If you've read the news recently you'll be aware that 'baby wearing; has been in the headlines regarding the safety of baby slings. Here's our take on the coverage, and the risks associated with the different types of baby carriers available in Australia today.
Just like any baby product such as a pram or car seat, there are high-quality, tested, well-designed and safe products and more questionable alternatives. With any baby product we recommended buying a reputable brand, choosing a good quality product and following the manufacturers instructions. Baby Slings are no different. You as a parent are responsible for your child's safety at all times when baby wearing just like you are when you are driving, pushing a pram, using a high chair.
Here is a reminder on what you should do when you purchase and use a baby sling or carrier.
Read - Read the manufacturer's instructions and watch any additional DVD's that are supplied by them or on line.
Practice - Practice wearing your baby with a doll to test that you know how to position your child and you feel comfortable and relaxed when you first start using the carrier, wrap or sling.
Visible and kissable - keep baby close to you and always check to make sure they are still in a safe and comfortable position. Look in a mirror to check yours and baby's position. Take a look at the TICKS Rules for safe baby wearing.
Breath - Make sure your baby always has an open airway and your baby is not lying with chin to chest as this can restrict baby's airways. This is the case also when baby is in a stroller, car seat and when holding baby in your arms.
Supported - Make sure you are wearing the carrier correctly to feel the most comfortable and to make sure baby's head and neck are well supported especially in the ages of 0-4 months or when the baby is not strong enough to hold up their neck.
Freedom - This doesn't always mean you can do everything with a baby carrier. For example it wouldn't be safe to use when cooking especially on a gas stove as material, straps, babies arms or legs could burn. Do not run or play sport using the carrier, do not drive a car while baby wearing. If on a boat do not use a baby carrier, use a safety vest where possible instead. Do not mow the lawn or wear baby if you require any type of safety equipment for an activity. Most of this is common sense and is simply about thinking through the consequences and minimising risk.
Size - Only use a carrier, sling or wrap that is appropriate for the baby or child's weight and size.
Extra Items -Such as keys, tissues, purses should not be carried in the carriers, slings or wraps as they could poke your baby, become a choking hazard. We recommending carrying a nappy bag for these items.
Protection - Protect your baby from the elements such as sun, wear a hat and sunscreen, dress baby appropriately for the weather hot or cold. You can protect the baby's feet if needed. Make sure things are out of reach especially when wearing on the back.
Inspection - Inspect your baby carrier, sling or wrap regularly to make sure it is always intact, there are no frayed straps, or holes and all clips are working properly.
If you want to learn more we recommend taking a closer look at some of the articles on our blog or visit https://www.babywearinginternational.org/safety-tips/
This all may seem a little daunting at first however if you use your natural instincts and try to be relaxed as possible when baby wearing you will enjoy all the positives that come with it. Happy baby wearing!!!