The CPSC has announced its intention of issuing a warning on the dangers of "slings" (does anyone else think they should just issue the warning instead of planning to issue one and letting media outlets make up the warning for themselves?). Anyway, back to the warning... the warning comes in response to several reports of infant deaths in "bag style" slings like the Infantino SlingRider. This carrier is worn like a cross body purse and places the baby at about the parent's waist. The carrier has a deep body which forces baby to be in a chin to chest position. This position should be avoided by infants in all situations because it compromises their airway. Car seats, strollers, bouncy seats, and carriers all have the potential to put babies into this position so parents and caregivers should be vigilant in all circumstances. The main concern with the bag sling is that it is impossible to position the baby in a way that does NOT force baby's chin to her chest. Also because the baby is enveloped in the sling, parents cannot easily see the baby, and because the baby is so far away (near the adult's waist) a parent may not hear baby struggling for breath.
M’Liss Stelzer, a registered nurse and babywearing educator, studied these slings and contacted Infantino about them in 2006. They did not choose to heed the warning, and babies have died.
Important safety tips for ALL carriers:
Baby should NEVER be chin to chest (a tummy to tummy carry makes this easier to accomplish)
If you hear grunting or sighing with each breath, remove baby from the carrier and reposition
You should monitor baby frequently to make sure she has not pressed her face into your clothing or body
For more information and some wonderful illustrations, see this page.
To learn more about proper positioning in carriers, attend a free babywearing meeting with Beltway Babywearers.
Posted by: Ann Marie