The T.I.C.K.S rule for safe baby sling wearing from the Consortium of UK Sling Manufacturers and Retailers (UK Sling Consortium) is a useful reminder of the key factors to take into account when using baby slings. They provide the following advice for baby sling wearers:
- T – Tight
- I – In view at all times
- C – Close enough to kiss
- K – Keep chin off the chest
- S – Supported back
More information on each point can be found below:
TIGHT – slings and carriers should be tight enough to hug your baby close to you as this will be most comfortable for you both. Any slack/loose fabric will allow your baby to slump down in the carrier which can hinder their breathing and pull on your back.
IN VIEW AT ALL TIMES – you should always be able to see your baby’s face by simply glancing down. The fabric of a sling or carrier should not close around them so you have to open it to check on them. In a cradle position your baby should face upwards not be turned in towards your body.
CLOSE ENOUGH TO KISS – your baby’s head should be as close to your chin as is comfortable. By tipping your head forward you should be able to kiss your baby on the head or forehead.
KEEP CHIN OFF THE CHEST – a baby should never be curled so their chin is forced onto their chest as this can restrict their breathing. Ensure there is always a space of at least a finger width under your baby’s chin.
SUPPORTED BACK – in an upright carry a baby should be held comfortably close to the wearer so their back is supported in its natural position and their tummy and chest are against you. If a sling is too loose they can slump which can partially close their airway. (This can be tested by placing a hand on your
baby’s back and pressing gently – they should not uncurl or move closer to you.) A baby in a cradle carry in a pouch or ring sling should be positioned carefully with their bottom in the deepest part so the sling does not fold them in half pressing their chin to their chest.
To access a poster which outlines this advice in full, click here.