EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - A Twin Cities mother is drawing mixed reactions after she wore her 1-year-old son on her back Friday, Oct. 5, while giving an on-air weather forecast.
Susie Martin, who is a meteorologist with Eden Prairie-based weather company Praedictix, said she wore her son to work to promote International Babywearing Week, an annual week-long outreach event that promotes babywearing as a universally accepted practice.
The video of Martin giving the weather forecast while wearing her son on her back has been viewed over 1.5 million times since being posted to Praedictix's Facebook page last Friday.
"It is International Babywearing Week, so I thought I'd bring out my handy assistant today, he's going to help walk us through the forecast," said Martin in the video.
Martin's son is wrapped in what is commonly known as a "double hammock," a supportive carry mothers wear for bigger toddlers. In a Q&A published Tuesday on Praedictix's website, Martin said her 1-year-old son is the size of a 3-year-old and weighs almost 30 lbs. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a sling carrier should not surpass 35 pounds.
"I can wear him like that for hours comfortably," Martin said.
This is the second year in a row that Martin has worn her son to work. Last year, while working for Spectrum News Kentucky, Martin, wearing a double hammock, carried her son with her on her back while giving a full weather report on TV.
"That video was so well received that when IBW came around this year, I figured 'why not do it again?'" Martin said.
This year's video has been well received, too, Martin said.
"I truly am stunned at all the attention it has gotten," she said. "From your comments, I can see that it brought smiles to many people's faces, I just love that!"
Martin said she wore the baby on the air because babywearing has been a passion of hers since her son was born.
"It has been an invaluable tool for me as a mother and helped me and my son bond during the early stages of infancy," she said.
The babywearing process gives her son a source of comfort and calmness, Martin said, and also allows her to take care of her son while tending to other tasks, which she said has "helped me be a happier mom."
Despite Martin's success with babywearing, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has said that it does come with risks, and that consumers must take a safe, common-sense approach when wearing your toddler.
Between January 2003 and September 2016, 159 incidents were reported to the CPSC involving sling carriers. Among those reports, 17 resulted in a fatality and 142 were nonfatal, according to the CPSC.
Of the 142 nonfatal incidents, 67 reports involved an injury to the infant during use of the product. Among the 67 reported nonfatal injuries, 10 involved hospitalizations, the CPSC reported.
While Martin received high praise from many mothers for wearing her son to work, many viewers online also questioned why she felt the need to to so.
"That's really cute, however, she is at work and it's not appropriate to have your baby with you unless you're there and not being paid to do your job that day," Jade Ashton wrote on Facebook. "How can you concentrate on your job and be an effective employee when you have your baby with you who needs taking care of and will take priority over everything that happens?"
Martin said that the company had no issue with her decision.
"I'm fortunate to work for a company that has been very supportive of me - not just as an employee - but as a mother."