Baby sling carriers have become popular (again) in the last 20 years, but have caused the death of at least 14 children in the same period. Baby slings can be dangerous to infants or babies in two ways:
- the sling fabric can smother them by pressing against their nose and mouth
- the pressure of the carrying strap against their spine, when they are in a curled position with their chin against their chest, can slowly suffocate them by restricting their airway.
Should you use baby slings? The debate in ongoing between those consumer advocates (including Consumer Reports) who are concerned about the dangers of the practice, and its defenders, who point out documented benefits of remaining in physical touch with infants. If you do, follow the recommendations of the CPSC:
- Place the child with the face uncovered and visible at all times to the wearer
- If nursing a child in a sling, change the baby's position after feeding so the baby's head is facing up and clear of both the sling and the mother's body.
- Be vigilant about frequently checking the baby in the sling
image by CPSC