Safety tips for baby slings
US agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commission(CPSC) has issued a suffocation warning about sling carriers for babies.
The key concerns are:
- Babies under two months have weak neck muscles making it difficult to control their heads. This can result in the sling fabric pressing against a baby’s nose and mouth, blocking the baby’s breathing and rapidly suffocating a baby within a minute or two.
- Slings where baby is in a curled position bending the chin toward the chest can result in restricting baby’s airways and limiting the oxygen supply. The baby will not be able to cry for help and can slowly suffocate.
Top tips on sling carrying safety;
- Check baby can breathe when you place him in the carrier and be active in checking that baby’s airway is open when you are carrying him
- Do not allow baby’s chin to be curled against her chest as it restricts her ability to breathe.
- Make sure you can see your baby’s head and face. Do not allow the the head and face to be covered with fabric, as it can cause him to breathe the same air.
- Check on your baby frequently when carrying him and make sure he has plenty of airflow.
- Do not run, jump, jog or do any activity that will make your baby shake as this could damage the neck, spine or brain.
- Never use a baby carrier when riding in a car. Soft baby carriers provide none of the protection that car seats provide.
- Use only carriers that are appropriate for your baby’s age and weight. Front packs usually have a weight range of 8 to 20 pounds.
- Inspect your carrier regularly to ensure it is in good working order. Check the fabric, seams, and any buckles or other fasteners. Do this every time you use it to avoid complacency. Don’t use a carrier unless it is structurally sound.
- When using carriers out and about, check that your baby is secure by using reflective surfaces – such as car or store windows – as mirrors, by double checking the baby’s position with your hands, or by enlisting the help of another set of eyes.
- Practice wearing a new sling with a doll and test with baby when you are both well rested. Ask someone to watch as you put baby in, so they can catch baby should they fall. Use a mirror to check baby is safe and any reflective surface (shop window) when out and about with baby.
For more information and guidelines on baby slings and baby wearing see Babywearing Safety: Are Baby Slings Safe.
Photograph: Flickr @ Ben Cumming