Safe Babywearing

It’s very important that anyone wanting to use a baby carrier is aware of some basic safety advice.  The following T.I.C.K.S. Rules for Safe Babywearing have been put together by the UK Sling Manufacturers and Retailers Consortium, and apply to all carriers, though are particularly important when carrying young babies:

Tight – slings and carriers should be tight enough to hug your baby close to you as this will be most comfortable for you both. Any slack/loose fabric will allow your baby to slump down in the carrier which can hinder their breathing and pull on your back.

In view at all times - you should always be able to see your baby’s face by simply glancing down. The fabric of a sling or carrier should not close around them so you have to open it to check on them. In a cradle position your baby should face upwards and not be turned in towards your body.

Close enough to kiss - your baby’s head should be as close to your chin as is comfortable. By tipping your head forward you should be able to kiss your baby on the head or forehead.

Keep chin off chest - a baby should never be curled so their chin is forced onto their chest as this can restrict their breathing. Ensure there is always a space of at least a finger width under your baby’s chin.

Supported back - in an upright carry a baby should be held comfortably close to the wearer so their back is supported in its natural position and their tummy and chest are against you. If a sling is too loose they can slump which can partially close their airway. (This can be tested by placing a hand on your baby’s back and pressing gently – they should not uncurl or move closer to you.) A baby in a cradle carry in a pouch or ring sling should be positioned carefully with their bottom in the deepest part so the sling does not fold them in half pressing their chin to their chest.

These are also downloadable in PDF format form here:

The T.I.C.K.S. Rules for Safe Babywearing

And there is another very useful document including practical advice about how to actually position your newborn safely in different types of sling here:

Correct Positioning for the Safety and Comfort of your Newborn

Note about safe back carries:

The T.I.C.K.S. rules also apply (in an adapted form for the second and third rules) to back carries, and though a correctly postitioned and adjusted back carry is as safe as a front carry, the advice above may be harder to follow when back carrying.  For this reason, we recommend that back carries are only attempted by confident babywearers with previous experience of front or hip carries, and for carriers other than woven wraps we further suggest that you wait until your baby is able to sit unaided. For both parent and child comfort, babies and toddlers carried on the back should be positioned so that they are able to see over the carrying adult’s shoulders.

More About Carrier Safety:

Find out about Unsafe Carriers and Illegal Fakes and also more about why some people don’t recommend you use Outwards Facing Carry Positions.


© 2011 South London Sling Library

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