Safe babywearing and optimal babywearing are lines that can be blurred at times. When using a carrier, your child should ALWAYS be in a safe position, but some carriers are not optimal for your child.
Safe Babywearing Means
- Face in view at all times
- High and upright
- Chin up
- Supported back and snug
- Close enough to kiss
For a carrier to be safe, the child should have their airways unobstructed, their backs well supported to prevent their chin touching their chest and blocking their airway, and should be secured so that they are unable to fall. Another guide to follow for safe babywearing is TICKS.
TIGHT – slings and carriers should be tight enough to hug your baby close to you as this will be most comfortable for you both. Any slack/loose fabric will allow your baby to slump down in the carrier which can hinder their breathing and pull on your back.
IN VIEW AT ALL TIMES – you should always be able to see your baby’s face by simply glancing down. The fabric of a sling or carrier should not close around them so you have to open it to check on them. In a cradle position your baby should face upwards not be turned in towards your body.
CLOSE ENOUGH TO KISS – your baby’s head should be as close to your chin as is comfortable. By tipping your head forward you should be able to kiss your baby on the head or forehead.
KEEP CHIN OFF THE CHEST – a baby should never be curled so their chin is forced onto their chest as this can restrict their breathing. Ensure there is always a space of at least a finger width under your baby’s chin.
SUPPORTED BACK – in an upright carry a baby should be held comfortably close to the wearer so their back is supported in its natural position and their tummy and chest are against you. If a sling is too loose they can slump which can partially close their airway. (This can be tested by placing a hand on your baby’s back and pressing gently – they should not uncurl or move closer to you.) A baby in a cradle carry in a pouch or ring sling should be positioned carefully with their bottom in the deepest part so the sling does not fold them in half pressing their chin to their chest.
An optimal carrier refers to an adjustable carrier that hold’s your child in an ergonomical position that supports your child’s growing development.
This usually means that the carrier supports your child in a knee to knee position (although this becomes less important as your child grows) and with their knees at the same height or slightly higher than their bottom. The carrier should also support their back and neck with the carrier coming up to ear height, be tight across their back and have no uneven pressure pulling across their spines.
Tips for carrying.
- Always ensure your child is secured tightly to your body with your wrap or ring sling. Keeping your child tight will make the carry more comfortable for you, but also ensure your child can not slip out of the carrier. Your child should remain high,upright and in view at all times with a well supported back and neck. Check frequently that your child’s airway is free and not obstructed by your body, clothing, wrap or sling and that their chin hasn’t slumped to their chest.
- Be sure to check your woven wrap, ring sling or carrier for ripped seams, torn fabric, and damaged hardware before each use. If found, stop using the carrier immediately and contact us for further advice.
- Always be aware of your surroundings when wearing your child and what they may be able to reach.
Your child’s safety is your responsibility.
Chardan Slings cannot be held responsible or liable for any accidents that may occur as a result of any misuse of your carrier. Your use of any information or material from Chardan Slings is entirely at your own risk. You are responsible to ensure that any materials, products, services or information made available through Chardan Slings meet your specific requirement. Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.
Thanks to the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance for the use of ‘Visible and Kissable’ safety information.
TICKS used with permission of the UK Sling Consortium
More information on hip health and baby carriers can be found here on our previous blog.