Babywearing International believes that babywearing is an inherently safe activity. But as with any other baby or child product, it is important to observe a few basic safety tips.
Make sure your child’s airway remains open at all times while babywearing. The best way to do this is to keep your child in an upright position, high enough on your body to monitor breathing and ensure that her chin is off her chest. BWI recommends that infants only be held in a horizontal or cradle position while actively nursing (if desired) and return to an upright or vertical position as soon as they have finished.
It is also important that your carrier provide adequate support for your infant’s developing neck and back. Ideally baby should be held with his knees higher than his bottom with legs in a spread squat position and support from knee to knee although with older babies and toddlers full knee to knee support is not always possible or necessary. An ergonomic carrier (whether a soft structured carrier, Asian-style carrier, sling, or wrap) will provide better support for baby and will be more comfortable for the caregiver as well.
Always inspect your carrier for wear or damage before use examining it for weak spots, loose stitching, worn fabrics, etc. BWI recommends purchasing a carrier from a reputable manufacturer to ensure that it meets all current US safety, testing, and labeling standards.
Practice all carries—especially back carries–with a spotter, over a bed or couch, or low to the ground until you are completely confident. A BWI meeting is the perfect place to learn new skills with the assistance of a Volunteer Babywearing Educator. In most cases it is best to be comfortable with front carries before attempting back carries.
Always exercise common sense while babywearing. Baby carriers are not an approved child restraint or flotation device. Avoid babywearing in situations where it would not be safe to carry an infant in-arms.
Whatever carrier you choose, learn to use it properly and always keep safety in mind.
Text and Graphics courtesy of Babywearing International Inc.