Have you heard the news today? Have you heard the real story about baby sling safety?
Several mainstream news stories today have said baby slings are bad—all baby slings. That is just irresponsible reporting that ignores real problems with specific baby carriers.
The real story is that bag slings—slings that carry the baby low and curled up—can constrict a baby’s airway. The U.S. CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) is preparing to issue a warning about baby slings. A bag sling is one particular type of sling that is not modeled on the traditional baby carriers worn around the world as long as mothers have had to carry their babies and keep working. The question is: will the warning be specific about bag slings or will the warning warn parents about all baby slings or even all baby carriers? I hope that when the warning is issued it addresses the real problems that experienced babywearing experts and teachers have continually warned about. Otherwise, that would be irresponsible regulation.
This issue is terribly important. Babies and parents benefit from the closeness of babywearing, and no responsible babywearing advocate would every recommend the positions and baby carriers that keep a baby from breathing freely.
Babywearing experts have called attention to design flaws in bag slings. Read this thorough article from May 2008 on bag slings. This article includes many photos, including photos that show the difference in safe positioning with pouch and ring slings.
The problem with today’s news stories: the average journalist does not know enough to tell one type of baby sling from another, and they rushed their stories too quickly to verify information with experts. I hope to hear follow-up retractions tomorrow from many major news outlets.
Quick Tips on Babywearing Safety:
- Make sure Baby can breathe
- Keep Baby upright
- Don’t let Baby’s chin rest on their chest
- Don’t cover Baby’s face with fabric
- Don’t curl Baby up in a “C” position
See Babywearing International for more extensive babywearing safety guidelines.