Last week, the Consumer Products Safety Commission announced the recall of ring slings by Sprout Stuff. This recall follows a March CPSC Safety Warning about sling carriers for babies. Part of that statement reads:
(CPSC) is advising parents and caregivers to be cautious when using infant slings for babies younger than four months of age. In researching incident reports from the past 20 years, CPSC identified and is investigating at least 14 deaths associated with sling-style infant carriers, including three in 2009. Twelve of the deaths involved babies younger than four months of age.
Baby Sling Suffocation Risk
The warning indicates two suffocation risks associated with baby slings. First, the fabric from the sling can block a baby’s nose and mouth. Because babies lack neck control and muscle strength they cannot move to get air. The warning indicates a baby can suffocate as quickly as in a minute or two! The second risk comes from the position a baby assumes in a sling. When in the curled position, with chin to chest, breathing can be restricted and limited.
The CPSC provided the following image about the correct positioning when carrying a baby in a sling.
Additional Safety Recommendations from the Good Housekeeping Institute
The Good Housekeeping Research Institute, Good Housekeeping’s product testing laboratory with a staff of scientists who are dedicated to consumer advocacy, strongly urges consumers to not use baby slings for infants under 4 months. They emphasize it’s important baby has head control before using a sling. Here are some additional safety recommendations from the Good Housekeeping Institute:
- Make sure your child’s face is visible at all times. It shouldn’t be covered by any fabric.
- Be able to see your child’s entire face when he or she is in a sling.
- Make certain your child isn’t hunched over so that his or her chin touches the chest.
- Make sure your child’s face is not pressed tight against you.
- Be vigilant about checking on your child while he or she is in the sling.
I carried my daughter in a sling when she was younger than the now recommended age of 4 months so this warning hits close to home. If you use a sling, please be careful to follow the recommendations and if you know a babywearing mama, make sure she knows the baby sling safety warnings.