Babywearing is an easy way to keep your baby close and calm while still having mobility and at least one free hand to go about your tasks. Whether you’re out shopping and don’t want to use the bulky stroller or you’re looking to calm a colic, over-tired baby, wearing your baby is a tool many parents are using. As with any product designed for use with babies, safety should always come first. Safe babywearing is something every parent should learn before strapping on your carrier of choice and following a few simple tips can keep you and your baby away from potential harm. Babywearing safety guidelines should be followed every time you wear your baby because even though it may seem as simple as strapping on a backpack, proper usage may not always be outwardly apparent. Once you get the hang of these babywearing safety tips, they’ll quickly become second nature and will just take a moment to double check before going about your day
1. Make sure baby’s chin is not tucked down
An important babywearing safety tip is to make sure your baby’s chin is not tucked into their chest. Little babies lack the muscle control needed to move their head off their chest to help open their airway so it’s very important you check the proper position of your baby’s head while babywearing. Yes, every time!
2. Ensure the fabric does not cover baby’s mouth
This is one of those “obvious” rules of parenting, but something you should always be aware of when babywearing. Some fabrics are looser than others are and you need to make sure your baby’s mouth and face are not covered, restricting their ability to breathe.
3. Read and stick to the carrier’s specific weight and height requirements
Read up on the weight and height requirements and restrictions for each carrier you use because no two are the same. These are not just recommendations, but are in place to make sure babywearing safety is top priority. Never use the carrier if your baby is too heavy or tall according to the instructions and if the carrier guidelines say to use an insert (as is sometimes the case for young infants), don’t use the carrier without it.
4. Never use in a car instead of a car seat
A baby carrier is not designed to replace a car seat and it’s never safe to wear your baby while using a motorized vehicle.
5. Don’t do any dangerous activities while baby wearing
It may seem obvious, but safe babywearing means you shouldn’t do anything dangerous while wearing your baby. This includes running, using while you’re intoxicated, engaging in activities where you are likely to fall or injure yourself (like jumping on a trampoline) because the baby carrier is not a safety device and doesn’t have the needed protection to keep your baby from potential harm.
6. Make sure baby is well dressed for the elements
If you’re heading out for a hike in the summer heat or going outdoors for a walk while it’s raining, make sure your baby is appropriately dressed while in the carrier. Take into account the top of their head, legs, and arms as well as how much or little your baby is dressed. Doing so can help ensure they don’t get overheated, sunburned, or otherwise injured by the elements.
7. Inspect baby carrier for any wear-and-tear before each use
While products go through rigorous testing before hitting the market, sometimes a very well loved, well-used baby carrier can malfunction or become damaged. Inspecting your carrier’s seams, buckles, and fabric before you place your baby in for use can help ensure the product is working as it should and can accommodate your baby, safely.
8. Use a mirror or ask another adult to double-check baby’s placement
This can be especially useful if you’re doing a back-carry, but having a mirror or another adult make sure baby is secure and safely placed in the carrier each time can potentially allow you to spot any issues before they cause harm.
The benefits of baby wearing are vast for both baby and parent, plus it’s fun, but it’s important to follow these simple babywearing safety tips to ensure that you reap the full benefits.
by Devan McGuinness