Graduate's Babywearing Study Wins Award
Leslee Weible's research reveals babywearing's impact on thermal comfort
Central Michigan University (CMU) graduate Leslee Weible has been recognized with the Outstanding Graduate Project Award from CMU's Office of Research and Graduate Studies for her research on the impact of babywearing on thermal comfort. Weible's project, titled "An Exploratory Study on Babywearing and How it Affects Heat Interaction and Thermal Comfort Utilizing Thermal Manikins," sheds new light on the relationship between babywearing and the microclimate it creates for both the baby and the wearer.
Through her study, Weible aimed to understand the heat interaction between the baby and the caregiver during babywearing and to explore the babywearing apparatus used in testing as a layer. She conducted her research in a standard environment as well as in two cold climates to gain a better understanding of the microclimates created by the babywearing system. Weible's innovative approach to testing involved using thermal manikins in tandem to propose a new method of testing babywearing through thermal manikins.
Weible's research revealed that the temperature between the adult and infant was significantly higher than the climate being tested, leading her to conclude that the babywearing apparatus used in the study could be counted as a layer. Her study demonstrates the importance of testing products in their end-use conditions to allow for better designs, safety parameters, and knowledge for the end consumers.
"Testing for babywearing apparatuses focuses primarily on safety, but there are other performance aspects of these devices that could affect the safety of the users," Weible explains. This highlights the need for researchers and students to think creatively and outside the box with their studies to identify new research opportunities and how to get there.
Weible's groundbreaking research is a testament to CMU's commitment to producing innovative and forward-thinking graduates. Her study can potentially lead to the creation of new babywearing apparatuses that are not only safe but also comfortable and efficient for both the baby and caregiver.