If you’re about to have or have just had your first baby or if you didn’t use a carrier with your previous children, you might be asking your self the question – are baby carriers safe?
Which, for any parent/caregiver is a great question to ask.
And the answer… I hate to say the word, but, as always…. is depends!
When Are Baby Carriers Safe for My Baby?
First off let’s just say that baby carriers are safe, when used properly. But there are just a few things that you’ve got to keep in mind to use them properly, including:
- Follow the instructions of the manufacturer of your particular baby carrier.
Every brand/model can be a little bit different, so its important to follow the specific instructions to make sure that you get it right. It’s a small thing to do to make sure that your baby is safe. This goes for all types of carrer, including wraps, slings, Mei Tai’s and structured carriers.
If you’ve inherited or bought a used baby carrier, try to find the specific instructions online. You’ll find that most models will have a you tube video or PDF of instructions floating about somewhere – even for older models.
- If you’ve inherited or bought a used baby carrier, make sure that it’s in good condition.
Inspect the seams, straps, clips, material etc well, before using it (preferably before buying it, if you are buying used). Make sure that everything looks in good condition.
- Make sure that you get a carrier that is the right size and fit for you and your baby.
An ill-fitting carrier might not be safe for your baby. And it might be uncomfortable for you and baby as well.
- Make sure that baby is in a good position for their hips
Some carriers don’t promote a good position for your baby’s hips – or if you put them in there wrong, they can be in a poor position for their hips. Make sure that your baby is in the “M” position – aka frog position. Basically, what that means is that their knees should be higher than their bottom. Assuming you have a carrier that promotes this position, this should be easy to achieve if you follow their instructions correctly.
- Make sure that the head is in the correct position and that their airway is clear
Again, if you have a carrier that is suitable for your baby’s size and the carrier is a good one, and you’ve followed the instructions properly, then the position should be right. A couple of things to keep in mind are that:
- The baby’s head should be high enough to kiss and
- That their chin should not be touching their chest or be too close to their chest; and
- You should be able to see your baby’s face at all times, when carrying your baby
Slings have been known to be the most dangerous in this respect, if not used properly (see more in video below).
- Make sure all straps are tightened properly and secured
- Make sure not to drive a car or ride a bike with baby in carrier.
Only for walking in!
- Avoid drinking hot liquids with baby in carrier
- For newborns and all babies that can’t support their own heads only use a front carrying, facing-in position
- When bending down to pick something up when wearing baby, bend at the knees and keep baby upright the whole time
This, in addition to making sure all straps are done up properly and at the correct tightness, will help to ensure that the baby can’t fall out of the carrier/wrap
Special Note on Sling Type Carriers
Sling type carriers have been shown to provide a greater risk of suffocation compared to other types of carriers. What’s more, there is a greater risk of hip dysplasia, using a sling, especially depending on the way you set it up.
Good for Hips
Bad for Hips
Used right, the slings can be safe too, but they are said to carry a greater risk of being used wrong.
Watching the following might help you to decide whether or not a sling is right for you and help you to learn the correct way to wear one, should you decide that’s the way to go for you.
And of course, following the guidelines of the manufacturer closely will also help. If you’re not comfortable with the idea of using a sling, you can simply avoid them (or at least avoid them from 0-4 months) – there are many other baby wearing options.
Reading all of this might have you thinking that baby wearing is dangerous. Far from it. You’ve just got to make sure to keep a few simple rules in mind, when putting on the carrier and using your carrier.
Once you’ve done it a few times, and so long as you are familiar with the proper way to set up your carrier, you will then be able to enjoy all the great benefits of baby wearing – and there are many benefits.
Thanks for reading. If you’ve got anything to add, in terms of safe baby wearing or any opinions regarding baby carrying, I’d love to hear them – just leave a comment by clicking on the Add a Comment button below.