7 Baby sling safety rules for hazard free babywearing
Warnings about baby sling safety from CPSC have caused a lot of confusion among young parents.
Photo credit: Hugabub-Babywearing
Using a sling has always been promoted as a great way of bonding with your baby.
While it is true that babywearing has many benefits for mother and her growing infant, some types of baby slings and improper wearing of slings have caused death and injuries of several babies.
The last decade a baby sling has become a very popular way of carrying a baby.
Babywearing is not only very fashionable but also allows you to have your hands free to get some work done around the house.
7 Baby sling safety rules
- Because baby slings have been related to suffocation hazards make sure your baby can breathe freely. Baby’s face should not be covered by material of the sling or pressed to close to a parent’s chest. Your angel's face should be visible at all times.
- Needless to say you should not carry your baby in a sling while driving a car. The only safe place for a baby in the car is in a rear facing car seat.
- Check the weight limits of your sling. Incidents have occurred in the past where infants fell out of a sling and suffered skull fractures or contusions.
- Carrying your baby in a sling leaves your hands free for certain houshold jobs but it is not a good idea to carry your child in a sling while you are cooking as there is always the danger of your baby getting burned.
- When you are out and about protect your baby from the sun as you would when you use a baby stroller.
- Some slings allow baby’s legs to hang out. Check if the material is not cutting of the blood flow in baby’s legs.
- Never jog, run or jump with a baby in a sling especially with young baby’s that have no proper neck control.
Serious baby sling safety issues
Baby slings can cause two types of suffocation hazards. First of all the infant’s face can be pressed against a parent’s chest making it impossible for the infant to breath.
Baby’s under 4 months that have not yet proper control over neck and head muscles are not able to turn their face away from this suffocation hazard. Also infants have suffocated because the sling fabric was covering their face obstructing the airflow.
Secondly there are baby sling safety issues when babies are carried in the C-like position where the head is bending forward towards the baby’s chest causing blockage of the airway. This is what we call Positional Asphyxia.
Do not belief your infant will cry or protest while he or she struggles for breath. You may notice quicker or laboured breathing or even some restlessness. But if your baby is asleep, suffocation in a sling can be a silent killer.
Who are more at risk?
Parents with babies who have a low birth weight and babies born prematurely should be extra careful.
Furthermore babies suffering from a cold or with other breathing problems are more at risk.
Benefits of babywearing
Babywearing has been practised for centuries around the world. Woman in many different cultures have found various ways to carry their children.
Apart from bonding with your child babywearing has many benefits. Continue carrying your baby close to you as long as you are aware and respect these serious baby sling safety issues. Other benefits are:
- Babies in slings cry and fuss less. The comforting and familiar sounds of a mother’s breathing and heartbeat have a soothing effect on infants. Baby wearing is also a great way for a father to bond with his child. This way a baby can get used to his voice and facial expressions.
- Babies love motion so walking with your baby in a sling helps them sleep easier and longer. It is believed to promote good digestion and therefore be helpful for babies with colic or reflux.
- Because they are all the time with the parent they participate more in their life and develop earlier socially.
- A mother carrying her baby in a sling is able to react instantly to her child’s need for breastfeeding. A baby sling allows the mother to discreetly nurse her baby in public.
- A sling is more convenient when you are out and about with your baby. It can be quite a struggle to get a pushchair onto a crowded bus or steering through a busy shopping centre.
Baby sling safety tips
Use your common sense and make sure that your baby is positioned correctly. As far as I am concerned the type of sling to avoid is a bag styled sling.
This type of sling has a deep pocket that holds your baby in the Hazardous C-like position. For this reason CPSC recalled the Infantino Slingrider in March 2010.
Some baby slings or carriers provide a DVD with baby sling safety instructions. Take your time to watch and read these instructions on how to properly use your sling.
Check regularly the material of the sling and be aware of broken rings or other hardware failure. Double check knotted carriers they should be tied snugly to avoid slippage.