Carrying your baby in a sling or carrier has so so many benefits, they are far reaching and life long. As a sling library, we want every parent/carer who wants to carry, to feel super comfortable, confident and empowered to do it safely. That's not to say that babywearing is dangerous! But that with all things baby related, we must be aware of any potential risks and how to ensure we're safe!
Often we get asked "does this look right?" But actually it's not up to me to say if something looks right, rather it's up to me to empower YOU to be able to make that decision about safety!
Here are my top ten key safety points to be checking in on in preparation for and during carrying your baby.
1. Does my baby have clear and open air ways when both awake and asleep? Is my baby's chin off their chest? Do they have a lovely tucked seated position which allows them to rest their head on the flat of your chest if front carrying (or the flat of your back if back carrying) without slumping inside of the carrier or sling.
"My baby has clear and open airways in the sling."
2. Can I see my baby's face when awake and asleep? (When back carrying use a sling mirror or phone to be able to check on this). Can I make sure that the sling or carrier isn't covering my baby's face at all. This includes the straps or shoulder passes of the carrier.
"I can see my baby's face at all times."
3. Is my baby secure in the position the are in? Is the height of the sling safely supporting at least up to the armpit of baby but not higher than the nape of the neck. Am I happy that there is no way that baby can fall from the bottom of the sling.
"My baby is secure in the sling and cannot fall."
4. Is the activity I am about to do safe for carrying a baby in a sling? Is this an activity I would feel comfortable doing if carrying my baby in arms? Is the sling going to remain in a safe position while I am doing the activity? Will the activity compromise points 1 and 2?
"The activity I am doing is safe while carrying my baby".
5. Is my baby in suitable clothing? Can I monitor my baby's temperature and comfort levels in the sling? Have I made sure that all the clothes worn are allowing the sling to be in correct position and tightness to make sure that my baby is in a position that doesn't compromise air ways. Can I make sure that my baby doesn't overheat in too many thick layers in addition to the sling and body heat?
"My baby is comfortable and not at risk of overheating".
6. Is my sling safe? Have I checked it over before I use it? Have I made sure that the buckles are all in tact? Is all webbing in tact? There are no holes in the sling or carrier? Have I checked that the manufacturer of the sling is using safety and weight testing and safe dyes?
"My sling is safe and ready to use."
7. Am I aware of the ideal position for my baby in the sling or carrier I am using? (Upright, tight and snug, with open airways and full support of baby's body without restricting the head or neck). Am I able to check in on this position during the time I am carrying and make adjustments if needed?
"I am happy with my baby's position in the sling."
8. Am I confident I can be safe when putting the sling on and taking it off? There are no trip hazards, or dangers (eg next to your car on a busy road) while putting baby into the carrier. Am I confident that I am able to support baby at all times while putting the sling on and taking it off?
"I am in a safe place when putting my sling on and taking it off, I can support my baby while I do this."
9. If attending a babywearing class, or sling library do the instructors have relevant qualifications, insurance and experience. (This is best practise). Does the instructor or educator focus on safety? Does the instructor monitor safe carrying?
"I am in a class where safety is paramount."
10. Can I monitor my baby whilst carrying? Can I ensure I am able to monitor open airways, position, temperature and comfort of my baby in the sling?
"My baby is safe and secure while I am carrying them".
These safety check points become second nature. If you ever have any questions we are super happy to go through these points at any of our sessions!
Check here for our next meets!