baby can release.
5. In your opinion, is it safer and more comfortable for the baby to be carried in a backpack or scarves?
From a security point of view, a backpack that has passed all manufacturing controls is more appropriate, as it guarantees that the device is expressly designed and tested. From the point of view of comfort, the backpacks that have been on the market for the longest time have improved their designs and today offer products that are really simple to use.
You can read more articles similar to The baby carriers. How parents should use them, in the category of Porting on site.