Parents have choices on the materials and types of carriers for their babies. But remember, whatever your choice is, your baby’s safety should come first.
Babywearing is a growing trend among Singaporean parents. It gives the little one a sense of security, while making it easier for parents to move around without having to lug the heavy and bulky stroller.
Babywearing has been rising in popularity, and has led to an increase in the type and design of carriers. While baby carriers may have their many advantages, they can, like any other baby product, pose potential dangers and safety hazards if used incorrectly.
Before you start your babywearing experience, be sure to familiarise yourself with the basics of babywearing.
The Dangers: Why you should be careful
If used incorrectly, baby carriers may pose a suffocation hazard. Usually made of lightweight fabrics such as cotton, jersey or linen, the baby carrier can press against the baby’s nose or mouth, potentially causing breathing difficulties. Babies less than four months old are at an even greater risk because their neck muscles are not fully developed and they are unable to move their heads.
The baby’s posture in the carrier is important too. If their chins rest on their chests, they can be at risk of suffocation as this position restricts airflow and limits oxygen supply.
The precautions: What you should do
Here are some tips to help you ensure your baby’s safety at all times while babywearing.
1. Find out more about the different types of carriers to determine which suits your needs best.
2. Keep yourself updated on which carrier models have been recalled before making your purchase.
3. After purchase, always read and understand all safety instructions and follow them strictly.
1. Remain vigilant and check frequently to see if the baby is in the correct position.
- Baby’s face should be visible to you at all times and not pressed against your body or the carrier.
- Baby’s head should be kept upright, and its chin should not rest against its chest.
- Baby’s back should be supported and not be in a curved “C-like” position.
2. If you are nursing your baby in a carrier, return the baby to an upright position as soon as you have finished.
3. Avoid bending when wearing your baby in a carrier. If you have to, bend from the knees and make sure to support your baby until you are back in a neutral position.
4. Avoid wearing your baby in a carrier when engaging in activities with potential for injury such as cooking, jogging or riding a bicycle. As a rule of thumb, do not engage in activities that you would avoid with a baby in your arms.
5. Do not carry your baby in a carrier if it has a cold or any other breathing problems.
6. Always inspect your carrier for any damage or wear and tear such as rips or loose stitching. Do not use the carrier until it has been repaired or replaced.
7. Seek assistance if you have difficulty placing in or removing the baby from the carrier.
8. Do not babywear in a moving vehicle. Use a car seat for your baby.
9. Be aware of what is within your baby’s reach while in the carrier. Keep a safe distance from anything that is sharp or hot.
T.I.C.K.S., the safety checklist devised by the UK Sling Manufacturers & Retailers Consortium1, has some guidelines to assist new parents in their babywearing experience.
Tight: Baby is close to you
In view at all times: Baby’s face is visible at all times
Close enough to kiss: Baby’s head or forehead is kissable at all times
Keep the chin off the chest: Baby’s chin is at least a finger’s width above its chest
Supported back: Baby’s back should not uncurl or move closer to you when pressed gently
So the next time you are stepping out of the house with your baby in a carrier, be sure to have all the safety measures ticked!