Although the Swedish brand Baby Bjorn Carrier has sold more than 40 million baby bjorn bouncer carriers over the past 40 years, it has been under fire for hip dysplasia concerns. We investigate what the brand is doing about this.
Babywearing, the traditional art of carrying babies is back in fashion. Baby carriers, wraps, and slings are becoming more popular.
Carriers, slings, and wraps are often viewed as an easy, hands-free, and comfortable alternative for pushchairs. They also provide close contact between parents and infants.
The Swedish babywearing brand BabyBjorn is undoubtedly the most well-known. BabyBjorn has been making baby products since 1961. In 1973, it launched Europe’s first baby carrier. It has been synonymous for babywearing since then.
- However, the brand and its carriers have been under fire in recent years from parents and paediatricians for being unsafe.
- BabyBjorn carriers can be a cause of hip dysplasia and are not ergonomic, according to the main accusation.
- We had to investigate MadeForMums because so many parents (over 40,000,000) have or are using BabyBjorn carriers.
We spoke with BabyBjorn for context and the International Hip Dysplasia Institute for impartiality. This was to determine if BabyBjorn carriers were safe.
First, let’s clarify what hip dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia, also known as congenital hip dislocation or developmental dysplasia, is a hereditary condition that causes the bones of your hip joint to not align correctly.
This prevents hip joints functioning properly, and causes them to wear out faster than normal.
Although the condition can run in the family, it is not certain that a baby will get it.
According to IHDI, however, there are some things that could increase your risk of hip dysplasia.
- A baby that is the first-born child
- Cold weather can cause a baby to be born.
- Hip dislocations can be caused by keeping your legs straight and pressed together for too long.
- A breech birth
- We have all the information you need about hip dysplasia.
Can baby bjorn bouncer carriers cause hip dysplasia?
The truth is, Dr. Price, director of the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, (IHDI), says there is no evidence linking carriers to hip dysplasia.
When the sockets are immature and soft, there are certain mechanical forces that can aid or hinder hip development.
Dr. Price explains that hip dysplasia is virtually non-existent in carriers that transport babies in the traditional Flex-squat (Froggy, ergonomic M-position), or “jockey”, positions.
“Also carrying infants in the optimum positions, such as the flex-squat, is associated with a low incidence of hip dysplasia.”
How do you determine the best position to place a in a Baby Bjorn Carrier ?
- IHDI recommends that baby be carried with his hips Baby Bjorn Carrier in a Baby Bjorn Carrier natural position for the first six months.
- This is the approximate width of the baby’s legs when it’s held by the mother with his legs extended around her waist.
- According to the IHDI, small infants tend to keep their hips bent at 90 degrees or more. This is normal and natural for the hips.
Are baby bjorn bouncer carriers in the correct position for ergonomic ‘M’ positioning?
According to the Swedish brand it does. Baby Bjorn Bouncer is aware of the criticisms being levelled at its carriers. However, it says that it has consulted medical professionals and can confirm that its carriers are ergonomic and do not cause hip dysplasia. They are safe for parents and babies to use.
Annika Sander Lofmark Head of Public Relations at BabyBjorn says, “BabyBjorn Baby carrier comply with relevant product standards in all markets which are around 55 countries today.”
“In addition, we test all carriers at various test institutes in Sweden and other countries. We also have our own testing facilities. During the entire development process, pediatricians, midwives, and orthopedists are consulted. Medical experts review the product from both an ergonomic and safe development perspective.
We are a family-owned business that has been around for 55 years. Our mission is to provide practical and safe products for parents and babies. If there were any doubts regarding the safety of our products, we wouldn’t sell them.”
From where does all the criticism originate?
Some mums and paediatricians have stopped using BabyBjorn carriers and called them unsafe. A few people use the word “crotch dangler” to describe babies wearing carriers that are very uncomfortable.
It’s not hard to understand why parents might be worried. It is clear that little one’s legs are more at an angle when viewed from the various carriers (like the BabyBjorn Original, top right).
There are however carriers available in the BabyBjorn line that offer ergonomic M-positions, such as the We and One (top right).
All BabyBjorn carriers can be used safely and will not cause hip dysplasia. We know that different positions and carriers offer different levels and support, so what works for one family might not work for another.
MadeForMums recommends that all babywearers follow the T.I.C.K.S guidelines. We also suggest you contact your carrier’s manufacturer for clarification. It’s always a good idea to check out your local sling library.
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