The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning regarding the risks of baby slings.
Dr. Nina Shapiro: Those soft, cozy, cuddly slings can lead to suffocation and death, which apparently has occurred on multiple occasions.
There are several reasons why a young infant's airway is at risk:
1. Infants, especially those under 3 months old, have little or no control of their neck muscles. If they are compressed in a "chin-down" position, they will not be able to reposition themselves to breathe. If their faces are up against the material of the sling -- or your body -- they may not be able to breathe.
2. An infant's airway is very close to the back of the tongue. If they are positioned in a compressed way, their airway (voice box and windpipe) may be blocked by their tongue.
3. Infants have immature reflexes to sense that they are having a breathing problem. Their reactions are not as brisk as those of older infants (those over 6 months old).
Don't get me wrong; I think these slings are great. My kids were slinged, Bjorned and pouched for the longest time. If slings are used correctly, they are wonderful for so many reasons. Just be mindful of your baby's position in that toasty sac. Make sure that at least their nose (babies breathe primarily through their nose, not their mouth) is exposed to some good clean air, even if you're in smoggy Los Angeles.
|Dr. Nina Shapiro is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, and she completed her residency in ear, nose and throat surgery at Harvard. She is an Associate Professor and Director of Pediatric Ear, Nose and Throat at the Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA. She has treated tens of thousands of children with ear problems, sleep problems and breathing problems. She lives with her husband and two young children in Los Angeles.|