September is baby safety month, and we are going over the TICKS of babywearing. What are TICKS, you ask? TICKS is an acronym for the basic safety measures while babywearing. Regardless of the style of the carrier being used, the TICKS safety rules apply. Familiarizing yourself with this checklist of safety measures will help you to feel more confident, keep your baby safe, and have you feeling like a pro!
Whether you’re using a LILLEbaby Dragonfly wrap or the Complete carrier, wearing your baby in a carrier should feel like you’re giving them a gentle, warm embrace. The carrier should be tight enough to support the baby, so it feels as if you are moving as one, with your baby almost feeling weightless. If you feel as if you need to hold a hand against your carrier to keep your baby secure, then more than likely, there is slack somewhere in the fabric or straps, which can be removed by tightening. If you, the wearer, feel pulling or discomfort in areas of your body, then adjustments to the positioning of the carrier should be made. A tight and properly adjusted carrier helps the wearer and baby feel more comfortable.
(I)n view at all times
Keeping the baby in view at all times means simply this- being able to glance down and see your baby’s face unobstructed. This means no fabric or accessories between the wearer’s eyes and the baby’s face. The wearer wants to see the baby’s mouth, nose, and eyes effortlessly to monitor the baby’s cues and breathing. This is especially true as the weather gets cooler and more layers are added to stay warm.
(C)lose enough to kiss
Wearing a baby at a height where a simple nod of the head allows you to kiss the top of the head without strain is the goal! This is a topic that some parents find subjective, as torso sizes differ between genders and body types. However, when babywearing, especially with young babies, the higher, the better. If using a soft structured carrier such as the Complete carrier, beginning with placing the waistband high on the wearer’s waist will bring the baby higher. Smaller babies should be worn higher on the body. The top of the baby’s head should touch the wearer’s collar bone at a minimum, as a general guideline. As babies grow in age and length, the carrier can move downward toward their hips to accommodate the height of the wearer’s body.
(K)eep chin off chest
Infants without head and neck control are unable to move their heads should their airways become blocked. Therefore, keeping the baby’s airway clear by proper positioning is crucial. The general rule of thumb is a two-finger space between the chin and chest. When in a carrier, babies should remain in an upright position. Multi-position carriers such as the Complete carrier, which allows babies over 6 months to forward face, are great for giving your baby a front-row seat to the world. But once the baby shows signs of tiredness or has fallen asleep, it’s important to turn the baby around right away. A sleeping baby that is forward-facing is at risk of positional asphyxia. Baby should always be facing you when sleeping so you can ensure the best position to keep the airway open and clear.
(S)upport baby’s back
Babies spend 9 months developing in the womb in the fetal position. When they are born, their back is in a natural C-shape curve. Over the course of the first year, the back begins to straighten. For newborns and young infants, a carrier should not put pressure on the back and force it into a straight position. Rather, the carrier should support the natural curve of the baby’s back. So, while ensuring that your carrier is tight and void of excess slack, making sure it’s not overly tight is important.
If you’re new to babywearing, this information can seem overwhelming at first. However, help is available!
Learn more from the American Academy of Pediatrics website or the site of your favorite baby carrie