Wide Base and Narrow Base – Whats the Diff?

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With the increase in babywearing knowledge via the internet, it’s great to see a huge swing in the amount of ergonomic, wide base carriers that are being bought and used now.

There is a lot of misconceptions about narrow based carriers and often they are frowned upon, however i feel that most carriers have a place and a use in the babywearing world and should be seen as a useful tool.

The Basics

The names say most of the basic differences, one is narrow and a baby’s legs will hang vertical. Where as a wide base will wrap baby’s legs around the wearer.

 

A Narrow Based Carrier in Front Facing Out Position

 

A Wide Based carrier In Facing in Position

The Physiology

One of the most common complaints with narrow based carriers beyond a few months is how uncomfortable they are for the wearer, and this is due to the way gravity and the child’s weight interact. The weight of the child is forced downwards from the parents front, pulling the wearers shoulder and centre of gravity forwards, leading to back and neck discomfort and even pain.

With a wide base carrier the weight is distributed onto the wearers torso, down their core and through the legs to the floor, as the legs and core are very strong the wearer feels very little impact.

The Rumours

A misconception of narrow based carriers is that they can cause hip and back issues in babies, this simply isn’t true and there is no medical evidence to back up the claim. What we do know is that if a child has underlying issues then it isn’t advised to use a narrow based carrier and instead should be using a wide based carrier as this holds the legs in a similar position that a pavlik or equivalent harness does.

T.I.C.K.S

Many narrow based carrier especially on younger babies, do not encompass this simple safety acronym and can allow a child to slump risking their chin dropping to their chest. So be cautious when using any carrier that the T.I.C.K.S are being followed.

Hacking a Narrow Based Carrier

Fear not though if you do have a narrow based carrier, you can hack it to a wide based carrier by simply adding a scarf under the bum to bring the legs up into a more optimum position.

 

Video by Sheffield Sling Surgery

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