Tag Archives: baby sling

How to Carry a Baby in a Sling

Carrying children in slings creates a better bond between the parent and child, insists supporters of babywearing, but at what cost? A recent article in Australian newspaper The Age draws attention again to the fact that, if a baby is carried incorrectly in a sling, he or she can suffocate to death. The newspaper quotes experts telling parents to be watchful of their babies in slings.

As The Age mentions, not all parents are aware of the safety hazards of baby slings. Still, the Australian Competition and Consumer Committee, which issued the warning about slings, is developing safety standards for these popular baby carriers.

As we discussed before, baby carriers can face forwards and backwards, but how a baby is positioned is crucial. If you own a sling and are uncertain about how to use it, keep in mind the following points, courtesy of New York Times’ Motherload, and watch the video below:

• The baby should be in the same curved position as it is in your arms. The sling should not be loose enough that the baby moves away from the parent.
• The baby’s head should be close enough for the parent to kiss without bending.
• The sling must be tight enough around the parent and baby.
• The baby’s face should always be visible – never covered by fabric.
• When using the sling, parents should not feel back or neck pain. Otherwise, the carrier is being worn incorrectly.

A bond between the parent and child is important but not at the expense of the baby’s safety. Although instructions may not accompany a sling, find out beforehand how to position and carry a baby. If you need visuals for the steps above, watch the following video below for putting on a baby sling and positioning your baby inside:

Right and Wrong Ways to Carry a Baby?

Baby wrap forwardWho knew that the way a child faces you affects their development? According to a recent piece in The Daily Mail, just facing your child forward and away from the mother makes the baby “suffer” and become an anxious adult. The same rule applies to parents using strollers.

According to Professor Catherine Fowler, parents who have a child face forward are “cruel and selfish”:

“Imagine if you were strapped to someone’s chest with your legs and arms flailing, heading with no control into a busy shopping center – it would be terrifying. Outward-facing baby carriers and prams give babies a bombardment of stimulus, creating a very stressful situation. In not considering our baby’s perspective, we are inadvertently quite cruel to children.”

At the same time, others decree that a baby facing its mother too much gets bored and needs to see the world. Seems like whatever a parent does, it’s wrong.

On one extreme is the Swedish woman in Massachusetts who left a baby in a stroller outside of a restaurant for 10 minutes and is currently being investigated. Yet, the woman claims that this practice is common in her home country.

The other is the trend of babywearing. A child, in a sling, is carried close to and facing his mother. According to a piece about babywearing from The Lufkin News, the child bonds better with its mothers and, as a result, cries less and is more restful. The mother, as well, has her hands free and is able to do daily tasks while carrying her child.

No matter if you agree with these experts or think their results are just more for parents to worry about, several options for carrying a child are available. Dada Baby Boutique, for instance, offers baby carriers that range from slings to wraps, and products allow a parent to face a child backwards or forward.

One Million Baby Slings Recalled

As you’ve heard in the news recently, one million baby slings by manufacturer Infantino were recalled due to three deaths. Although the linked article doesn’t mention the causes of death in any cases, one caution when using a baby sling is the susceptibility a child has to suffocation. The two products recalled were SlingRider and Wendy Bellissimo, all sold between 2003 and the present, and Infantino plants to replace them at a later date. For parents or caretakers using these, use of the slings should stop immediately.

Babies, particularly those under four months of age, are easily susceptible to suffocation. In fact, a baby can suffocate in one to two minutes if fabric blocks his or her nose or mouth or if the baby is in a curled position with the chin against the check. While slings are recommended to help parents bond with their new child, as well as to breastfeed or to help fussy babies, they’re beneficial when a child is positioned upright, as indicated in the diagram with the article. Baby slings, however, aren’t regulated by federal safety rules and parents using them need to be attentive to their child’s position while using the sling.

Although the Infantino slings are being recalled at the moment, all parents who prefer to use them should be attentive to their child’s position. As indicated by the diagram accompanying the article, a child should have a flat back while in the sling – not a curved one. As the chin positioned against the child’s chest may block airways and result in suffocation, a parent should watch their child when carried in a sling. Additionally, a baby with his or her face against the parent’s chest also risks suffocation. As slings have their benefits in bonding between the parent and child and in breastfeeding, a parent should be watchful when using one.