Sling Your Baby Safely

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a press release on safe baby wearing, which we are reprinting below and linking. Please spread the word through friends, blogs, and lists.

Baby wearing is a common, safe practice that supports breastfeeding and attachment.  But as with many everyday practices, misunderstandings can lead to accidents.  Of particular concern are adaptations such as the “bag style” carriers which curl and hide newborns as opposed to the snug tied-fabric styles traditionally worn around the world.

Leaders are not experts in child safety but we want you and your child to be safe!  We will continue to bring government safety warnings to your attention when we recognize issues of special interest to breastfeeding families.  When you purchase a sling from a reputable manufacturer, you will find information inside the package guiding your safe use of the product.  Please guide children, babysitters, and visiting grandmothers who may be unfamiliar with your particular carrier. The illustrations in the CPSC release below may be helpful.  A group of sling makers have jointly released a press release of interest to anyone currently using a sling, or considering a purchase.

Babywearing is comforting and helps keep baby close and in good communication with his nursing mother as well as other caregivers.  If you are using a traditional sling and keeping your baby’s face upright and visible (see illustrations above and below), you are on the right track!  You may have seen a fun video earlier this year in which mamas sling their big babies while dancing in high heels! While we are not necessarily recommending dancing in heels in your new sling, surely if these women can do it in heels, you can stroll over to the park in sensible shoes on a glorious spring day and feel safe wearing your baby in a ring sling.

This week’s Evening Series Meeting (Thursday March 18 at 7 pm, LDS Hospital, 8th Avenue & C Street, enter “Education Door”  & find Amicus Board Room) on left) will touch on babywearing.  Feel free to bring your questions (and your slings!) in for group discussion.

Enjoy your baby!  Stay safe!

—  Susan

Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2010
Release #10-165
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908


Infant Deaths Prompt CPSC Warning About Sling Carriers for Babies

WASHINGTON, D.C.- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is advising parents and caregivers to be cautious when using infant slings for babies younger than four months of age. In researching incident reports from the past 20 years, CPSC identified and is investigating at least 14 deaths associated with sling-style infant carriers, including three in 2009. Twelve of the deaths involved babies younger than four months of age.

Slings can pose two different types of suffocation hazards to babies. In the first few months of life, babies cannot control their heads because of weak neck muscles. The sling’s fabric can press against an infant’s nose and mouth, blocking the baby’s breathing and rapidly suffocating a baby within a minute or two. Additionally, where a sling keeps the infant in a curled position bending the chin toward the chest, the airways can be restricted, limiting the oxygen supply. The baby will not be able to cry for help and can slowly suffocate.

Many of the babies who died in slings were either a low birth weight twin, were born prematurely, or had breathing issues such as a cold. Therefore, CPSC urges parents of preemies, twins, babies in fragile health and those with low weight to use extra care and consult their pediatricians about using slings.

Two months ago, the Commission added slings to the list of durable infant products that require a mandatory standard. Additionally, CPSC staff is actively investigating these products to determine what additional action may be appropriate. Until a mandatory standard is developed, CPSC is working with ASTM International to quickly complete an effective voluntary standard for infant sling carriers.

CPSC recommends that parents and caregivers make sure the infant’s face is not covered and is visible at all times to the sling’s wearer. If nursing the baby in a sling, change the baby’s position after feeding so the baby’s head is facing up and is clear of the sling and the mother’s body. Parents and caregivers should be vigilant about frequently checking their baby in a sling.

CPSC is interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are directly related to infant slings. You can do this by visiting www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx or call CPSC’s Hotline at (800) 638-2772.

movie iconConsumers can also view a Public Service Announcement (transcript) about baby slings. This is in “streaming video” format.

Pictures of right and wrong ways for baby postitions in a sling

.

LLL of SLC sells the Maya Wrap as a fundraiser and we are pleased the company provides a DVD with each purchase to help guide use.  Maya Wraps’ website offers a slideshow of positions for babywearing and you will notice each one shows a baby upright, in view of the wearer, face clear and unencumbered.   If you would like to purchase this type of sling or if you have lost the original instructions from a previous purchase, please contact our Sling Diva, Meghan, at (801) 243.4355 — or drop by this week’s meeting!

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