This week is Hip Health Week, organised by the charity STEPS to raise awareness of hip health and help people understand the symptoms, causes and solutions for hip instability which affects 15% of children born in the UK each year.
At Izmi, we are proud to design and make a range of hip healthy baby carriers that are recognised by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute for supporting hip health in babies. But with so many baby carriers now claiming to be ergonomic and ‘hip healthy’, how do you know what to look for?
Ensure your baby carrier has a fully adjustable seat that enables you to change the width to fit your baby as they grow and regularly check whether the seat is supporting your little one because a growth spurt can catch you by surprise!
You want your baby to be supported from the back of one knee, all the way across their bottom to the back of the other knee and all hip healthy baby carriers should provide this fit.
The ‘W’ Position
Have you noticed that your baby likes to hold their legs up in a ‘froggy legged’ position, with their knees higher than their hips and pointing out to the sides of their body? In medical terms this position is known as ‘flexed and abducted’, and is a naturally hip healthy position that babies often adopt to to allow their thigh bone to sit centrally in their hip socket. Hip healthy baby carriers should support this ‘W’ position to keep baby comfortable for the duration of the carry and this should also make carrying more comfortable for you too.
Easy to fit and use
Hip healthy baby carriers will be easy to use and allow you to simply hold your baby and clip into place around them. If you have to push your baby into awkward positions to wiggle them in and out of the carrier then it probably isn’t a hip healthy design as the carrier should adjust to fit the baby, not the other way around!
Follow the T.I.C.K.S Guidelines for Baby Carrier Safety
Hip healthy baby carriers should offer all of the above, but you must also ensure you always follow the T.I.C.K.S guidelines for baby carrying to keep your baby safe while they are in their carrier or wrap. The T.I.C.K.S guidelines are:
T – Tight
I – In view at all times
C – Close enough to kiss
K – Keep chin off chest
S – Supported back
Your baby’s head should always be supported inline with their spine. Their airways must be clear with their body positioned high up on your chest so that the top of their head is close enough to kiss. Ensure your carrier is a snug fit and supports baby’s spine so that they aren’t slumped down inside the carrier. These simple rules help ensure safe baby carrying every time and apply to every baby carrier or wrap, whether they claim to be hip health baby carriers or not.
For more information, read our tips for safe baby wearing.