Are you thinking about warm weather, sunshine, and splash pads? Summer is in full swing, and we often get questions about the best carriers for warm weather and water babywearing. In Part One of our Summer Babywearing Series, we talked about warm weather babywearing. Part Two focuses on babywearing in and near the water.
Wearing in the Water
There’s nothing like a little water to cool you and baby down on a hot day! But what carriers are best for use in and around the water? According to Drew Joseph (ABE), “the Bitybean, Boba Air, and Infantino Zip are all great options! I call them ‘splash’ carriers – you can get them wet and they’re quick drying because they don’t have padding.” The BWI-Madison lending library includes both the BityBean(e) and Infantino Zip(d), which are especially popular in the summer months.
Sara Falsone has used the BityBean from the library and commented: “I like that it’s more secure than water ring slings, so I think it would be easier for chasing a two-year-old. Another nice thing is that it rolls up very small, so it could be kept in a purse or backpack as a backup carrier. My only complaint is that there’s not much padding in the shoulders so you wouldn’t want to wear it longer than an hour or so, especially out of the water.” Coral Conant Giles (VBE) said, “I had a blast at the lake and felt like I could keep my toddler and my squish safe with the help of the Infantino Zip (and my toddler in a life jacket). Plus this carrier packs tiny and only costs $25 at Target.”
In addition to splash-friendly soft structured carriers, there are also wraps and ring slings made specifically for the water. However Marissa Gold cautions, “I wouldn’t wander out to a water wrap or ring sling if SSCs are what you’re normally comfortable with; they’re thin and slippery in my experience, which makes them trickier than normal wraps and ring slings.” Water wraps and ring slings (like the TaylorMade water ring sling in the weekend library) are made from athletic mesh fabric, so they do tend to feel slick and slippery when they’re not wet, but they are great water-friendly options for those who love ring slings and wraps. Beachfront Baby and Wrapsody WrapDuo are popular brands.
For those who like the Baby K’tan, the Baby K’tan Breeze (in our weekend library) and the Baby K’tan Active are other water-friendly options. The Baby K’tan Breeze is half cotton and half mesh, which means it’s more of a “near the water” type of carrier. The cotton material will make the carrier more likely to sag if it’s wet, so it definitely isn’t safe to use if you will be getting soaked. The K’tan Active is made out of breathable athletic mesh fabric, so it’s better for water and hot weather; and unlike the water wraps and ring slings, it isn’t slippery when it’s dry so it’s a great all-around summer carrier for those who prefer pouch slings or like the close feel of wrapping but haven’t yet ventured into wraps.
If you’re planning to spend a ton of time at the splash pad or pool this summer, a budget-friendly water carrier might be a good investment. This page lists some of the options available. But if you’re just heading to the waterpark for a summer family vacation, you might want to try checking out one of the water carriers highlighted above from our BWI-Madison Lending Library.
Water Safety to Beat the Heat
While there are plenty of water-friendly carriers on the market, that doesn’t mean that these carriers are safe for allwater activities. It’s important to remember that safe babywearing is always the number one priority, so our VBEs compiled a few reminders to help you and baby get the most out of your time in or near the water.
- When wearing baby in or near the water, the same safety rules apply: baby should be close enough to kiss, easily visible to monitor breathing, and well-supported in an upright position. (You can reference the ABCs of Babywearing Safety for more details.)
- Because of the chance of water pooling around baby’s face or being inhaled, only wear baby on your front or on your hip when in or near the water. While back carries are great for everyday babywearing, they don’t allow you to closely monitor the child’s face and breathing, so they’re not ideal for water-related babywearing (including showers).
- Remember that newborns are unable to regulate their own body temperature, so be mindful of the water temperature and amount of time you spend in the water with a really little one.
- Baby carriers should never be used when swimming. Standing or splashing in a pool are perfectly fine, as long as baby’s face is visible and well above the water at all times. Swimming laps or submerging with a baby carrier is dangerous.
- Babies should never be in a carrier on a boat. They need their own life vest by Wisconsin state law, and that life vest would not be able to do its job if baby is strapped into a carrier on a submerged adult. If you’re heading out on a boat, baby should always be held in your arms wearing his/her own life vest.
A good safety rule of thumb is that any activity where safety equipment is needed, babies should not be in carriers. Also remember to protect your child’s delicate skin from the sun by using sunblock, hats, rash guards, and shady spots. The Babywearing in the Heat Infographic that we highlighted in Part One of our Summer Babywearing Series also features some great reminders for being safe in the sun. With these tips in mind, along with one of the water-friendly carriers we highlighted here, you can take on the pool or splash pad with confidence!
Summer is a great time to be outdoors, and babywearing can be hot in the heat, but with the insight shared in our Summer Babywearing Series, you can definitely get the most out of your carriers and keep doing what your family loves. Stop by a meeting this summer to check out some of our wonderful warm-weather and water babywearing options.
*Note: The letters next to carriers denote whether the carrier can be found in the Weekday (d) or Weekend (e) Library.