FAQ

Question

Are baby slings safe for my baby?

Answer

There have been at least 16 reported deaths across the world over a couple of decades associated with these products, particularly among babies younger than four months. It has been reported that many of the babies who died in slings were a low birth weight twin, were born prematurely or had a cold.

Slings can pose a suffocation hazard in two different ways. A sling’s fabric can press against a baby’s nose and mouth, blocking the baby’s airwave and causing suffocation within a minute or two. The other scenario involves slings where the baby is cradled in a curved or “C-like” position, nestling below the parent’s chest or near their stomach. That curved position can cause a baby who doesn’t have strong neck control to flop its head forward, chin-to-chest, restricting the infant’s ability to breathe. In a scenario like this, babies may not be able to cry for help and could slowly suffocate, according to the US authorities.

But not all slings are dangerous. The safest way to use them is in a carrier that keeps the newborn baby solidly against the parent’s body, in an upright position. Parents should ensure that they keep their baby’s chin off their chest, keeping the airway clear for breathing.

RoSPA is not calling for a ban on these products, nor urging parents not to use them. Instead we are advising parents to be careful with the selection of the type of sling and to be aware that there are risks. RoSPA advocates products that keep baby upright and allow parents to see their baby and to ensure that the face isn't restricted.

For more information on baby slings, visit http://www.rospa.com/homesafety/adviceandinformation/product/baby-slings.aspx.

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