5 Points to Babywearing Safety
Babywearing is AWESOME and some of this is just common-sense but to remove all doubt, here's an updated safety guide to Babywearing.
CAREFUL. If you wouldn’t do an activity whilst pregnant, don’t do it while wearing your baby. Like being pregnant, babywearing can tilt your centre of gravity and not allow you to see your feet much. Avoid climbing ladders, horse riding, parasailing, and any other risky sport that could lead to a fall. Unlike being inside your womb where the baby is protected, the carried baby does not have protection surrounding them. Be mindful of what your baby can reach. Babywearing in the kitchen? Watch the hot pot on the stove or the kitchen knife when you turn to grab something else.
AIRFLOW. You should always be able to easily see your baby’s face without opening the fabric. Ensure that your baby’s chin is not pressed against his/her chest to compress airways and lead to ‘positional asphyxia’. To check, simply slip two fingers under baby’s chin to ensure easy breathing. Airway blockages can occur in any device, including some prams and car seats that allow the head to flop forward, so be vigilant.
RIDE HIGH. Keep the baby high and tight against your chest, not low on your hips. This will afford you a good line of sight to monitor your baby’s wellbeing. A sling or carrier should mimic holding baby in your arms, or in a back carry, like a piggy back. You would find it tiring carrying baby in your arms lower than your belly button, likewise a sling that carries your baby low will quickly strain your shoulders and back.
RIGHT FIT. Make sure that you read your sling/ carrier’s instruction booklet and watch the videos if available, so you can ensure the carrier is the right fit for your body shape and the age/weight of your baby. When trying a new carry position, test it with a doll or teddy the first few times, with your partner to spot check you. Back carry positions are recommended to learn while kneeling in the middle of your bed.
YOUR INSTINCT – you are the parent, trust your instinct. Your carrier/sling should mimic the way you would naturally hold your baby in your arms. You should always be able to make eye contact with your baby. This will allow you to determine whether baby is safe, happy and content. A quick glance will allow you to assess if their chin is up and that they are comfortable. Using the back carry position? Invest in a Rear View Mirror for peace of mind.