Baby carriers: Safe and sound as in Abraham's bosom
Most babies start to walk at the age of twelve months. But even before this date, many little rascals are not satisfied spending the entire day lying down or crawling. They want to discover the world - ideally from an upright position. Baby carriers may prove more than practical for stressed parents. Experts from TÜV Product Service, TÜV SÜD Group, give helpful tips about what to look out for when purchasing and using carriers, baby-slings and hard-frame models.
Check the comfort factor
Parents should test the carrier before buying in the shop, because the comfort factor plays an important role. After all, the child will be shaken up quite a bit -- which should not, however, put a damper on the fun of using a baby carrier.
Always important: only use baby carriers suitable for the size and age of your child. The manufacturer details provided in the operating instructions must include this information. Hard-frame back carriers, for example, are not suitable until the child's muscular system and skeleton have stabilised enough for an upright carrying position which requires the child to hold its head up for longer periods.
Additionally, when purchasing a baby carrier, attention should also be paid to the accessories. Weather protection against rain or wind, for example, is important. On hot days, a sun protector is recommended.
By the way: If you want to make completely sure that you are on the safe side when you purchase a baby carrier, look out for the blue Octagon or the GS mark of TÜV Product Service. All products identified by these marks have been extensively tested for aspects such as stability, materials or serviceability and many more.
Hard-frame for sporty sprogs
The big advantage of baby carriers lies in their flexibility. Children can participate in almost all of Mum’s and Dad’s activities. Hard-frame carriers are recommended for more leisurely activities such as hiking.
Due to the high risk of injuries, however, it is the best to avoid rough terrain. And ski slopes are definitely no place for babies, whatever type of baby carrier they are in. The same applies to cycling and skating.
Correct carrying is good for the baby's development
Another benefit offered by baby carriers is their role in preventing the abnormal hip joint formation known as dysplasia. The position of babies sleeping in a baby sling with spread legs and bent knees the so-called frog-leg position, is ideal for preventing dysplasia because the femoral head fits perfectly into the pelvic socket. In the first months after birth, a baby carrier can also enhance general development by providing the child's brain with more stimuli -- good for its development. In addition, babies train their organs of balance because each movement of the person carrying the child causes a countermovement by the latter. Apart from all of the above, intensive body and eye contact have a soothing effect on children. When carrying infants, support their heads with your hand, because their back and neck muscles have not yet matured. Another tip: in cold weather Mums and Dads can best protect their children by carrying them under their jackets. Woolly hats and socks help to keep babies warm and cosy.
Don't forget the health of the person doing the carrying
The health of the person actually carrying the baby is frequently overlooked. For parents suffering from back problems, baby carriers are generally a no-go. Otherwise, starting to use the baby carrier right after the baby’s birth is beneficial, so that the muscles of the person carrying the baby can develop parallel to the baby's weight. One thing is sure, however: the shorter the better. On hiking tours, regular breaks should be taken, and TÜV SÜD experts advise against spending hours shopping when carrying a baby in a carrier or sling.