Safety guide for baby carriers, slings, and backpacks
The key points
You can use a baby carrier, sling, or backpack to transport your baby while keeping your hands free. Look for a carrier that is comfortable for your baby’s hips when choosing a baby carrier. Comfort is also important. The T.I.C.K.S. rule is used to position your baby in a sling. Use the T.I.C.K.S. rule to ensure your baby is in a safe sling.
Information about baby carriers, slings, and backpacks
There are many types of equipment that can be used to carry your baby, such as baby carriers, baby slings, and baby backpacks.
A baby carrier is a soft, padded carrier that you can wear on your back. Many have adjustable options that allow you to wear your baby on either your hip or back.
A baby sling, a pouch or a strip of fabric that is usually placed over your shoulder and worn across the front, is referred to as a “baby sling”.
Baby backpacks are usually made with a strong frame. Backpacks should be worn on the back. These backpacks are suitable for toddlers and older children who can stand up. Ask your GP, child and family nurse if your baby is old enough to use a backpack.
What should you look for in a baby carrier
It is important to find a baby carrier that meets your needs.
- Your baby’s hips will be in a healthy position
- It is safe to use
- It is comfortable for both you and your baby to wear.
Healthy hip positioning
A healthy hip position encourages hip development and lowers the risk for developmental dysplasia.
The baby carrier should allow the baby’s hips and legs to reach your body. The baby should have their knees spread apart, with the thighs supported and the hips bent.
Baby carriers that are safe
There is no Australian standard for baby carriers or backpacks. These tips will help you choose a safe and secure baby carrier.
- You should look for a carrier that meets the European standard EN13209-2:2005, or the US standard ASTM F2236-8.
- Make sure the instructions for how to use your carrier or sling are clear and easy to understand written, visual or audio.
- You should ensure that the carrier is made of durable, sturdy materials.
When you shop for a carrier, sling or other babywearing item, take your baby along. Ask the shop assistant how to properly fit the carrier/sling with your baby inside.
Make sure your baby is able to move their head, arms, legs, and see out of the carrier. You should also make sure that the fabric is not too close to their faces.
You should be able to put the carrier on or sling on without assistance and remove it easily. You should also ensure that you are able to adjust the straps with one hand and remove any clips, buckles or straps without assistance.
Avoid products described as ‘womb-like’ or ‘like cocoons’. These products can be used to cover baby’s face and force them into fetal position. This can increase the likelihood of overheating and suffocation.
Comfortable baby carriers
You can try different styles on your baby to find the best baby carrier. Look for a style that is comfortable for your partner or other caregivers.
These are some tips to help you choose a baby carrier that is comfortable.
Broad, padded shoulder straps should be placed across your back. Also, consider a wide waist strap. These will distribute the baby’s weight evenly, and take some pressure off your shoulders. These should stop the carrier from moving too much.
- Make sure the carrier can be used in different seasons.
- Look for a carrier you can move around to allow your baby to face forwards.
- If your baby is too heavy or uncomfortably heavy to be carried safely, you should stop using the carrier. For the maximum weight that the carrier can carry, refer to the instructions.
- Safely using a baby carrier, sling, or backpack
This article will show you how to safely use your backpack, sling, or carrier with your child.
General tips for securing children in backpacks, slings, and carriers
Make sure you read the tags about height and weight and choose the right carrier to fit your child’s measurements.
Before you place your child in the carrier, tighten the straps. Then, use the straps to secure the fit.
You should be able to adjust all straps with one hand.
Before you put your child in, make sure they are secure and free from damage. Contact the manufacturer or supplier if any buckles or straps become damaged.
Until you are comfortable putting your baby in the carrier on your own, get help. It may help to practice with a doll or teddy in order to get the baby used to the process.
General tips for using backpacks, slings, and carriers
- Shoes that are comfortable to walk in and easy to clean should be worn.
- Avoid carrying your child in hot weather. Your body heat and the carrier can increase your child’s body temperature.
- You should be careful when you are putting on or taking off your carrier. This is the time when falls are most likely. If possible, have someone else help you or lie down on the ground.
- If you need to hold onto something solid, such as a pole, while wearing the backpack, carrier, or sling, grab it.
- Instead of bending at your waist, bend at your knees. This will help prevent your baby’s fall out of their carrier, sling, or backpack.
- When you are bending down, make sure your baby isn’t able to reach hot foods or drink.
- You should not carry your child while cooking.
- Do not hold any hot food or drink, chase other children, or do anything else that could prove to be dangerous.