Wearing your baby using a wrap, carrier, or sling allows you to keep your baby close to you while also keeping your hands free. Carrying your baby has benefits for both you and your little one.
There are so many carrier options too, that you can find the perfect product for you that is safe, comfortable, and easy to use.
But, are baby carriers safe for baby hips? Let’s take a look at what makes a carrier safe for your little one and whether your baby’s hip health is compromised by a carrier.
The Requirements of a Carrier
No matter which carrier you choose, you need to ensure that it provides the following:
The carrier you choose should provide safe and comfortable support for your little one’s head, spine, and airways. Your baby should be positioned high on your chest and snuggly positioned so that their face is visible at all times. The best support is given when your baby is in an inward facing, upright position.
The most important thing is to check that your baby’s head and spine are stabilized, and that the airways are always clear. The carrier must be made to high standards and you must use it properly to prevent accidents from happening.
When using a carrier, always follow the T.I.C.K.S guidelines to ensure that you are carrying your baby safely and securely:
- Tight and secure
- In your view at all times
- Close to your body
- Keep baby’s chin off his chest
- Support baby’s back
Proper Weight Distribution
The carrier you choose must distribute your baby’s weight evenly across the hips, torso, and both shoulders, as this will be most comfortable for your baby. You also get better support when your carrier fits you properly.
The padding and structure of a carrier does not necessarily make it more supportive. In fact, less structured carriers contour around your baby and your body better, offering very even weight distribution.
Easy to Use
Everyone is different, so what you find easy to use may not be the same as other parents in your circle, and vice versa. If you find it difficult to adjust or fasten your chosen carrier, it is more difficult to get a supportive, safe, secure fit for your little one.
Before you purchase a carrier, check that it can easily be adjusted and secured without assistance.
What about Hip Health?
Many carriers now advertise themselves as being hip healthy. So, what is hip healthy and is it as important as many are claiming?
When your baby is first born, his hip joints are not yet fully developed and they are more flexible and soft than adult joints. You will notice that your baby will often hold his legs tucked in the spread squat or frog-legged position with his legs to the side.
When he is in this position, his pelvis and legs are aligned so the thigh bone is located centrally in his hip sockets to support the joint development.
When a carrier is hip healthy, it means that it supports under your baby’s bum and thighs to aid in achieving the correct alignment. These carriers also hold your baby’s legs in the abducted, flexed position with his knees higher than his hips.
This position is very natural for newborn babies. Plus, when your baby is in this position, it is more comfortable to carry him in the carrier.
Can I Damage my Baby’s Hips by Using a Carrier?
Despite the concern of many mothers, it is very unlikely that a carrier can harm your baby’s hips. If you have no family history of issues or abnormalities with hips, and your baby has no other concerns or risk factors with regards to hip development, then you do not need to worry.
There is no medical evidence proving that any carrier causes damage to a baby’s hips when used properly.
If you would like to ensure that your baby is receiving the best support possible for his developing hips, make sure that your carrier is adjusted to provide support that places your baby’s legs in the abducted, flexed frog position that will align his pelvis and hips properly.
Baby carriers have been used for many years thanks to their comfort and convenience. Naturally you always want what is best for your baby.
But you can rest assured that baby carriers are safe for your baby’s hips and that you can use them safely as you go about your day.