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

When wearing your baby, be sure to follow the 5 TICKS rules for keeping your baby safe.

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 Additional Safety Tips:

Current BWI standards recommend wearing newborns in wraps or slings legs-out from from birth, instead of keeping their legs froggied inside the wrap. While the froggy position can be done safely, so long as all of baby’s weight is on their bum and not their feet, it is not harmful to wear a balled-up newborn legs out and ensures that their weight is supported knee-to-knee instead of on their feet.

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Forward facing should only be done in carriers designed to do so, and with babies that have strong trunk control (preferably able to sit unassisted) since the forward-facing position does not offer as much back/trunk/neck support. Babies should never be allowed to sleep in a forward-facing position and should be turned tummy-to-tummy if they fall asleep. Many babies easily get overstimulated by forward facing, so the wearer should be vigilant for signs that baby needs to be turned around.

While wide-based “ergonomic” carriers that keep baby’s legs in the recommended “M” position are typically more comfortable for long-term wearing (for both baby and wearer) there is simply no evidence to show that narrow based carriers cause any kind of short-term or long-term damage to healthy hips. If your baby has already developed any hip problems such as hip dysplasia, consult your pediatrician for safe wearing options; but for babies with no health problems, a narrow based carrier is a safe option, and often great for newborns who cannot fit knee-to-knee in an ergonomic carrier.

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Forward facing should only be done in carriers designed to do so, and with babies that have strong trunk control (preferably able to sit unassisted) since the forward-facing position does not offer as much back/trunk/neck support. The general recommendation for forward facing is around 5 months old. Babies should never be allowed to sleep in a forward-facing position and should be turned tummy-to-tummy if they fall asleep. Many babies easily get overstimulated by forward facing, so the wearer should be vigilant for signs that baby needs to be turned around.

While wide-based “ergonomic” carriers that keep baby’s legs in the recommended “M” position are typically more comfortable for long-term wearing (for both baby and wearer) there is simply no evidence to show that narrow based carriers cause any kind of short-term or long-term damage to healthy hips. If your baby has already developed any hip problems such as hip dysplasia, consult your pediatrician for safe wearing options; but for babies with no health problems, a narrow based carrier is a safe option, and often great for newborns who cannot fit knee-to-knee in an ergonomic carrier.

In addition, toddlers are at a severly reduced risk for developing hip displasia, so finding a carrier wide enough to fit your toddler or preschooler is more of a matter of their comfort. If they are comfortable with the panel supporting them to mid-thigh, that is perfectly fine. Be sure that the panel comes up to their armpits to prevent a fall risk, though.

  -- Alyssa Leonard - 2016-07-16
 
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