Babywearing Safety

I. General Babywearing Safety

 

In any carrier, baby should have a clear airway, be in an age appropriate carry, have no risk of falling out of the carrier, and be fully supported by the carrier (this means no slumping, or ability to “break out” of a carrier)

 

it is useful to remember this acronym:

 

ABC

 

A – AIRWAY

B – BODY

C – COMFORT

 

AIRWAY

Always make sure that baby’s airway is clear and that fresh air is available. This means no fabric or anything else over baby’s face. It also means, for really little babies, making sure that baby’s chin is not down to chest, or that baby’s head has not fallen backwards, since either of these positions can close off baby’s airway.

 

BODY

Baby’s body should not slump in the carrier – baby’s back and body should be fully supported by the carrier, which should be tight around baby’s body. This also means that baby has age appropriate knee to knee support, with knees higher than bum. Basically, you want baby’s body to be in the same position it would be in if you were holding baby.

 

COMFORT

Is the carry comfortable for both you and your baby? It is helpful to be confident in the carry you are doing and to get a spotter if necessary.

II. When can I …

 

a) wear my baby with legs in

It is actually recommended that you wear baby with legs out from birth. For newborns, make sure the carrier allows baby to put his legs in the position he prefers. For most, this means knees hip width apart and tucked up slightly towards the tummy.

 

b) do front carries

From birth

c) do hip carries

When baby can sit up with assistance – usually around 4 months

 

d) do back carries

When baby can sit up unassisted – usually around 6 months

 

III. What can I do while babywearing?

The short answer is, if you can do it while holding baby, you can do it while wearing baby. The reverse of this is also true. If you wouldn’t:

 

-ride a bike

-mow the lawn

-cook with heat

-jog

-jump on a trampoline

-drive or ride in a car

 

while holding your baby in your arms, it is also unsafe to do so while wearing.

III. Babywearing safety, by carrier type

 

a) wraps

 

-Any kind of back carry without reinforcing passes (i.e. cross passes) can present a falling risk to baby. Therefore these types of carries are recommended only for advanced wrappers and wrap-friendly babies. Examples include back rebozo, RRRR (pirate’s carry), DHTUB, etc.

 

-felted wool wraps are unsafe for wearing – the felted wool can tear really easily

 

-use of rings with wraps is an extremely advanced move. BWI only advocates rings on the front, at corsage level and should not be used to finish a carry.

b) ring slings

 

-cradle carry in a rs is recommended only for nursing. It is not necessarily a hands-free carry and please pay special attention to baby’s airway in this situation. When baby is done, it’s safest to put baby back in an upright position.

 

-a back carry in a rs is an extremely advanced carry that most of our VBEs even try to avoid, or only use in an emergency situation. This is doubly true of using a rs to ruck with the rings UB.

 

c) soft structured carriers and mei tais

 

-be advised that hip carries in some SSCs and MTs are not entirely hands-free

 

d) pouches

-proper sizing is essential for safe pouch wearing. Each pouch maker has slightly different sizing, but for any pouch it should stretch the length of the top of your hipbone to the outside of your opposite shoulder (e.g. from right shoulder to left hip) BEFORE you put it on.

 

-cradle carry in a pouch is recommended only for nursing. It is not necessarily a hands-free carry and please pay special attention to baby’s airway in this situation. When baby is done, it’s safest to put baby back in an upright position.

 

-pouches are not safe for back carries