Transporting babies has been a thing for a long time. Back in the day, when humans started walking on two legs, they needed a way to carry their babies because the babies couldn't cling to their mothers anymore. So, people came up with different ways to carry babies on their bodies. They made things like baby slings, backpack carriers, and soft front or hip carriers. These carriers were made from different materials and had different levels of support and decoration. Some were used for infants who couldn't sit or hold their heads up yet, while others were used for older children.
Carrying babies in slings has been around for a really long time. In fact, there are even ancient Egyptian artworks that show babies being carried in slings. Baby wearing, as it's called, has been practiced in many indigenous cultures as well. In medieval Europe, it was mainly practiced by marginalized groups like beggars and Romani people. Native American cultures used a special baby carrier called a cradleboard, which allowed mothers to keep their babies safe and secure while they worked and traveled. The cradleboards were made from wood or woven from flexible twigs and cushioned with soft materials. Babies were wrapped tightly to the cradleboard and could only move their heads.
In more recent times, on-the-body baby carrying became known in western countries in the 1960s. Different types of carriers were introduced, like the structured soft pack and the frame backpack. In the 1980s, the wrap carrier made a comeback in Germany, and the two ringed sling was invented. The modern pouch carrier was created in Hawaii in the early 1990s. The Chinese mei tai, a type of carrier, became popular in the west in the mid-2000s.
Apart from on-the-body carriers, there are also wheeled transport methods for babies. These include prams and strollers. Prams are used for newborn babies and have the baby lying down facing the pusher. Strollers, on the other hand, are used for small children up to about three years old in a sitting position facing forward.
The history of prams and strollers goes way back. In the 18th century, a man named William Kent built a shell-shaped basket on wheels for the Duke of Devonshire's children. In the 19th century, baby carriages became extremely popular, and even Queen Victoria bought three carriages for her children. The carriages were often made of wood or wicker and were decorated with expensive brass joints. In the 20th century, prams became safer with the addition of features like larger wheels, brakes, and sturdier frames.
In the 1960s, an aeronautical engineer named Owen Maclaren designed the first true umbrella stroller. This design became very popular and strollers became easier to transport and use. Nowadays, prams are rarely used compared to strollers, which are more compact and convenient.
There are also other methods of baby transport, like using a bicycle trailer or a children's bicycle seat to carry small children. And there are travel systems, which include a car seat base, an infant car seat, and a baby stroller. These systems allow for easy movement of the baby from the car to the stroller without waking them up.
So, there you have it! Different cultures and times have come up with various ways to transport babies, from slings and backpacks to prams and strollers. It's all about finding a safe and comfortable way to carry and transport our little ones.