Babywearing - Safety
With the help of some refernces from other babywearing educators and pages, below I have put together the essentials of babywearing knowledge and safety. If you aren't a huge fan of reading, please have a look at this video created by Kidsafe SA.
It provides instruction on how to use baby slings and carriers safely. It also provides information on purchasing a sling or carrier, and identifies the characteristics that might put babies at greater risk of suffocation when in a sling or carrier.
Unsafe vs Safe
To determine the difference between safe vs unsafe babywearing, the UK Sling Consortium created the TICKS guidelines for safe babywearing .If you follow this checklist, you are babywearing in a safe manner.
Example of an unsafe vs safe carrier
On the left you will see that this type of carry has been deemed unsafe, especially for newborns/infants. Baby is not in an upright position, it’s face is not in view or it’s head close enough to kiss meaning you cannot see or guarantee that it’s chin is off it’s chest keeping the airways free. These types of carriers are called pouch slings. The carry on the right meets all the TICKS criteria.
Read and follow all manufacturer's instructions for use.
Ensure you can see baby's face at all times. Do not let baby's face press into your body. Do not cover baby's face with a blanket, sling fabric, nursing covers, etc.
Baby's head and neck must be gently and completely supported, with chin off chest. If baby's chin is pressed tightly to baby's chest, this can restrict baby's airway. Check to ensure you can slip your finger between baby's chin and chest to check for correct positioning.
Consult an expert if your infant was born with a low birth weight, such as a preemie or twins, or if your infant has respiratory illness or other respiratory problems. Extra vigilance is required with these babies.
After nursing in a carrier, remove baby from breast and return baby to proper carrying position with head above the breasts and face free of fabric and turned away from the mother's body.
Attend to and check on baby often, especially those under 4 months of age.
Check baby often in warmer weather to ensure that baby does not over heat.
Don't forget the T.I.C.K.S rule for safe babywearing (see picture above.)
Useful websites with further information