When Can Baby Face Out In Carrier? – Safety Tips For Front Facing Position

Unsure when can your baby face out in carrier? If you start front facing babywearing too soon, it may be dangerous for your baby’s spine and lead to hip development issues! Here you’ll find out how to wear your baby facing out in a safe way.

When Can Baby Face Out In Carrier

If you’ve been babywearing since your baby’s first days of life, you may feel like a pro already: you’ve got a handle on the stretchy wrap, you can put your baby in the carrier, solo (way to go, mom!) and do errands with your baby snuggling against your chest.

But, what about your baby facing the world? How do you know if your baby is ready to try facing outwards?

This post is all about using outward-facing carriers: what’s safe, what’s not, and most importantly: when can baby face forward in a carrier?

This article is not a substitution for medical advice.

When Are Babies Big Enough For Front Facing Babywearing?

First let’s discuss what are the signs that you can start to wear your little one facing outward.

How Do You Know Your Baby Is Ready?

The first and foremost concern for baby facing outward in a carrier is if they are developmentally ready. Mostly, this means your child has developed full head control.

Newborn babies’ neck muscles are not strong enough to hold up their head, and it takes several months for them to develop neck control. Therefore, the only safe position for babies under 4 months of age is a front, inward-facing position, with baby’s face turned into mom or dad, and the neck gently supported.


In general, most babies will reach this milestone around 4-6 months of age.

But, every baby is different, so focus more on your baby’s development, not their age when determining if they are ready for facing forward in a carrier.

Young babies should be carried in a front, inward-facing baby carriers, while toddlers can be carried in a back carrier (but make sure your carrier has head support so their neck doesn’t fall to the side).

What’s interesting, babies who are ready to face out, usually only like it for about 6-8 weeks, then they wanted hip carry or other positions. It’s a temporary phase, wanting to face outwards from the front of mom’s chest.

Developmentally Ready

A child’s personal developmental stage is dependent on several factors, including if they were born prematurely, if they have any physical or developmental delays, and their own, unique personality, too.

Developmental Readiness – Baby’s Neck & Head Control

Your newborn baby’s neck needs to develop muscle control and strength, which happens through exercise like “tummy time”.

Many babies start with learning to roll over first, and then make efforts to sit on their own as part of their healthy development.

Once your baby’s development includes full head and neck control, you might consider an outwards-facing carry so your little one can have a better view of the world around them.

However, be cautious about starting this carrying position, remember, you’re not just holding your little one, you’re using a baby carrier: they will have to stabilized their own head against your movements, too, so be sure they have plenty of strength in their neck muscles.

Developmental Readiness – Hips

A baby’s hips grow at a rapid speed the first 6 months of life, and gradually slow down as they reach their first birthday. Because of the risk of hip dysplasia (an issue affecting the hip sockets) for your growing baby, the International Hip Dysplasia Institute recommends waiting to carry your baby in an outward-facing position until they are at least 6 months old.

More about hip joints and other hip development issues, below.

Safe Front Facing Baby Wearing

How To Choose The Right Outward-Facing Baby Carrier

Many baby carriers are advertised to have multiple carrying positions, but that doesn’t mean that they are all offer proper ergonomic support, especially for a forward-facing position.

You need to consider the seat, shoulder straps, waist belt and weight limit and more when choosing an adjustable, soft-structured carrier.

But probably the most important factors of a good front facing baby carrier are: the ergonomic position and hip support.

Optimum Hip Support

Let’s talk healthy hip development for a moment – have you ever heard of hip dysplasia? It is a condition affecting the hip socket of your little one, and can result in hip dislocation or poor hip growth.

The condition can be genetic, or it can be developed due improper swaddling or carrying positions. That’s why it is important to use a carrier which offers ergonomic support.

In baby carriers, this means a seat which keeps the pelvis tilted upwards, with baby’s knees higher than their thighs and bum, and doesn’t force baby’s spine to straighten while they are carried.

A good carrier has adjustable fabric around the seat, so you can adjust the seated width to adapt to your growing baby: a newborn needs a narrower seat, toddlers need a wider one.

When your child is seated in the carrier, the should have their knees tucked in in what I call the ‘frog-legged position’, but experts have termed the “M”, with their legs bent up, snugly supporting their hips and thighs.

Note: your baby should never have their legs danging straight down in a baby carrier, this is very bad for your baby’s hips.

Of course, if you have concerns about your baby’s growth or hips, see a qualified health provider.

Getting The Right Carrier – Other Features

What to look for in a great baby carrier that offers multiple carry positions:

  • Head Support That Is Adjustable Or Removable

When you baby is in an outwards-facing position the padded neck support (which supported their head when they were young infants) can be obtrusive, and even make it hard for them to breathe in a face-forward position.

Make sure it is removeable, or can fold down.

  • Fit & Comfort

Your baby should be snug, but not squeezed in the carrier, not matter if they are front-facing or snuggling against your chest.

Always pay attention to signs of distress or discomfort in your little one, and adjust accordingly.

  • Shoulder Straps That Are Adjustable

Look for straps that can be made into an ‘X’ at the back.

The crossed back makes carrying a heavy baby against parent’s chest just a little bit easier and reduces the feeling of baby’s weight pulling forwards and throwing off mom’s center of gravity.

  • Waist Belt With Good Lumbar Support

These belts are really helpful when having baby face outwards, because it keeps strain off the lower back and helps encourage good posture, making it ergonomic for moms.

You’ll also be more comfortable when carrying your baby facing forward if you have a good, supportive belt.

  • Weight Limit Of The Carrier

Just because a carrier supports babies up to 35 lbs doesn’t mean you’ll be comfortable carrying your 32-lb baby in a front-carry position!

The weight limits listed are for the carrier itself, not necessarily for specific positions.

Many parents find that when their little ones reach around 10 kgs (22 lbs, usually around 10-12 months of age) they are too heavy to comfortably carry in the forward-facing position, and usually a back-carrying position (also called the backpack carry) is much more comfortable, while still allowing babies to be in a ‘world-facing position’.

It is not only about the weight limits of the carrier, but also about your comfort while babywearing.

Forward Facing Position – Pros & Cons

Some moms love this position, while other are strong opponents of front-facing babywearing.


Here are the major advantages of this carry position:

  • Good For Curious Babies

The outward-facing position allows curious babies to see all around them and experience life much like adults do. It can bring them a lot of joy and thrill to not only hear the sounds around them, but to clearly see everything, too!

  • Provides Visual Stimulation

Even short periods of facing outward can provide plenty of visual stimulation for your little one: think a walk at the park, or shopping at the grocery store for an array of new sights and bright colors for their growing mind.

Children are curious and love to see the world, and most babies really enjoy being carried in a position where they can see what is going on around them.

  • Extended Babywearing

If your little one is acting fussy when carried in the inward-facing baby carrier, you may find that popping them in the stroller makes them more content (and that’s okay, too!). But if you really enjoy babywearing and want to extend the time you have your baby close, but you’re still hands-free, then this allows you to extend babywearing quite easily.


However, there are some of the drawbacks to using the forward-facing carrying position, too.

  • Only Suitable For Shorter Periods Of Time

It is not recommended to have baby forward-facing for long periods of time, for two main reasons: overstimulation and for your own comfort, as a parent.

I’d suggest carrying baby facing outwards no longer than twenty minutes at a time. You can repeat it several times throughout the course of the day.

  • Parents’ Comfort

Having baby in a carrier, facing inwards, is much easier for moms to maintain an ergonomic position.

The facing-forward position, with baby’s legs and body pulling away, can put extra strain on your back and be uncomfortable or even painful. This is another reason why it’s a good idea to only use this carrying position for short bursts of time.

  • Overstimulation

Another reason why you should only use the facing outward position sparingly (less than a half an hour at a time) is because young babies can be easily overstimulated. The dazzling decorations and bright lights of a mall at Christmas time might be beautiful for us adults, but it is a lot of external stimuli for a baby who is just getting to know the world.

Too much stimulation might not be apparent until nap time, when baby is fussy and unable to settle down and sleep. Your little one might be wide awake, unable to sleep, or crying unconsolably if they are overstimulated.

  • Not For All Babies

Some babies who don’t like the front-facing position really enjoy the hip-carrying position or the backpack baby carrier.

Both of these options allow children to see the world around them, but from a different position. If you prefer using ring slings or baby wraps, the hip carry position is very easy to do.

However, know that for all of these options, a baby must be able to support its own head in order to safely face outward.

Safety Tips

Don’t let baby sleep while facing outwards. The outward-facing carry position is not a safe position for baby to sleep in. You should never permit your baby to fall asleep while facing outward in a carrier.

Why is it dangerous?

There is no way to support baby’s head while sleeping in this position. Even a baby with good head control will slump forward when they fall asleep, possibly putting baby’s chest at risk of compression.

Additionally, while asleep, their chin can tuck into their neck and inhibit their breathing, which is very dangerous.

Another things to keep in mind are:

  • Avoid overstimulation
  • Use this position only for short periods of time
  • Make sure your baby’s thighs and hips are well supported and their legs are not dangling


Carrying your baby in an front-carry, outward-facing position is a temporary option that your baby might really enjoy from the age of 6 months old.

Only use this position for short amounts of time, make sure your baby is developmentally ready and that your baby carrier is appropriate to use this position safely.

The purpose of this article is informative. It’s not a substitute for professional medical advice or medical care. Remember: safety first! Consult your doctor/pediatrician in case of any doubts. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.

About Me - Zooey BarnettHello Moms! I am Zooey. I am a wife and a mother of three amazing kids: almost 5-year-old Haley and 2-year-old twins Jesse and Matthew. I am a jogger, cooker and blogger.

If you have a question or a comment, do not hesitate to write to me! 🙂

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