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Is it safe for my baby to sleep in a carrier?

It’s Sleep Awareness week, and a great time to answer a really common question parents have about using their sling or baby carrier; is it safe for a baby to sleep in it?

In brief, the answer is yes!  Providing that you are using your wrap, sling or carrier correctly and safely, then it is also safe for your baby to nap whilst being carried.  In fact, research has shown that contact with their parent can help a newborn baby to sleep more quietly and for longer.  And it’s also been shown that babies under 6 months are at a reduced risk of SIDs (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) when they are close to their parents, day and night, while they sleep.

Safe babywearing is therefore a really great way to help support your baby’s safe, natural sleeping.  It also allows you to get your hands free to get on with your day whilst your littlest one rests.

Baby sleeping in carrier safely

So what are the important things to know if you’d like to use your carrier for your baby’s nap times?

  1. Upright Positioning – The safest way for your baby to sleep in a sling or carrier is in an upright (vertical) position, high and snug against your chest.
  2. Face Free – Just like in a cot, when in a wrap or carrier, ensure that no fabric or straps can cover your baby’s nose or mouth.  You should be able to look down or in a mirror and see that your baby’s face is free of any fabric at all times.
  3. Chin Away From Chest – It’s harder for a baby to breathe when their chin is pressed against their chest, so make sure that their chin is slightly lifted, with at least a finger’s space between their chin and their chest.
  4. High and Tight – When in their wrap or carrier your baby should be held high and tight against your body, just like you’d hold them against you in your arms.  For mums, their head should lie against the flat part of your upper chest, not lower down between or under your breasts.  Your sling needs to be fastened tightly so that your baby is fully supported with their spine stable and they are not able to flop or slump to the side or away from your body.
  5. Head Supported – Even bigger babies need head support when they fall asleep.  Make sure that your baby’s head is fully stabilised against any movements, whilst making sure you can still see their face.
  6. Be aware – You should always be able to monitor your baby whilst they are in your sling or carrier. Whilst it may be tempting at times, it’s not safe for you to sleep whilst you are carrying your baby in a wrap or carrier.  If you feel like you may drop off, take your baby out of the sling and into their normal safe sleeping space.

TICKS safety checklist to for baby sleeping in a sling

There’s more information about sling safety on the Izmi Baby website here.

We hear so many lovely stories from Izmi carrier users about how soundly their babies nap whilst in their wrap or carrier.  For some being able to feel baby sleeping safe and sound against them whilst they get on with other things has been simply life changing.  We’d love to hear more of your stories, and see your photos too, so please share your sleepy babywearing pictures with us this week on Facebook or Instagram!

Happy nap times!

Useful links:

Using a Sling for Daytime Sleep:  https://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/isis.online/pdfs/ISIS_Slings_2015.pdf