September is National 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 carrier being used carrier, 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 LÍLLÉbaby 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 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 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 wearer and baby feel more comfortable.
(I)n view at all times
Keeping 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 baby’s face. The wearer wants to see 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 baby at a height where a simple nod of the head allows you to kiss the top of their 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 baby’s head should touch the wearers collar bone at minimum, as a general guideline. As babies grow in age and length, the carrier can move downward towards their hips to accommodate the height on the wearer’s body.
(K)eep chin off chest
Infants without head and neck control are unable to move their heads should their airway become blocked. Therefore, keeping baby’s airway clear by proper positioning is crucial. The general rule of thumb is a two finger space between 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 baby shows signs of tiredness or has fallen asleep it’s important to turn 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 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. If you have questions about babywearing or need fit help, join our Facebook community. The LÍLLÉbaby Facebook Love Group is a wonderful resource for babywearing support and new friends. We also offer one on one fit checks for LÍLLÉbaby customers at firstname.lastname@example.org.