31st May 2020

Free baby carrier hire during pandemic

Somerset County Council’s Public Health team is stepping up support during the coronavirus pandemic and offering free carrier hire to give every baby the best start in life, building an even closer and loving connection with their parents.

The Council is working with Carry Me Kate Parenting Services CIC to provide free hire of carriers for new parents during the coronavirus crisis.

Councillor Clare Paul, Cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing at Somerset County Council, said: “Everyone is spending much more time at home at present, this may mean that many new parents have more time together after their baby is born. Sling use can provide benefits to the whole family, supporting baby to be close during daily routines and while taking daily exercise.”

Carry Me Kate Parenting Services CIC provides a universal sling library, breastfeeding peer support, a cloth nappy library, parenting and community support – these have all moved to virtual platforms for the time being.

Every baby born in Somerset between April and September will be able to benefit from a carrier, hired cost-free, for a month. A scheduled virtual video session will be scheduled with parents as it’s vital that slings are worn correctly and safely. Further support can be provided on a one to one basis as well as the option to participate in group online sessions

Kate Mahoney, who runs the community interest company, said: ‘During this time we are really pleased to be working with Somerset County Council to be able to offer free hire and advice. Becoming a new parent can be challenging at the best of time, and during this pandemic we wish to offer parents as many tools as possible to enable them to make close and loving connections with their babies and to make their lives as easy as possible.

“Safe sling wearing is essential, and the scheme promotes safety and wellbeing. The TICKS checklist should be implemented every time your baby is in the sling full details can be found here: http://babyslingsafety.co.uk/

“Evidence shows that babies carried in a sling form a close bond with their parent or carer. It promotes the release of oxytocin, a hormone linked to feelings of love, wellbeing and connection with others.”

After the initial cost-free month, continued sling hire is available and can be discussed with the sling consultants at Carry Me Kate. To get in touch contact Carry me Kate Parenting Service CIC Sling Library on Kate@carrymekate.co.uk

Families are encouraged to visit Somerset County Council’s Public Health’s website Healthy Happy and Safe at home pages which provide a wealth of practical information, advice and ideas to help you during these exceptional times. There is a special families and children section included.

The Somerset Coronavirus Support Helpline 0300 790 6275, staffed by the county and district councils’ contact centres, is open from 8am-6pm seven days a week. It provides a single contact number for those wanting to access any local authority help they may need, including emotional support, in the current crisis.

Somerset County Council’s website https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/ also has useful tips and guidance – as well as further information about how Council services are currently affected.  The page also offers the chance for people to sign up via email to receive a daily update on Somerset’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak – including further emotional health and wellbeing tips.