Parents and carers of babies often have their hands full.
Baby slings and carriers are useful for carrying your baby hands-free, so you can get things done.
It’s important to choose and use these products safely as they can cause suffocation, neck injuries and finger traps.
Check out these simple steps for choosing and using baby slings and carriers safely.
Choosing a safe baby sling or carrier
Before you step out in the world together, make sure you opt for the safest sling or carrier for your baby:
- Choose a sling or carrier that’s right for your baby’s size and allows some head, arm and leg movement and even weight distribution.
- Look for restraining straps to prevent your baby from falling out and straps that you can adjust with one hand.
- Choose a sling or carrier with sturdy materials and heavy-duty fasteners.
- Check for sharp points, edges or rough surfaces that may harm your baby.
- For babies under 4 months, or who are premature, low birth weight or have breathing difficulties, consult a paediatrician before using these products.
- While they might sound comforting for your baby, never buy slings/carriers that are described as 'womb-like', a 'cocoon' or which put baby in a C-shaped position, as they have a risk of suffocation.
Using your baby sling or carrier safely
- Check the instructions for safe use and have someone assist you when using the sling/carrier for the first time.
- Always use restraining straps to prevent your baby from falling out.
- Make sure your baby’s chin is off their chest and your baby’s face is uncovered to avoid suffocation.
- With slings, place your baby in a slanted or upright position so they have a straight, flat back with head support and their chin up.
Remember and follow the TICKS advice:
- T — Tight: Slings should be tight enough to hug your baby close to you.
- I — In view at all times: You should always be able to see your baby's face by simply glancing down.
- C — Close enough to kiss: By tipping your head forward you should be able to kiss your baby on the head.
- K — Keep chin off the chest: A baby should never be curled so that their chin is forced onto their chest as this can restrict their breathing.
- S — Supported back: The baby's back should be supported in a natural position so their tummy and chest are against you.