How to keep your baby comfortable and safe in a baby backpack carrier
You may have thought two arms were enough before you had your baby, but now wouldn't 20 be nice? Fortunately, baby carriers can give you back the two you started with while keeping your baby close and happy. But can you trust these artificial arms to do the same job yours do?
Here are some tips for keeping your baby safe and comfortable in a backpack carrier:
- Use the carrier properly. The safety of a carrier is completely dependent upon correct usage. Despite how obvious your carrier may appear to be and how dauntingly long the manual that came with it, force yourself to read it. You will usually find that half the length is the Spanish translation, and the other half has at least one thing you wouldn't have thought of that could potentially protect your child. For instance, leg openings are usually adjustable and must be worn at the smallest comfortable size. Now, you may see the larger size and think there is no way your child can fall through, but this is a common carrier-related accident that manufacturers are trying to prevent. It's best to take their word for it.
- Only use the carrier during appropriate activities. Most backpack carriers are designed for walking activities only, but even during these activities, there are things to be cautious of. Bend at the knees instead of your waist so your baby doesn't topple out. Don't reach for things above your head, as they may fall and hit your child. Realize your carrier will raise your center of gravity, making it easy to lose your balance, so avoid any treacherous terrain (the cluttered floor of a bedroom, rocky paths, cliff edges, etc.). You are also more prone to slip on an inclined or slick surface or twist your ankle due to the added weight of your child, so wear appropriate footwear (high traction, low heel).
- Check for overheating. Most carriers are thick and padded for comfort, but in hot climates, this can cause your child to overheat. Be sure to check periodically if your baby's skin feels too warm (especially on the back and chest), if their face is flushed or if there's any other sign of heat exhaustion. If you are outdoors in a warm area, dress the baby in light clothing, take them out of the carrier periodically to cool down, be sure 'they're drinking plenty of fluids and keep them out of the direct sunlight (carry an umbrella if you have to).
- Check your baby's position frequently. It's important to check your child's position frequently to be sure that they are comfortable and especially that their breathing is not obstructed. If you are alone, you can keep a little plastic mirror in your pocket (such as a folding makeup mirror) and use it to see your baby behind you.
Used properly, a baby carrier can be a wonderful way to keep your baby close at hand without having your hands full!