[notice]UPDATE: June 14, 2013 – There continue to be a number of child deaths each year associated with baby slings. They are sufficient in number that I want to remind you, if you use one, to frequently check on your little one. Ensure her head has not fallen forward on her chest constricting her airways. This is especially a problem with newborns. Thanks.[/notice]
I posted a blog last week about product recalls, and here’s a new warning worth mentioning to my fellow parents of small infants. The government warned Friday that those chic baby slings that hip moms and dads are sporting these days can be dangerous, even deadly for their little ones. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said it has investigated at least 13 deaths associated with sling-style infant carriers over the last 20 years, including three deaths last year. One other case involving a fatality is still being investigated.
Twelve of the deaths involved babies younger than four months of age, the agency said. While relatively speaking 13 deaths in 20 years is not a huge number of deaths, and cannot conclusively be tied to the use of a sling, it does seem to at least merit extra caution should you choose to use one. The commission is advising parents and caregivers to be cautious when using infant slings for babies younger than four months. It said that many of the babies who died in slings were a low birth weight twin, were born prematurely, or had a cold.
In its warning, CPSC said that slings can pose a suffocation hazard in two different ways.
- A sling’s fabric can press against a baby’s nose and mouth, blocking the baby’s breathing and suffocating a baby within a minute or two, the agency said.
- The other scenario involves slings where the baby is cradled in a curved or “C-like” position, nestling the baby below mom’s chest or near her belly. That curved position can cause a baby who doesn’t have strong neck control to flop its head forward, chin-to-chest, restricting the infant’s ability to breathe. “The baby will not be able to cry for help and can slowly suffocate,” warned the commission.
In our case we used both a sling and a BabyBjörn® style carrier. I was never very adept at getting our baby girl situated in the sling, though it seemed like it would be comforting for the baby all cozied up to your body… assuming your baby was old and large enough, ensured its head was free and neck straight. My preference (next to just holding her in my arms) was the BabyBjörn in which the baby rides on your chest with its head free. When our baby was young she could ride facing my chest (with adjustable neck support), and when older she could face outward exploring her world.
Did you use some sort of carrier? Which if any do you recommend?
(I should note that my endorsement of BabyBjörn is sadly in no way compensated.)