MINNEAPOLIS (CBS) Parents across the country are ditching strollers and strapping on baby carriers. Studies show the baby carrier industry was expected to grow 4.5% between 2018 and 2022. Why parents say babywearing is making a comeback.
Finding time to exercise is hard for any mom. So, Maura Caldwell incorporates her children into her workout.
"We have weighted vests here at the gym that I see people wear. So, I figured it wasn't that different than that. Mine just makes noise and, you know, tries to ask for snacks while I'm working out," she laughed.
Caldwell is just one of many parents ditching strollers and strapping their babies into carriers for the hands-free benefits.
Like Oregon dad Tom Powers who wears his daughter Sylvan while he door knocks for local candidates as part of his job, as the director of the Senate Democratic Leadership Fund.
"People would probably not open the door as much to just some guy. I think a guy with a baby is a little more friendly seeming," Powers said.
Or LA mom Ashley Wright who wears her daughter as she pole dances for fitness.
"If I always conceded to my baby's cries and stopped everything I was doing to do that, then... I would not get anything done," Wright said. "So we just spin around and it's like a little merry-go-round for them."
Babywearing groups have sprung up across the country where parents can rub elbows with fellow babywearers.
"It's basically for freedom," dad Kevin Dusin said. "You can wear a baby and you can do anything you need to do. You can cook, you can clean. You can hang out with friends and just do all kinds of stuff."
Studies show that babywearing can improve maternal physical health, bonding and reduce infant crying.
But after 17 deaths were reported from 2003 to 2016, the federal government unveiled new safety standards for baby carriers, including requiring warning labels to keep infants' faces visible to avoid suffocation.
Industry expert Joanna McNeilly of the Center for Babywearing Studies says it's about reading the instructions and practicing without the baby.
"Baby carriers are very safe. In fact, I would say they're probably the safest place you could put the baby," McNeilly said.
As for Caldwell, she says babywearing is empowering and she's not worried about her baby's safety.
"No, I try really hard to not do things that would be unsafe in my book," she said. "And to me, it feels safer to have them right next to me and knowing where they are and have my hands free to do what I need to do."