Babywearing Safety

Please read these important guidelines to ensure your baby is in the safest position possible.

  • Make sure your baby can breathe at all times. Baby carriers allow parents to be hands-free to do other things, but you must always be active in caring for your child. No baby carrier can ensure that your baby has an open airway.
  • Never allow your baby to be carried, held, or placed in a position that curls the head against the chest. This position can restrict your baby’s ability to breathe. This rule applies to babies held in your arms, in a baby carrier, in an infant car seat, or in any other kind of seat or resting position. Newborns do not have the muscle control to open their airways if they are placed in this kind of position.
  • Never allow your baby’s head and face to be covered with fabric. This prevents you from being able to easily and frequently check on your baby. Never jog, run or do any other activity that subjects your baby to strong shaking or bouncing motions. This motion can damage your baby’s neck, spine or brain. Never use a baby carrier when riding in a car or while riding a bike. Baby carriers offer none of the protection provided by car seats or bike seats. Only use carriers that are appropriate for your baby’s age and weight. For example, frame backpack carriers can be useful for hiking with older babies or toddlers, but they’re not appropriate for babies who cannot sit unassisted for extended periods of time. Please take into consideration your child’s own physical and developmental stage when considering which carrier to use.
  • Inspect your carrier regularly to be sure that it is sound. Check the fabric, seams, and any buckles or fasteners. You should be in the habit of doing this every time you use the carrier. If you have any doubts about the structural stability of your carrier, do not use it.
  • It is always important to avoid activities with an increased risk of falls. A good general rule to follow is that if you aren’t supposed to do it while pregnant, you shouldn’t do it while carrying a baby. In fact, when a baby is in the womb, there is some built-in protection, but a baby in your arms or in a carrier does not have that same protection. The risk of falling increases when you climb a ladder, ride a horse, or go skating or skiing. Your risk of falling also increases on slippery surfaces like the ones you encounter when you go bowling, sailing, or walking on snow and ice.
  • If you need to wear protective gear while doing something, you shouldn’t do it while carrying a baby. Baby carriers do not provide ear or eye protection, protection from projectiles like rocks flung from a lawn mower, or protection from fumes and dust related to housecleaning.
  • Be sure to protect babies from the elements. Their arms and heads may need sun protection. Don’t dress your baby too warmly in the summer and don’t use a baby carrier under circumstances that could lead to heat stress. Don’t let your baby get too cold in the winter (There are some excellent coats and ponchos designed especially for use with baby carriers).
  • Be aware of what your baby can reach. In particular, remember that a baby on your back can reach things you can’t see. Don’t put loose items in the carrier with your baby that are potential choking hazards, or that might poke your baby or cover his or her face.
  • Your baby’s nose should be at least parallel to the floor at all times. When your baby is sleeping, his or her nose should be pointed higher. Fabric or sleeping hoods should support your sleeping baby’s head at all times.
  • Be cautious when eating hot food or consuming hot beverages when your baby is in the carrier.
  • Support your baby with your arms when leaning or bending over. Always bend at your knees.