When natural disaster strikes, our best intentions are to assist. Texas, USA is currently dealing with the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey and unprecedented flood levels. Mumbai, India is currently experiencing the worst flooding in recent history. The following is a short Q&A addressing some of the questions that have arisen in the babywearing community during these disasters.
Q. My carrier was submerged or flood damaged, can it be salvaged?
A. The short answer is probably not. While simple wrap or unpadded sling carrier may be able to be cleaned, any carrier with a hidden interior (padding, all buckle and soft carrier style carriers) cannot be properly assessed for mold or internal damage, nor should they be washed on the hot temperatures required with contaminated water clean up. Further, flood waters are often intensely contaminated with industrial chemicals, sewage waste and any number of unknown other elements. Replacement is the best option.
If cleaning a simple unpadded fabric carrier is absolutely the only option, the CDC flood water cleanup guidelines are here:
Q. I need a replacement carrier, can you help?
A. Many manufacturers and retailers are working on donation and discount programs for those affected by these disasters. Please contact your manufacturer to ask. In the coming weeks BCIA will be putting together a list of manufacturer discounts and offers as well as linking those organizations working to collect and provide carriers to those in need.
Q. I want to donate a carrier to help. How can I do that?
A. While carriers can feel like a crucial tool to those of us outside of the immediate situation, the reality is that carriers are quite far down the list of essential needs when shelter, rescue efforts, food, medical supplies and clothing are still top priority. If you have the means, donating money to a local organization doing relief and rescue work on the front lines is absolutely the most useful contribution at this time. A quick search will net a large number of local organizations who could use your funds for supplies. Many have specific wishlists outlining pressing supply needs as well.
Remember that recovering from all disasters is a marathon, not a sprint. If and when baby carriers become a donation need, organizations will definitely get the word out to the public. In the meantime, hang on to that carrier that you wanted to donate, and see if there’s a more pressing donation need you can contribute to.
A few articles of interest about frontline needs:
Q. I don’t have a carrier, I still need to transport my baby/child/injured person. Advice?
A. Emergency babywearing options are plentiful. In a pinch, simple fabric, tablecloths, sheets, scarves, blankets, towels, belts or straps can absolutely be turned into a carrier. Educators may also wish to brush up on their emergency babywearing techniques, as helping survivors tweak the supplies they have on hand into a carrier is a practical, hands-on service in a disaster.
The following links provide some creative options for wearing with what you have on hand:
If you are a manufacturer, retailer or organization offering a discount, collecting carriers or otherwise assisting in getting carriers to those in need of replacements, please get in touch with Linnea at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will start a running list that caregivers can refer to.