The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recently raised concerns about “bag-style” baby carriers. It is thought that 14 deaths have occurred in the US over the last 20 years, including a number linked to the “bag-style” sling. UK Sling retailers and manufacturers are taking steps to ensure that parents have the information they need to continue to use safe designs of baby carriers and position their babies in the safest way possible.
One design of sling now seems to have potential risks. In “bag-style” slings, the deep pouch where baby sits puts the baby in a potentially suffocating curved position. Excess fabric with an elasticized edge may cover baby’s face and inhibit breathing. The design may cause the baby’s face to turn in toward the carer’s body, potentially smothering the baby. It also obstructs the baby from the parent’s view, due to the high and gathered side panels.
The majority of baby carriers and slings are still safe to use, if they hold baby in proper alignment and fit snugly by design and instruction. These safe designs of sling include shallow pouch-style slings, ring slings, soft carriers and wrap slings.
Advice for Parents
If you carry your baby in a bag-style sling, Rebecca Ward, of the Consortium of UK Sling Manufacturers and Retailers advises you to contact your local babywearing group through Sling Meet, www.slingmeet.co.uk, for advice on alternative slings. She says, “While we are unaware of any fatalities in the UK in these bag style slings at the present time, we would caution against using them in light of the recommendations by the US Safety Commission”. If you have another sort of baby carrier, Rebecca advises, “No safety problems have been brought to our attention with any other baby carriers. Make sure you read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.” When using a baby sling, the advice provided by the Consortium of UK Sling Manufacturers and Retailers is to follow these basic principles:
Keep your baby close and keep your baby safe. When you’re wearing a sling or carrier, don’t forget the T.I.C.K.S.
In view at all times
Close enough to kiss
Keep chin off the chest