Monthly Archives: August 2011

Right and Wrong Ways to Carry a Baby?

Baby wrap forwardWho knew that the way a child faces you affects their development? According to a recent piece in The Daily Mail, just facing your child forward and away from the mother makes the baby “suffer” and become an anxious adult. The same rule applies to parents using strollers.

According to Professor Catherine Fowler, parents who have a child face forward are “cruel and selfish”:

“Imagine if you were strapped to someone’s chest with your legs and arms flailing, heading with no control into a busy shopping center – it would be terrifying. Outward-facing baby carriers and prams give babies a bombardment of stimulus, creating a very stressful situation. In not considering our baby’s perspective, we are inadvertently quite cruel to children.”

At the same time, others decree that a baby facing its mother too much gets bored and needs to see the world. Seems like whatever a parent does, it’s wrong.

On one extreme is the Swedish woman in Massachusetts who left a baby in a stroller outside of a restaurant for 10 minutes and is currently being investigated. Yet, the woman claims that this practice is common in her home country.

The other is the trend of babywearing. A child, in a sling, is carried close to and facing his mother. According to a piece about babywearing from The Lufkin News, the child bonds better with its mothers and, as a result, cries less and is more restful. The mother, as well, has her hands free and is able to do daily tasks while carrying her child.

No matter if you agree with these experts or think their results are just more for parents to worry about, several options for carrying a child are available. Dada Baby Boutique, for instance, offers baby carriers that range from slings to wraps, and products allow a parent to face a child backwards or forward.

Should You Bring Young Children to Restaurants, Bars, Concerts?

Baby in restaurantIn July, McDain’s Restaurant in Monroeville, Pa., decided to ban children under 6 years of age. Their reasoning? Children disturb other customers and are loud. Because children, unlike the elderly, are not a protected class, banning them is legal.

Parents, of course, disagree. Such rules, they argue in an editorial from PennLive.com, will reduce business and ultimately punish responsible parents.

But, at the same time, what constitutes a “responsible parent”? One who takes a child outside when he or she starts screaming? One who makes sure a child behaves well around adults? Or one who does not take his or her children to adult-oriented places and events, such as concerts and bars?

Tony Hicks, a writer for the Costa Contra Times argues for the former. Detailing his experience at a recent Katy Perry concert, which, in design only, appears kid-friendly, Hicks takes a stance that some spaces, such as concerts late at night, simply aren’t for young children – who should be in bed, rather than be brought along. Additionally, he states that toddlers and young children should not be exposed to the drunken and disorderly behavior, drugs, and sexual atmosphere of many concerts:

The bottom line is that some concerts shouldn’t be open to kids of a certain age. I could see taking a 12-year-old to Katy Perry; maybe even a 10-year-old. But 2 and 4? That’s why they have “Sesame Street Live,” the Wiggles, “Disney on Ice” and Justin Bieber, who’s kind of like a Muppet with better hair. Kids aren’t supposed to be our little party buddies. They’re supposed to be home, getting a good night’s sleep. They have plenty of time to get their eardrums blown out at concerts later in life.

Do you agree with Hicks, that some spaces should be reserved only for adults? Should children always be brought along? And, should restaurants be put in the same category as Slipknot or Katy Perry concerts?

Angry Birds, Nice Baby Products?

Angry Birds Baby ProductsWhile a onesie printed with Kate Moss’s quote “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” is inappropriate for a child, do Angry Birds baby products fall into the same realm? Not exactly. In an effort to expand its brand, the developers behind game Angry Birds are introducing a line of blankets and clothing after the success of their toys.

One of the top apps for Apple mobile products, Angry Birds is played by 40 million users monthly. In the game developer’s foray into toys, 7 million items have been sold so far. As the licensing and merchandising division is the fastest growing section of the company, rolling out Angry Birds baby products seemed to be the next step for expansion.

SwaddleDesigns, the first company to introduce the large swaddling baby blanket, is making the baby products, which are now available for preorder. But, does such a violent and Alfred Hitchcock-esque concept behind the game translate to baby products? According to creative director Lynette Damir in a press release from SwaddleDesigns, it does:

“As parents, one aspect of Angry Birds we appreciate is how protective the birds are and how much they love their offspring. It’s one of the characters’ endearing qualities that resonates with parents everywhere, and a key reason we believe Angry Birds fans will be enthusiastic about our new line of Angry Bird baby products. We’re excited and honored to be Rovio’s partner to bring these fun, playful and loveable characters to SwaddleDesigns product line.”

Current retailers of Angry Birds toys will carry the baby products, and the brand is expanding to newer vendors.

While novelty baby products and less-typical baby clothes are nothing new, would you purchase an Angry Birds blanket or onesie for your baby? Or, are such items designed solely for fans of the game?

Could Early Gender Detection Result in More Sex-Selective Abortions?

Early Sex Determination TestTwo items regarding a baby’s sex hit the news over the past few weeks: Tests that determine a fetus’ sex at seven weeks, and preference by adult males in the United States for boy babies over girls. These coinciding news stories bring up one issue: Could sex-selective abortions become just as common in the United States as they are in India and China?

According to a recent Gallup poll, young American men between the ages of 18 and 29 prefer to have a boy baby over a girl by a 40- to 28-percent margin. At the same time, however, asking males exclusively about the sex of a future child is only one part of an argument for potential growing sex-selective abortions in the United States. Women’s perspectives need to be taken into account and will likely end up with different figures for the preference of a baby’s sex.

At the same time, such tests came to national attention recently. While only available through private companies in the United States at the moment, such tests can determine a fetus’ gender at seven weeks and are 95-percent accurate. Unlike standard home pregnancy tests, however, those for determining a baby’s gender use blood and are sent to a lab for testing.

But, why is finding out a child’s sex so early important? While some parents and potential parents clearly have preferences, these tests are ultimately helpful in determining the possibility of a child carrying sex-linked genetic diseases, such as hemophilia.

Such tests are available over the counter in some countries, with the exception of India and China. Additionally, these tests accurately reveal a child’s sex several weeks before an ultrasound or amniocentesis is performed.

Do you think that such tests for determining the gender of a child at seven weeks will result in a growing number of sex-selective abortions in the United States?

Drop-Side Cribs Still Sold Online

Drop Side Crib AdWe’ve been following changing crib regulations for the past year, and while retail stores, daycares, and hotels have removed these antiquated and dangerous models, the internet is still not thoroughly regulated in regards to selling drop side cribs merchandise. A piece in USA Today mentions that, while drop-side cribs were officially banned on June 28, they continue to surface on Craigslist and eBay.

Much like buying secondhand baby products, purchasing on the internet is another approach, albeit risky, to saving money with a new child. Nevertheless, shopping for used baby furniture online poses greater risks than going to a consignment or thrift store for the same products – especially if you browse through listings on Craigslist or eBay.

While eBay, according to USA Today, has regulations in place and recently shut down crib auctions, sellers of drop-side cribs continued to slip through previously. Craigslist, on the other hand, is not as thoroughly monitored. Although the site changed its “prohibition notices and information page” to reflect recent crib regulations, listings are still flagged by users only.

While purchasing used baby products online is one option for saving money with a new child, approach it with caution – much more than if you were purchasing secondhand goods in person. With all secondhand baby products, online or in person, always be wary of furniture, as these items have the most wear and tear and are inferior in quality to new products. Additionally, as you can see from the recent news stories, recalled products may pop up online.

A parent in person can test out the sturdiness of the baby product; on the internet, this is not possible, and instead, the buyer relies on the seller’s description, which is not always accurate.

For inexpensive baby products, go to the internet for clothing, but avoid it altogether for furniture, as it poses too many risks. If secondhand baby furniture is a must, however, because of budget, opt for hand-me-downs or browse through thrift and consignment stores – or any place where you can test the stability of the item before purchasing.