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Official Warning

March 13, 2010

The news came officially from the CPSC:  “Warning About Sling Carriers For Babies”

Is your baby carrier a risky one?  Any carrier can be risky if it is not used properly. My advice is for you to consider purchasing your carrier from a reputable, trained baby wearing store.  If there are none close to you, type in “baby wearing” and your state to see if there are any groups meeting in your area.  Another option is to phone your local La Leche Legue group and ask if any of their mothers practice baby wearing.  Moms are an excellent source of information.  Finally, read the directions that come with your carrier.  Refer to them often in the beginning.  Go online and look at videos where moms and manufacturers demonstrate how to use their carrier.  Then, look in the mirror to be sure you’re using it correctly.

Here are the pictures from the CPSC’s site:

Baby wearing 101

The main things to remember when wearing your baby are:

  • Your baby should “ride high” in the carrier. You should be able to easily bend your head down to give his head a sweet kiss.

  • You should always be able to get two fingers between your baby’s chin and his chest. Bow your head right now – chin to chest – and notice how much more difficult it is to breath.  It’s hard for babies, too, but they have the head control or neck strength to do anything about it.

  • Your baby should always ride with his head vertically above the rest of his body. You never want his feet sticking up and his head down low.

  • Your baby’s knees should be at least even (vertically) with his bottom. Think of when you sit in a chair, your knees are at the same level as your bottom.  Your baby’s hips are fragile – handle them with care.  Remember, newborns are accustomed to tight spaces (mother’s womb).  They often prefer to be all balled up – legs and all!

  • Never allow your baby’s face to be covered by fabric. It’s fine to cover the back of his head, but be sure that neither the carrier nor your clothing obstruct his airway.

  • Always support your baby’s head. If the carrier you have does not allow for this – get a different carrier.

  • Your baby should always be higher than your belly button. This allows for superior visibility of your child’s mouth and nose and provides a snug, safe ride for your baby.

Especially concerning are the SlingRider bag-style infant carriers by Infantino.  SlingriderYou can see in the picture to the right, compliments of infantino.com, there is a harness in this bag-style sling.  If you are wearing your baby properly, you should have no need for a seat belt to keep him in the carrier.  And what happens if the parent bends over while wearing their little one is in this style carrier?  The baby can easily fall out of the carrier as there is nothing supporting his upper body.

Wearing Baby Too Low On the left is another photo, again, thank you infantino.com, showing a loving couple enjoying precious time with their baby.  Do you see what is wrong with the way the mama is wearing the child?  She can’t kiss his head because the baby is riding below her belly button.  If the baby spits up and aspirates, mom may not know he is struggling until it’s too late.  Additionally, this “C” shape – or crescent – that the baby is in can be conducive to airway constriction via chin to chest positioning.

Slings are wonderful parenting tools when used properly and safely.” said Dr. Lois Balster, a pediatrician and a member of BWI’s [Baby Wearing International‘s] board of directors. “Using a sling incorrectly is not unlike using an infant car seat without proper installation, infant positioning, and restraints. It is always important to position your baby safely in any carrier or infant-carrying device.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Erin permalink
    November 20, 2010 10:48 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I actually just bought a sling ezee for my 4-week-old. I’m hoping it will help me be hands-free since I’m also chasing around a 2 1/2-year-old, but I have been worried about possible dangers as well. Thanks so much!

    • givingglory permalink*
      November 21, 2010 1:17 am

      Best wishes since the arrival of your new baby. If you don’t care for the Sling Ezee, be sure to check out Moby Wraps – I highly, highly recommend them for newborns especially! They worked wonders for being hands free. I remember seeing a Twitter post one time that said, “Tonight’s dinner brought to you by….Moby Wrap!” This new mama had found new freedom (including fixing her family’s dinner) by using this wonderful wrap! 🙂

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