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Choosing the best and safest baby carrier | Comprehensive Guide

Choosing the best and safest baby carrier

WRITTEN BY

Julie Monson 

Occupational Therapist 

 

 

Babywearing is proven to have many practical, emotional and physical benefits to both you and your baby. It is important to choose a carrier that is safe, comfortable and easy to use in order to get the most out of your carrier. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult deciding which one is best for your needs. This is especially so if you are choosing a baby carrier while you are still pregnant and can’t fit the carrier to your body properly. 


In this informative blog, we will explain the key features to look out for when choosing a good baby carrier. 

Whether you're seeking a simple and easy to use design or a carrier packed with adaptability and longevity, we've got several options to choose from. We also offer in-store baby wearing fittings or online consultations if you need further assistance.

     

    1. IS THE CARRIER SAFE?

    There are many baby carriers on the market that are not approved as being hip healthy nor are they safety approved. A good baby carrier should position your baby in a safe and healthy position, and the buckles and clasps should be able to hold your baby’s weight and be free from any hazards.

    INTERNATIONAL HIP DYSPLASIA INSTITUTE APPROVAL

    A reputable baby carrier should be recognized by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI) as being hip-healthy for your baby. The IHDI evaluates whether the carrier positions a baby’s hips in the healthy "M-position," which means the hips are spread apart to the sides, with the thighs supported and the hips and knees bent. This allows for free movement of the hips without forcing them together, promoting natural hip development. 

    Look for carriers endorsed by the IHDI to ensure that your baby's hips are properly supported and positioned for healthy hip development.   It's crucial to be aware that not all baby carriers promote healthy hip positioning, and some may even contribute to hip dysplasia if used improperly. Carriers that bring a baby's legs together, such as some side slings, or allow them to dangle down, can create an unhealthy hip position. The most concerning position for a baby's hips is when their legs are held straight in extension, with the hips and knees stretched out and the legs brought together, which is the opposite of the foetal position. 

    correct baby carrier hip position

     

    Prolonged use of carriers that maintain this unhealthy position can increase the risk of hip dysplasia or dislocation. Healthy hip positioning in a carrier avoids these problematic positions, ensuring that the baby's hips are properly supported and allowing for natural hip development.

    All our baby carriers are recognised by IHDI.

     

       

      INTERNATIONAL SAFETY STANDARDS

       

      It is not mandatory for baby carrier manufacturers to comply with or be approved by the relevant safety standards. However, reputable manufacturers may choose to follow their recommendations to ensure that their baby carriers are safe and ergonomic for use. They may volunteer their products to be assessed for safety.


      Carriers sold in USA can be tested and approved to ASTM-F2236-16a safety standards and in Europe they can be tested and approved to CEN/TR 16512.

      CEN/TR 16512 provides guidelines to baby carrier manufacturers to ensure that they address all potential hazards associated with slings/carriers. This safety standard identifies all thermal hazards, chemical hazards, choking and ingestion hazards, entrapment hazards, entanglement hazards and suffocation hazards.  

      By choosing a baby carrier that passes CEN/TR 16512, you can rest assured that you have a durable carrier that provides safety from these hazards.      

      ASTM F2236 is a standard set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) that specifically relates to baby carriers. The standard covers various aspects of safety, including materials used, construction, design features, and performance requirements. It aims to reduce the risk of injury to babies and ensure that carriers are suitable for their intended use.   

      Baby carriers that meet the requirements outlined in ASTM F2236 are considered compliant with safety standards and are regarded as safe.     

      Ergobaby is also JPMA certified. In order for a product to be JPMA certified, it must be tested by an independent testing facility for compliance with the specific ASTM (American Society for Testing & Materials) standards. If a product passes the tests, JPMA allows the manufacturer to label it with the JPMA Certified Seal.

      2. WEIGHT AND AGE LIMITS

      Manufacturers of baby carriers should conduct thorough testing and research to establish suitable weight and age limits for their products. These limits are determined based on various factors including the carrier's design, materials, and intended usage. Adhering to the manufacturer's guidelines is essential to ensure the safety and efficacy of the carrier. 

      When selecting a baby carrier, choose one that is appropriate for your baby's age and size. This ensures that you get the most use out of it while keeping your baby safe and comfortable. Some carriers are designed for infants and may only be suitable for the first year of life. These are usually easier to use as there is less to adjust, but they are used for a shorter period of time. Multistage carriershave higher weight limits of up to 20kg and offer adjustability to allow different carrying positions to accommodate your baby as they grow. 

      By selecting a carrier that aligns with your baby's age and developmental stage, you can ensure a secure and enjoyable babywearing experience for both you and your little one.

       

      3. CARRYING POSITIONS

      Baby carriers can offer different carrying positions to accommodate your needs and preferences. Different carrying positions are suitable for different ages 

       

      1. Inward-Facing Position (Front Carry):  In this position, the baby is carried facing inward towards your chest. It provides close contact and promotes bonding. This position is ideal for newborns and younger babies who need extra support for their developing neck and spine. It allows you to monitor the baby's breathing and ensure their comfort. 
      2. Outward-Facing Position (Front Carry): In this position, the baby is carried facing outward, away from your chest. It allows your baby to observe the world around them. This position is suitable for older babies with good head and neck control who are curious about their environment. They can become overstimulated in this position, so it's a good idea to monitor your baby's tolerance. You should ensure that your baby's legs are supported and that their hips are in a healthy position to prevent discomfort or hip dysplasia. Babies should not sleep in this position. 
      3. Hip Carry: In this position, your baby is carried on your hip. It allows for freedom of movement for you while still providing close contact with your baby. It can be a more comfortable position during activities such as walking or household chores. 
      4. Back Carry: In this position, your baby is carried on your back. Back carrying is often preferred for older babies who have good head and neck control. It is also more comfortable for you when your baby gets taller, and wearing them on your chest may become uncomfortable as their head sits too high up under your chin. It allows you to maintain freedom of movement while keeping your baby secure and comfortable. Babies should not sleep in this position  

       

       

       

       

      Each carrying position offers unique benefits and considerations, and you may choose different positions based on your preferences, your baby's age and development, and the activities you plan to engage in while wearing the baby carrier. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines for safe and comfortable babywearing in each position.

      4. COMFORT

      An uncomfortable baby carrier can result in neck and backache to you. Choosing an ergonomically designed carrier that can be easily adjusted to fit your body correctly, will ensure your comfort and spine health.

       

       

      COMPARATIVE TABLE 

      Model Name Weight & Height Limits IHDI Approved
      Carrying positions
      Safety Approvals
      Inward Outward Back Hip
      Lenny
      lamb Lenny
      Light
      3.5kg to 20kg 

         
      CEN/TR 16512:2015 & ASTM F2236 - 16a
      Lenny
      lamb Lenny
      Upgrade
      3.5kg to 20kg 

        ✔
      CEN/TR 16512:2015 & ASTM F2236 - 16a
      UBUNTU BABA STAGE 1 Birth to 12kg  N/A
      UBUNTU BABA STAGE 2 9 months to 20kg N/A N/A
      ERGO
      BABY OMNI BREEZE
      3.2kg & 50cm to 20.4kg 
      ASTM F2236 
      Ergo
      baby Omni Dream
      3.2kg & 50cm to 20.4kg 
      ASTM F2236 
      Ergo
      baby Omni 360
      3.2kg & 50cm to 20.4kg  ASTM F2236
      ERGO
      BABY EMBRACE
      3.2kg & 50cm to  11.3kg  CEN/TR 16512
      BESAFE HAVEN 55cm/4 weeks to 15kg  CEN/TR 16512
      BESAFE NEW
      BORN HAVEN
      3.2kg & 50cm to 11kg CEN/TR 16512
      SNUGGLEROO Birth to 12kg N/A

      References

       

      https://hipdysplasia.org/baby-carriers-other-equipment/

      https://knowledge.bsigroup.com/products/child-use-and-care-articles-guidelines-for-the-safety-of-childrens-slings?version=standard https://cdn.standards.iteh.ai/samples/95344/cfe3a449a3714f2e898173d467b0d53b/ASTM-F2236-16a.pdf

      https://www.jpmacares.org/baby-carrier-safety https://ergobaby.com/blog/2009/09/jpma-certification/#disqus_thread   

       

      APPROVED BABY CARRIERS

       

      LENNYLAMB LENNYLIGHT

      LENNYLAMB
      LENNYLIGHT

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      Ergobaby omni breeze

      ERGOBABY OMNI BREEZE

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      ERGOBABY OMNI 360

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      BESAFE NEWBORN HAVEN

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      LENNY UPGRADE

      LENNYLAMB LENNYUPGRADE

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      ERGOBABY OMNI DREAM

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      BESAFE HAVEN

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      SNUGGLEROO

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