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Could Your Baby Sling Kill?

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning regarding the risks of baby slings.

woman with baby sling

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.

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8 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous March 12, 2010, 6:24 PM

That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard

Jesseca March 12, 2010, 11:07 PM

I don’t think this is new information nor is it the dumbest… it’s a great warning for first time parents to be aware of the baby’s positioning, but it also applies in other situations such as co-sleeping, breastfeeding, riding in the car seat, etc… and this article should reflect that as well as including the baby sling information.

Uly March 14, 2010, 2:31 PM

The warning is not about most slings. It is specifically about *bag slings*, which are so badly designed that it is virtually impossible to position your child safely in them.

Kyle K March 14, 2010, 5:15 PM

The CPSC issued a warning, and it was in reference to a few tragic accidents that occured over the past two decades. Those slings were quickly recalled and taken off the market.

As a retailer of baby carriers, slings and wraps, and a father who uses many different types at home, I know first hand how important the safety of these products is. I also know it is a top priority of all the manufactures in the industry, and an enormous amount of time is spent ensuring it stays that way.

Most baby carrier products come with precise instructions, as well as an 800 support number if mothers/fathers have any questions. If worn correctly, 99% of the baby carriers, slings and wraps on the market are completely safe to use.

We welcome future regulation of the industry to ensure the slings, carriers and wraps being produced are safe for our family, friends, clients and the public to use.

Kyle K
Founder of

Marissa L. March 24, 2010, 9:35 AM

First you generalize slings even though the issue is with a specific type (bag sling) that is deeply flawed and impossible to use safely. But then you picture a wrap being used in a totally safe position! Come on! That is like having deaths linked to a particular brand of stroller and calling out all strollers and then showing a picture of a crib.

Rose anne Debacke January 28, 2011, 11:18 PM

I respectfully agree with this article, nothing will happen to your child if you correctly choose the best carrier. Like me i have tried using Bjorn, Ergo and Maclaren all are featured at an article i read at and i guess I’m right in choosing them. Proper care is a bit vital thus so with proper choosing of carriers.

inner ear hearing loss February 27, 2011, 2:18 AM

Hello.This post was really remarkable, particularly since I was looking for thoughts on this issue last Saturday.

Jenny March 18, 2011, 10:54 PM

Those slings are bad idea
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