Babywearing is a great way for you and your little one to be close and connected while you get things done. However, it’s important to take precaution and ensure that baby is being carried properly. Here are some babywearing safety tips to keep in mind before heading out.
1. Support the head and neck. Until your baby has control of his head and neck, it’s essential that the carrier provide support. Infant should not be carried outward facing until they have complete control. Pay close attention to the front-, hip- and back-carry age guidelines for the carrier you purchase.
2. Keep baby’s face clear. Infants who haven’t gained full neck and body control need the support of an inward-facing front-carry position, but this can limit air intake if you’re not careful. Ensure your baby’s face is visible and her chin is not tucked, as this compresses the airway. Preemies, babies under four months and those who have a cold or a pre-existing breathing condition are at greater risk of suffocation.
3. Protect baby’s hips. If your wee one isn’t positioned right in his carrier, there’s a risk of hip dysplasia (or dislocation). Carriers should support your baby’s thighs, with his legs spreading naturally to the sides, never dangling straight down.
4. Check for wear and tear. Double-check all buckles and harnesses, and make sure there is no loose stitching, before each outing.
5. Think safety first when out and about. Never drink hot liquids while babywearing. And if you need to pick something up, bend at the knee, not the hip, supporting baby with one hand.
A version of this article appeared in our July/August 2015 issue with the headline “Whoa, baby!” p. 79.
Want a visual lesson on how to wear a baby carrier? Watch this!