The main safety consideration, particularly with young babies, is ensuring that the baby is positioned correctly so that their breathing isn't restricted. The UK Sling Consortium uses an acronyom called 'TICKS' to advise parents on how to position their baby correctly, shown here.
In addition to this, there are also considerations in terms of optimal positioning to ensure that you and your baby are as comfortable and that babywearing is as beneficial as possible. At London Slings we will always check that you are confident to carry your baby safely according to TICKS. We will also show you how to be sure that the hip and spinal positioning for your baby is optimal, and ensure good posture and comfort for yourself too.
Are there any unsafe slings?
There are a few considerations here:
1. Avoid 'bag slings', where your baby lies horizontally in a hammock or bag carried across your body or over your shoulder. These do not meet the above safety criteria, so are easy to spot!
2. Check that your sling or carrier is authentic. Be very careful if buying online from Amazon, Ebay, Gumtree etc as counterfeit carriers are quite common and can be hard to spot. Either buy direct from the retailer or make sure that you see a proof of purchase. Counterfeit carriers are not safety tested and may contain unsafe dyes, (remember your baby is likely to chew the carrier as they get bigger and start teething!) poor quality stitching, cheap buckles or rings that may snap, and so on.
3. Carriers with a narrow seat, sometimes known as 'narrow based carriers' are often sold on the high street. These are not unsafe, but equally don't bring your baby's hips and spine into the optimal position described above and so often aren't the most comfortable option for you or your baby. Unless your baby does have a known hip condition, there's no problem using one of these carriers. They still convey lots of the other benefits of carrying your baby, so if you have one of these then do feel free to pop in to see us, as we may be able to make the position more comfortable for you both, or of course help you to try alternatives if you would prefer.
If in doubt, please pop in to see us with your sling or book a 1:1 appointment. Please do not feel embarrassed or worried if you haven't been carrying your baby in the safest or optimal carrier type or way. That's why we are here! We will always be happy to advise and make sure that you feel comfy and confident by the time that you leave.