When done carefully, babywearing is very safe, but you need to keep these safety tips in mind.
The baby carrier, sling or wrap should be tight enough so that the baby is held snugly against your body. If it if is not tight enough, the baby will most likely slump and this can lead to poor posture, difficulty breathing and in extreme cases – death. Also a loose fitting carrier can cause strain on the wearers neck, shoulders and spine.
In View At All Times
This means that you should be able to see your baby’s face at all times when you look down. Their face should be uncovered and facing up when carried in the cradle position.
Close Enough To Kiss
Your baby should carried as high up as possible, and ideally you should be able to kiss their forehead or top of their head by tipping your head forwards.
Keep The Chin Off Their Chest
Baby’s body should never be curled up so that their chin touches their chest. Always make sure they one or two finger widths space between their chin and chest.
When in the cradle position the baby’s bottom should be positioned in the deepest part of the sling/pouch. This ensures the baby doesn’t fold over on themself which could lead to their chin touching their chest.
When upright in the carrier/wrap/sling baby should be in a natural seated position whilst being held quite close to the wearer. This can be tested by applying a bit of pressure to the baby’s back; the baby should not be able to move closer to you or uncurl.
This is a good link to see examples of correct and incorrect positioning: http://www.thebabywearer.com/articles/HowTo/Positioning.pdf
Unsafe Baby Carriers
If the baby carrier/sling doesn’t follow the T.I.C.K.S. checklist then it is probably wise to avoid that particular style.
One style of carrier that has recently been under fire for being dangerous and causing infant/newborn deaths is the “bag sling”. It is worn low and the way it is designed it is very easy for baby’s face to be covered and baby’s chin tucked to the chest causing asphixiation. For more information on these slings check out the following link: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/safety.php
Other Safety Factors
Other safety factors you need to consider are the hazards that can occur from our daily activities. Things you need to take extra care with are:
- Check your carrier/sling regularily for signs of wear and tear, especially the buckles and seams
- Never run or jump with your baby in the carrier/sling as it can cause serious injury to your baby
- Be aware of where there legs and arms are as they could kick or grab at something dangerous
- Stay away from hot surfaces like heaters and stoves
- Be mindful walking through doorways
- Do not drink or eat anything hot over the top of your baby
- Always support baby’s head when leaning down
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