Baby Sling Safety

Some of our wonderful Baby Carrier suppliers have recently come out with a press release on the safety of baby carriers, given the current widespread news about Bag Slings and their causing suffocation in babies.

Back when we first started considering stocking baby carriers, Bag Slings were pretty popular online and I even had a supplier send one to me for testing.  When I saw it, i just never thought it would be safe. It was really deep, did not seem like it would be comfortable and I didn’t see how a baby would be anything but lost in all that fabric..

BUT , baby slings are only a small fraction of babywearing tools – most carriers will help you to carry your baby with NO risk of suffocation – just be aware of the basics – baby’s chin should NEVER be pressed against their chest – see this pdf document for full details – this is especially important when your baby is a newborn up to approx 4 months when babies develop good neck / head control.

press release after the jump:

Baby Sling & Carrier Manufacturers Speak Out

On Baby Sling Safety Warning

March 11, 2010

With the publication of an Associated Press article regarding the CPSC government warning on baby slings and the Consumers Union’s concerns about “bag-style” slings, the companies co-sponsoring this release are taking a stand to help educate the public on the differences between safe vs. unsafe baby slings and carriers as detailed below.

The ancient practice of babywearing made its way into western culture in the 1960s and its popularity with American consumers has grown because of its vast benefits. Unfortunately, this has led to the creation of several potentially unsafe baby slings and carriers. Slings and carriers of concern are popularly categorized under the token term “bag-style” slings. In “bag-style” slings, the deep pouch where baby sits puts the baby in a potentially suffocating curved or “C” like position. Also, excessive fabric with an elasticized edge may cover baby’s face inhibiting breathing. Furthermore, the design may cause the baby’s face to turn in toward a caregiver’s body, potentially smothering the baby.

In contrast, shallow pouch-style slings, ring slings, mei tais and wraps hold baby in proper alignment and they fit snugly by design and instruction. They have been engineered, developed and tested by parents, often the manufacturers themselves with their own children. These carriers are often simple and without gimmicks. Dedicated and concerned manufacturers of these types of safe slings and carriers have sponsored this release.

Because of the popularity and gaining market share of small baby carrier companies, a few years ago the Juvenile Products Manufactures Association (JPMA) was approached by a handful of these companies asking for a standard to be created. These companies were initially alarmed by the creation of some carriers, mostly by home crafters, fashioned from materials unsuitable for baby products. Soon after, M’liss Stelzer, a pediatric nurse, did an oxygenation study discovering a potential link between infant deaths and “bag-style” style slings therefore creating even more need for the standard as well as further study.

Upon this need the ASTM, an internationally recognized creator of standards for consumer products and test procedures, created a subcommittee for Sling Carrier Standards. The ASTM Subcommittee is made up of manufacturers, consumer advocates and government officials from the US and Canada including members of the CPSC. The subcommittee started writing the standard two years ago. In this time more deaths have occurred, all linked to the “bag-style” sling being reported by Jennifer Kerr, a writer for the Associated Press in the article referenced in the first line of this release. This has alerted the CPSC to take necessary action and issue this warning.

In well-designed products, babywearing is not only safe, but is actually very beneficial when done properly. 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. For examples of these cases and further reading see “Increased Carrying Reduces Infant Crying: A Randomized Controlled Trial” an article written by Urs A. Hunziker MD and Ronald G. Barr MDCM, FRCP(C), “Saving My Baby” a blog post written on Fierce Mama’s Blog by Sarah Kaganovsky and Dr. Maria Blois’s book Babywearing.

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. (Source La Leche League International)

The vast benefits of babywearing should not be disregarded with the report of incidents from “bag-style” slings. The sponsors of this release make safer baby slings and carriers and have been active in the standard writing process and are dedicated to safety through engineering. “We see this as an opportunity to reach out and educate American consumers. We hope to provide valuable information allowing parents and caregivers to not only make informed buying decisions, but also to increase the awareness of how to properly wear children, especially babies, in baby slings and carriers,” says Kristen DeRocha, ASTM Subcommittee Chair. The Associated Press article regarding the CPSC warning gives proof to the growing popularity of baby slings and carriers and validates the need for education.

Several trusted websites exist to aide in the education of babywearing for caregivers and new parents. To name a few: TheBabywearer.com, the Facebook fan page for Babywearing Safety, Mothering.com and LaLecheLeague.org.

This press release was sponsored by:

Hotslings, Maya Wrap, Moby Wrap, Wrapsody, Gypsymama, Together Be, Kangaroo Korner, Taylormade Slings, Scootababy, Bellala Baby, Catbird Baby, SlingEZee, ZoloWear, HAVA, SlingRings and Sakura Bloom

For comments or questions regarding this release please contact Kacy Jones, Director of Marketing for Hotslings, Inc.

Phone: 214-350-4160×108

Email: kacy@hotslings.com

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7 thoughts on “Baby Sling Safety

  1. Thx for posting this. Got the CPSIA email too.
    I think I should put up an article on the dangers of bag slings as well.
    And do an anatomy comparison, so people do not regard the ring slings, and even the pouch as the same thing.
    Thx!

    • spread the word!

      Actually with any baby carrier, understanding about the positioning is very important, because even in the pouch, ring sling, SSC or wrap, if used incorrectly the airway can be obstructed – only really a huge deal for newborns.

      The point was in the bag sling it is almost impossible to get a good position where the airway is unobstructed.

      And the scary thing is – when we have not enough oxygen, we will fall asleep – so just because the baby sleeps in the bag sling doesn’t mean the baby is breathing properly – it could be because the baby is oxygen deprived!

  2. I used this kind of sling for my dotter when she’s younger..
    I tot she wouldn’t like it however I was very contented as
    she slept most of the time whn I brought her out in this sling….It’s very convenient~

    • hi sarah do you mean the bag sling?! or ring sling?

      The reason this is a big deal is that there have been cases of babies dying in the bag sling.. that’s why CPSIA came up with the banning.

  3. Yeap. You got that right Li.
    Have already addressed that the baby’s chin should never touch baby’s chest, even when you’re using a shallow, non-bag style sling. Perhaps CPSIA should put that in the title, so that the pouch and ring sling is used correctly as well 😀

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