Motherhood

Crotch Danglers are NOT Evil!

That’s right, I said it. Crotch Danglers are NOT evil!

There is a lot of talk in the mommy-verse on the dangers of crotch danglers, and I have seen many a mama bashed on websites like Babycenter for using crotch danglers. I do not recommend crotch danglers myself, but I acknowledge that they are not this evil entity set out to destroy your children…and you are not a bad parent if you use them or have used them in the past.

The truth? Crotch danglers are not evil, but there are better options out there, and with just a little research you can find the baby carrier that is best for you!

The Controversy

The controversy around crotch danglers, such as those made by Bjorn and Infantino, revolves around the theory that they put stress on the infant’s spine and can cause hip dysplasia by improperly spreading the infant’s hips. As of my knowledge, there is no conclusive evidence to prove these theories.

I believe that one reason there isn’t any hard clinical proof behind the dangers of crotch danglers lies in the fact that many mothers who babywear do not wear their children for extended periods of time. It can be assumed that if you only wear your baby in a crotch dangler a few times a week for short periods of time, they will not be harmed by the carrier. As the saying goes for many things in life, it’s safe in moderation.

Those that DO wear their babies for extended periods of time should definitely use a carrier style that, when properly used, does not have the potential to cause issues for the infant. If crotch danglers DO pose a danger, the risks certainly would go up with the amount of use.

As I have said, it has not yet been proven that crotch danglers cause problems for infants…but in simply taking a look at how crotch danglers support babies, you can see how they may have the potential to cause harm, particularly with extended use.

Other Reasons you may want to Choose Another Carrier Type

Let’s take a look at this most popular of examples…

1. When worn in a crotch dangler, the baby’s only source of support is…? Their crotch! Personally, I would not like to spend my time dangling by my nether regions. One of the main reasons crotch danglers are not recommended is the discomfort factor.

That being said, I have seen babies worn in crotch danglers that are smiling, happy babies. I assume that they are not uncomfortable, or else they wouldn’t be smiling, so it may differ from child to child.

For the most part though, it is assumed that baby would be far more comfortable in a more ergonomic carrier (wrap/soft structured carrier/mei tai/ring sling/pouch). The reason being that instead of dangling the baby by the crotch, these carriers provide a proper seat for the baby and a more natural carry, as if you were just holding them in your arms.

2. Crotch danglers are often worn with the baby facing forward, another topic of controversy amongst the babywearing community.

Aside from the physical discomfort factor, one reason many recommend against forward facing in ANY carrier is the potential for “infant overstimulation”.

I admit, at first I thought that was complete baloney. All babies are different; sure some may prefer to take comfort in their parent’s arms, but others may enjoy looking out at the world.

In my one experience wearing one of my girl’s forward facing, I am now more inclined to believe those who warn of overstimulation. I was wearing one of the girls forward facing at a Sweet Adeline’s rehearsal and she appeared to love it…for about ten minutes. BAM! The tears hit. I quickly turned her towards me and all was calm again.

I do believe it was overstimulation as there were over 30 people in the room, in close proximity.

This one experience has not led me to recommend against forward facing in carriers that are deemed safe for it, but definitely use caution and be very aware of your baby’s mood when doing so. A great alternative to forward facing carries are back carries and hip carries, where the baby is given the option to look out or take shelter against the parent.

3. Many mothers who have used both crotch danglers and another carrier type have said that ergonomic carriers are hands down, more comfortable for the wearer. I acknowledge that this could be user preference, but I have more often than not heard that crotch danglers are just not as comfy for the wearer as other carrier types.

My Conclusion

While there has yet to be research proving that crotch danglers are harmful for infants, you must educate yourself of the possibilities. It is quite possible that if used often for extended periods of time, crotch danglers could pose a danger to your child’s development.

I believe that when used for short periods of time and held to the same safety standards as other carriers (check for wear and tear, not recalled, worn as per manufacturer instruction) crotch danglers are not the evil entity they are often made out to be.

I do encourage everyone interested in babywearing to research the other options. I am in the process of producing a series of posts explaining each different carrier type and posting where to find popular, tried-and-true brands.

Happy babywearing friends!!!

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A good article on the possible dangers of crotch danglers can be found here:

http://www.continuum-concept.org/reading/spinalStress.html

It is somewhat dated, but still provides good information.

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DISCLAIMER: The information for this blog comes from my personal opinions and experiences, as well as the opinions and experiences of other parents I know online and in real life and research that I have conducted online. I am not your doctor, I am not god. My word is not the end all, be all, but it is there for you to take from it what you will.

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Tina Bekkali

Hi there, I’m Tina and I created Blissfully Mommy as a place to share and celebrate the ups and downs of motherhood. In between those dirty diaper moments you learn to laugh, love, cry, and find bliss in the little things like a yummy recipe, easy style tips, or a Pinterest binge! I hope this blog inspires you to cultivate your own version of mommy bliss.

2 Comments

  1. Babywearing Guide « 2 + 1 at 21

    […] 2 + 1 at 21 Becoming a single mom of twins…at 21. HomeBirth StoryMy StoryThe Twinkettes ← The Hardest Part Crotch Danglers are NOT Evil! → […]

    14 . 09 . 2011
  2. Catherine

    may not be evil but they are NOT good for baby

    01 . 03 . 2013

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