Water Carriers 101

It’s the stereotypical summer scene: lounging around at the pool or beach on a beautiful, carefree day. Add a baby/toddler/kid (or two), and suddenly this seems a little less idyllic, right? As with everything, there’s a baby carrier for that!

Why a water carrier?

Water carriers are baby carriers that are designed for use in or near the water. Why do you need a special carrier? Because regular carriers aren’t designed for use in water, wearing them wet can put extra stress on the carrier. Water carriers are made with materials that can better hold up to salt water or pool water. Also, a regular carrier can sag or stretch when wet in ways a water carrier won’t – so it’s safer for baby to be in a water carrier if you’re going to be splashing around. Water carriers also dry faster, since they’re made of quick-drying materials and use less padding.

 

Safety First

As with all babywearing, safety is very important. All of the same considerations that you would make for dry wearing should be made for water wearing – you want to make sure baby’s airway is clear and visible, that baby is in an ergonomic position, and that you and baby are both comfortable.

Also, the same as all babywearing, you don’t want to do anything while wearing that you wouldn’t do while holding baby in your arms. While water carriers are made to get wet, you don’t want to actually swim with them – wading and splash pads are perfect, but heading into deep water while wearing isn’t safe. A great rule of thumb is to stay no more than waist-deep in a pool and less deep than that in ocean waves. Remember, baby’s head will always be lower than yours so you need to be extra aware of where baby is in relation to the water.

We often rely on babywearing to corral multiple kids – wear the little one so we can attend to the older one – but when it comes to water wearing, you have to be incredibly cautious. If something happens with the older child, it’s easy to lose awareness of where baby is in relation to the water and accidently dunk them.

 

Picks from the Lending Library

So, how do you pick a water carrier? A good place to start is with which carriers you like on dry land. Whether you prefer a wrap, ring sling, meh dai, or buckle carrier, you can find a water-friendly version. Also, then, consider what you want to use it for. Mesh ring slings are a great, fast-drying option but aren’t ideal for carrying outside of water. A buckle carrier will provide more support for a carry on land as well as in the water.

In the lending library we have several to try out including the Connecta Solarweave and BityBean, which are both buckle carriers, a Water Onbuhimo by Cute Awaking, the Wrapsody Duo water wrap, and water-safe ring slings from Zanytoes and Comfy Joey.

Water Carrier Care

Water carriers need a little extra TLC to extend their life – salt and chemicals can be harsh on them. Once you’re done wearing, it’s best to rinse out the carrier in water and hang to dry. At the end of the season, wash according to the manufacturer’s directions before storing.

Beating the Babywearing Heat

Babywearing can be hot. When you’re strapping two bodies together there’s really no way around it, but there are tweaks that can make you and baby more comfortable in hot weather.

Pick a cool(er) carrier

Some fabrics and carrier designs are a little lighter or more breathable.

Ring slings, by design, only have one pass of fabric around the child, so they are one of the cooler options for warm-weather wearing. Ring slings made of linen are light and breathable – perfect for summer. In the lending library, we have linen slings from Comfy Joey, Zanytoes, Sakura Bloom, and Soul Sling.

You can also pick wraps made from lighter materials. Options from our lending library include the Wrapsody Breeze, Wrapsody Stretch Hybrid, K’Tan Active, and Solly Baby,

Soft-structured carriers made with lighter fabrics or mesh panels are another great, breathable option. In the lending library, we have the Beco Gemini Cool, BityBean Ultra Compact Baby Carrier, Ergo Performance Ventus, Infant Kinderpack with Koolknit, Pognae, Connecta Solarweave, Lillebaby All Season and Lillebaby Airflow.

Ways to keep cool

Regardless of which carrier you use, there are a few things that will keep you and baby cooler.

  • Dress in light colors, which will feel cooler in the direct sun.
  • Dress in layers, especially if the day will start cool. During the spring, the day can heat up fast. Being able to shed a layer is an asset.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water will help keep your body temperature down. Remember, babies shouldn’t be given water –
  • A misting fan will also help you and baby feel cooler – and stroller fans can also be clipped to carriers!
  • Keep out of the sun as much as possible. Sun hats will help keep you covered – or use an umbrella to make your own shade.
  • Use a cooling towel to cool the wearer. A cooling towel like FroggToggs should never be used on baby or between baby and the wearer because babies can’t regulate their body temperatures as well and it’s hard to tell if they’re getting too chilled.

Watch for overheating

When you’re out and about, it’s important to stay mindful of signs that baby is in distress. Signs of overheating can include:

  • Rapid breathing or rapid heartbeat
  • Excessive redness or rash
  • Baby seems dizzy, confused, lethargic, or limp
  • Baby acting overly fussy and uncomfortable

If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to get baby and yourself into a cooler environment and consult your pediatrician.

New in the Lending Libraries: March 2017

Thanks to generous donations from Mountain Buggy and Wildbird this month, we’ve added three new carriers to our lending libraries!

Mountain Buggy sent us their new Juno carrier. This versatile soft-structured carrier can be used in many positions including, front facing out, front facing in, and a back carry. It has a unique magnetic locking chest clip and a fabric waist band. They also sent us their infant insert to be used for smaller babies.

From Wildbird, we have both a single-layer linen ring sling and a double-layer linen ring sling. Linen is supportive, cool, and great for all ages.
These carriers will travel to both April meetings before landing in their assigned lending libraries. Come check them out! And thank you so much to Mountain Buggy and Wildbird for your support!

Lending Library Picks that Scream Spring

The Nor’easter is behind us and with it, hopefully, the last of the snow. We’re excited to start thinking spring! We can’t wait for the warmer weather and all that comes with it – including more outside time to show off some fun carriers!

From pastels to florals to rainbows, our lending libraries have a lot of fun options that are perfect for spring! Come try out these beauties at a meeting – they’re a perfect accessory for all the spring celebrations coming up! 

From the weekday library:

Top: Risaroo Kerrington Crush (Size 6), Standard Kinderpack – Unicorns, Soul Slings Linen Ring Sling – Pink
Bottom: Mimiwrap – Mei Tai, Pied-de-Poule Coral POP by Artipoppe (Size 6), Beco Gemini – Ellie

From the weekend library:

 Top: Girasol MySol – Rainbow, West of 4th Weaving – Tribute to Mothers (Size 6), Fidella FlyTai
Bottom: Comfy Joey Ring Sling – Aruba Surf, Standard Tula – Confetti Pop, Natibaby – Monarch (Size 4)