The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has raised concerns about ‘bag-style’ baby carriers. It is thought that 14 deaths have occurred in the US over the last 20 years, all 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
- Supported back
Issued by Antonia Chitty on behalf of Consortium of UK Sling Manufacturers and Retailers 22/03/2010
Media enquiries to Antonia on 0845 643 1874 or 07900 580668
Rebecca Ward: 0117 9082479 or 07525650429
More information on Baby Sling Safety will be added to www.babyslingsafe.com
To find out more about baby wearing and get advice on safe ways to carry your baby there are several trusted websites to help you:
* Facebook page for Babywearing Safety
Benefits of Baby Wearing
In well-designed products, studies have shown that baby wearing is not only safe, but is actually beneficial. Such studies have shown that quality baby slings and carriers have been shown to save lives, improve health, decrease crying, increase IQ, and facilitate breastfeeding and bonding. [i] Studies have also shown that worn babies are happier and spend more time in the quiet alert phase. In this phase they benefit more than their non-worn peers in language development and knowledge acquisition. Babywearing also helps babies sleep better, and physical needs, including breastfeeding, are met more quickly by a close, responsive parent. Millions of babies over time have been worn to their benefit making baby slings and carriers more of a necessity than the often-publicized fashion accessory. [ii]
Consortium of UK Sling Manufacturers and Retailers Members
Baba-licious, Baby Armadillo, Baby Bean, Babyhut, Big Mama Slings, BORN, Brightsparkslings, Calin Bleu, Close Parent, CN Sales, Daisy Chain Slings, HippyChick, Huggababy, Kari-Me, Lifft Slings, Little Possums, Mama Natura, Napsack, Natural Connection, Naturally Happy Slings, Natural Nursery, Ocah Carriers, SaSaSlings, Sling Jax, Slumber-Roo, Snugbaby, The Carrying Kind, Wilkinet