5 Essential Rules of Safe Babywearing

Young mother carrying baby in wrap in nature
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Wouldn’t it be amazing to snuggle close to your baby and still be able to get things accomplished with both hands? Many parents have found that wearing their baby helps them to do just that. But it’s important carry your baby correctly. Healthy babywearing practices keep baby safe and baby and parents comfortable and happy.

Babywearing has been around as long as there have been babies.

First, what is babywearing? Parents use a sling, a piece of cloth, or a specially designed carrier to attach the child to them so that they are hands-free. There are many ways to wear children—from infants to preschoolers—including wraps (like the Solly Baby, Moby, and many others), soft-sided carriers (such as the Ergo and Baby Bjorn), and slings. Knowing the rules of safe babywearing means that you can pick a baby carrier that best suits you and your baby.

Keep Your Baby Upright

When you are wearing your baby, they should be in a vertical position. Allowing a baby to lay in a cradle position can tuck the baby’s chin too deeply. Tucking the baby’s chin too close to their chest can compromise their airway. Having the baby upright allows the baby’s airway to stay straight so they can breathe freely. This rule also has the benefit of allowing the baby to experience the world around them.

Make Sure They Are Visible

Making sure that you can see the baby's entire face at all times keeps your baby safe because you can check regularly to make sure your baby's head is in a safe position (not chin to chest) and that the baby is breathing.

Many wraps and carriers can be used on the adult's chest or back. Only babies who can sit upright unsupported should be worn on the adult's back.

Keep Them Tucked in Tight

For both comfort and safety, the sling, wrap, or carrier you use should hug the baby close to the adult's body. If the baby can slump due to loose fabric, their breathing can be affected. This can also be uncomfortable for the adult's back.

Place Them Close Enough to Kiss

When wearing them, your baby needs to be close enough to your face that you can kiss their head. That means that your sling, wrap, or carrier should hold your baby up high. Wearing a baby too low increases the chances that they will be slumped in the carrier, which can lead their head to fall chin to chest. And the lower your baby is, the harder it is to see their face and head position and make sure they are safe.

Babywearing is a great way to help reduce the amount of time babies cry.

Be Sure Their Back Is Supported

When your baby is facing in toward your body, make sure their back is in a naturally straight position. The baby should not be curled in a C-shape with space between the adult's body and the baby's belly and chest.

Keep Their Hips Flexed

A baby’s pelvis is still developing during their first few years. Baby’s soft bones and loose ligaments make them more susceptible to a condition called hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia happens when the ball and socket joint of the hips are out of alignment.

If your child has a hip condition or is at risk for hip dysplasia, or you plan to wear the baby for many hours every day, make sure the carrier you are using offers good hip positioning. The carrier should support the back of your baby’s thighs. When positioned correctly, your baby will be in an "M" position, with their knees higher than their bottom.

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