Rather than lugging a stroller or a carrier around, some parents might opt to purchase the type of unit that allows a baby to be strapped in close to their parents’ chest. But when you make the decision to go with this type of holder, it’s imperative that you know how to do so safely.
A new report provides guidance for those parents who have chosen to purchase an item that in essence lets them wear their baby. As the report states, this isn’t without danger. The author points out the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s finding that 14 babies have died over the course of two decades due to improper usage, and three of those fatalities occurred in the past four years. Thus, consider the tips on hand to ensure your baby’s safety.
First, make sure you’re investing in the right type of unit given your baby’s size. For newborns, a carrier that goes on the front of the body is acceptable, so long as the child is facing toward the parent. Front packs in general should only last until your child has reached the 20 pound mark. At that point, they’ll have to be transferred to a back unit. And until the baby reaches around five months in age at the very least, one shouldn’t invest in a carrier with a soft structure.
Once you do transfer the baby to a structure that allows you to transfer them on your back, it becomes particularly important to be aware of your surroundings. Make sure that you’re not lugging your child somewhere that they could grab onto something, getting entangled or putting a small object they could choke on in their mouths.
One type of carrier you should avoid is that which allows you to carry the baby in a sling. These can press a baby too tightly against the parent, and thus it poses a suffocation hazard. Although it’s inadvisable to use such a unit, if you have your heart set on it, make sure you can see your child’s face at all times and that he or she is not burrowed into your body.
Although it should sound like common sense, parents should at no time opt to exercise while carrying their babies in a chest or back carrier. When you run or conduct some other type of activity, the baby gets jostled around in an unhealthy way, and thus you should limit intense actions while carrying your child.
Finally, make sure the carrier is right for you. Switch units if your back starts to hurt after using the carrier for an extended period of time. And be willing to check out the unit on a regular basis to check for wear and tear that could indicate an imminent failure.