An increasing number of parents are using slings, wraps and baby carriers to transport their new born babies and infants, enjoying the benefits of close physical contact whilst being able to go anywhere without taking a pram or buggy. It was inevitable therefore that recently there was a debate on the Family Cycling Facebook Forum around the question “Can I cycle with my baby in a sling?” To help parents with the legal and safety implications I’ve written this article. It does not mean that Cycle Sprog either supports or condones parents who cycle with their baby while using a sling, wrap or baby carrier.
Is it legal to cycle with my baby in a sling?
Please note this answer applies only to the United Kingdom (UK).
In a word – No. It is illegal to ride a bike wearing a sling or baby carrier in places where the Road Traffic Act is in force.
At a basic level, the Highway code rule 68 states:
You MUST NOT
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However, as mentioned above – when cycling with a child of any age, you need to make sure their head and neck are adequately supported. If you want more information about the risks of SBS, and whether general day to day and play activities put your child at risk, I found this article useful.
7. Have you considered the benefits of cycling with a sling?
It is inevitable that this article has to focus more on the negative sides of the debate. However it’s worth thinking of some of the positives:
Avoiding car usage – many families don’t have a car, or try to limit usage for shorter trips
Getting out the house and cycling with your baby is a good way to get fresh air and regular exercise (recommended for treatment of Post Natal Depression)
Saving on the expense of adaptors for trailers and cargo bikes that are only used for a few months
Some parents prefer to have their baby close to them, rather than further away in a trailer or bike seat
You can get out in the fresh air and be active with your baby from a very young age
Many bike seats and trailers don’t provide the support for a babies neck, whilst a baby carrier has been designed to support the neck and head.
8. What do the Dutch do?
They mainly use cargo bikes, but it’s not uncommon for slings to be used. Of course they have fabulous infrastructure, so don’t have the same worries about riding in traffic that we have in most of the UK. They also seem to grow up into strong, fit and capable children and adults, and I could find no medical evidence of issues with trauma from being cycled with from an early age.
9. How do other people manage?
Here’s a couple of photos I found on the web to show how it’s done:
From Single Track Forum