Safety Guide for Baby Carriers, Slings, and Backpacks
A baby carrier, sling and backpack are practical ways to transport your baby.
Consider the position of your baby’s hips in a baby carrier, sling or baby carrier. Your comfort is equally important.
T.I.C.K.S. is a good rule of thumb to help your baby stay in a safe sling. To ensure safety and prevent suffocation, use the T.I.C.K.S.
Baby carriers, slings, backpacks
Baby backpacks, baby carriers, and baby slings can all be used to transport your baby on your chest or back.
A baby carrier, which is a soft, padded carry that you wear on the front of your body, is called a baby carrier. Some models have adjustable options, so your baby can be carried on your back or hip.
A baby sling can be described as a pouch of fabric or a piece of fabric that you place over your shoulder. It can also be worn across your front in different positions.
A baby backpack typically has a sturdy frame. You can only wear backpacks on your back. For toddlers and older babies, they are appropriate for holding their heads up. You should ask your GP and child and family health nurses if your baby is old enough in order to purchase a backpack.
What you should look for when choosing a baby carrier
You should look for a baby carrier that is:
Healthy hip positioning for your baby
Is it safe to use
Comfortable for you to wear, and for your baby to enjoy.
Healthy hip positioning
Healthy hip positioning promotes healthy hip development in babies, and reduces the risk from developmental dysplasia.
Your baby carrier should allow your baby to stretch their hips so that their legs cross your body. Your baby should be able to spread their knees apart. The thighs should be supported and the hips should be bent.
Safe baby carriers
There is no Australian standard in baby carriers, slings, and backpacks. The following tips can help choose a safe baby carrier.
Find a baby carrier that conforms to the European standard EN13209-2-2005 or the American standard ASTM F2236-8.
You should ensure that your carrier/sling has clear written, visual, or video instructions. These will help you use the carrier/sling safely.
It is important to ensure the carrier is made with durable and sturdy materials.
Bring your baby along when you go shopping for a carrier. Ask a shop assistant for help in fitting the carrier or sling properly with your baby.
You should make sure that your baby is able and able to move their arms, legs and head with the carrier/sling. Make sure the fabric doesn’t cut into your baby’s face.
It is important that you are able to remove the carrier/sling and put it on. Make sure you can remove buckles, straps, clips and adjust straps easily with one hand.
Do not use products described as “womblike” or “like a cocoon”. These products may cover your baby’s head or force them to the fetal position. This increases the chance of your baby becoming suffocated or overheating.
Comfortable baby carriers
Try on different styles with your baby to discover the most comfortable baby carrier. You should also consider the comfort of your partner and other caregivers when using the carrier.
Here are some tips for selecting a comfortable baby carrier
You should look for padded shoulder straps that run across your back and a broad waist belt. These will help distribute your baby’s weight evenly across your body and relieve some pressure from your shoulders. They will also prevent the carrier’s movement from one side to another.
You should ensure that the carrier you choose is suitable for the seasons, and will not cause your baby to overheat during the warmer months.
You should consider changing the carrier so that your baby can face forwards.
If your baby is too large or uncomfortably weighed, stop using the carrier. The maximum weight that the carrier is capable of supporting should be checked in the instructions.
Use a backpack, sling or baby carrier safely
Here are some tips to help you secure your child in a backpack, sling or carrier and how to use it safely.
Safety tips for children using backpacks, slings, or carriers
You should read the tags to determine your child’s height and weight. Make sure that you choose the correct carrier for your child.
After you have placed your child into the carrier, tighten them.
Adjust all straps securely with one hand.
You can get into the habit to make sure that your child is properly secured and does not show signs of damage every time you place them in the car. Contact the manufacturer or supplier immediately if buckles or straps are damaged.
You may need to have someone help you place your baby in the carrier until your skills improve. Some people find that it helps to practice with a doll/teddy before putting their baby in.
Use of carriers, slings, backpacks: General tips
You should choose shoes that are comfortable to walk on and be aware of uneven surfaces so that you don’t trip.
Avoid carrying children in hot weather. The carrier and your body heat will cause your child to become more comfortable.
Be careful when putting on and taking down the carrier. These are the most dangerous times for falls. If you are unable to assist yourself, ask someone else for assistance or place your feet on the floor.
You can hold on to a stable object, like a pole, if you have to bend down while wearing a sling or carrier.
Bend down at your knees and not from your waist. This will keep your baby safe from falling out of the carrier or sling.
You should ensure that your baby doesn’t get into hot food or other dangerous substances when you bend down.
Cooking can cause burns so don’t use a front-wearing carrier.
Never serve hot food or drinks to children.