It is very important to understand basic babywearing safety before ever putting on a carrier. As with any baby product, baby carriers can pose potential safety hazards if they are not used carefully and correctly.
- Make sure your child’s airway remains open at all times while babywearing. The best way to do this is to keep him or her in an upright position, high enough on your body to monitor breathing and ensure that her chin is off her chest. You should be able to get two fingers under baby’s chin and hear baby breathing normally. If you hear grunting or snoring sounds, that is a sign that baby is having trouble breathing. If that happens, remove baby and rewrap being sure to wrap very snug and tight. If you have any problems, feel free to contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Babywearing International recommends that infants only be held in a horizontal or cradle position while actively nursing (if desired) and return to an upright or vertical position as soon as they have finished.
- It is also important that your carrier provide adequate support for your infant’s developing neck and back. Ideally baby should be held with his knees higher than his bottom with legs in a spread squat position and support from knee to knee although with older babies and toddlers full knee to knee support is not always possible or necessary. An ergonomic carrier (whether a soft structured carrier, Asian-style carrier, sling, or wrap) will provide better support for a baby and will be more comfortable for the caregiver as well.
- Always inspect your carrier for wear or damage before use it. Look for weak spots, loose stitching, worn fabrics, etc.
- Practice all carries – especially back carries – with a spotter, over a bed or couch, or low to the ground until you are completely confident. In most cases it is best to be comfortable with front carries before attempting back carries.
- Always exercise common sense while babywearing. Baby carriers are not an approved child restraint or floatation device and should not be used in moving vehicles or boats. Avoid babywearing in situations where it would not be safe to carry an infant in your arms either.
- When wrapping, be sure to always remember TICKS:
Tight In View Close enough to kiss Keep chin off chest Supported back
- Be sure to wrap tight enough. The wrap should be very snug, like a bandage ona sprained ankle. If you press against your baby’s back and the baby is able to move closer to you, then it’s too loose. If you feel like you need a hand on baby and baby doesn’t feel secure to you, then it’s too loose. In either case you can just adjust strand by strand removing the slack from the width of the wrap.
- Stretchy wraps should never be used for back carries. They are stretchy and even if wrapped well, are not safe and secure used on the back because the baby could lean backwards and fall.
To secure a sleeping baby’s head while in the wrap, you can tuck their head into one side of the cross pass that comes over your shoulder and pull the fabric away from the other side of the cross so that their face is visible and not covered. If your baby doesn’t want their head tucked in, but seems to need more head support, you can leave a little roll of wrap at your baby’s neck and tighten that well by snugging the top rail of the wrap. If that is very snug, their head should stay put, even without a cross pass holding their head.