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Are Baby Carriers Safe for My Baby

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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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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:

  1. The baby’s head should be high enough to kiss and
  2. That their chin should not be touching their chest or be too close to their chest; and
  3. 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).

  1. Make sure all straps are tightened properly and secured
  1. Make sure not to drive a car or ride a bike with baby in carrier.

Only for walking in!

  1. Avoid drinking hot liquids with baby in carrier
  1. For newborns and all babies that can’t support their own heads only use a front carrying, facing-in position
  1. 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

Sling position good for baby hips

Bad for Hips

Sling position bad for baby 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.

Summary

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.

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Vaughn - September 7, 2018

We purchased and used a front pack style baby carrier for our daughter when she was around 6 months old, we ended up using it extensively as it helped a lot with her naps and when she was difficult to put down.
We ended up using a Phil and Teds pack which was designed to help keep baby’s hips in a natural position, and it worked really well.
A huge benefit we found was it allowed us to get out and go for decent walks with her in tow. Carrying a buggy round everywhere can be cumbersome and the front pack worked great and was well used, especially through summer.
You do have to be mindful and watch your step as but it doesn’t take long to get used to it.

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    The Baby In Motion - September 7, 2018

    Hi Vaughn

    Thanks for sharing. Yeah we definitely find that using a carrier, especially in the front facing-in position, is the best way to get our baby to nap (and was the same for our first when he was a baby). If nothing else works, this is definitely the go-to for us! And often we find that once baby is asleep, we can transfer him to his bassinet. So yeah – a great napping tool.

    And totally handy for walks of course. We’ve found particularly if you’re using public transport – not having to lug the stroller around with you is a god-send – or basically anywhere that’s not stroller friendly.

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