Forward-Facing Baby Wearing is “Cruel, Stressful and Terrifying,” Expert Says

March 13, 2018 at 12:20 am

Wearing your baby facing away from you causes stress, hip dysplasia and spinal injury, parenting expert warns

Parents are overstimulating, “terrifying”  and injuring their babies when they wear them in forward-facing chest carriers, parenting author and professor Dr. Cathrine Fowler says.

“Imagine if you were strapped to someone’s chest with your legs and arms flailing, heading with no control, in a busy shopping center,” Fowler, a child and family health professor at The University of Technology Sydney, told “It would be terrifying. It is the same for our children.”

“Outward-facing baby carriers and strollers give babies a bombardment of stimulus, creating a very stressful situation,” Fowler said.

“In not considering our baby’s perspective, we are inadvertently quite cruel to children,” she added.

Her view is backed by a 2008 study that found forward-facing carriers and strollers may stunt children’s development and turn them into anxious adults

Children worn in inward-facing carriers and strollers are twice as likely to talk, laugh, and interact with their parents, the study found.

“Our data suggests that for many babies, life in a buggy is emotionally impoverished and stressful,” the study’s lead author and psychologist Dr. Suzanne Zeedyk told the Daily Mail. “Stressed babies grow into anxious adults.”

The forward-facing infants in the study suffered more stress and sometimes even trauma. The parent-facing infants were more likely to laugh, listen to their mothers talking and sleep – indicating lower stress levels.

In addition to psychological stress, the forward-facing carriers can cause physical damage including hip dysplasia and spinal injury., according to the Hip Dysplasia Institute.

“Babies whose legs are forced straight either by swaddling or dangling have an increased risk of hip dysplasia,” says pediatrician Erika Krumbeck.

“Straightening the legs places a lever-like force on the femur, encouraging the hip to pop out of the socket.”

Here are my favorite carriers, that provide good leg and hip support:

Boba wrap: