The United States government is preparing a safety warning about baby slings after several babies have suffocated while in the carriers.
Baby slings are fabric carriers that allow the baby to “worn” by the mother as she shops, walks or does housework. Parenting experts suggest that “babywearing” facilitates mother-child bonding and even sooths babies with colic.  
These slings are sold everywhere from chain stores like Toys R Us to smaller specialty shops like Kansas City, MO’s BabySoSmart.
Inez Tenenbaum, the head of the Consumer Public Safety Commission (CPSC), announced on Tuesday, March 9 that the commission will be issuing a general warning to the public about sling use. She said that the CPSC has become aware of certain scenarios in which the slings can cause suffocation deaths in infants. Tenenbaum did not specify which slings caused the infant deaths, nor how many deaths have been attributed to the use of infant slings.
In 2008, a Consumer Reports article raised concerns about soft fabric slings – particularly about injuries that occurred when children fell out of them. Another report warned about suffocation hazards and linked the slings to seven infant deaths.
The deaths occurred when the baby was held in a “C-like” position so the baby is curled head to toe. When babies are held in this position, their head can flop forward closing the airway.  
Tiffany Speck, a nurse and the owner of Kansas City’s BabySoSmart warns parents about the “C-like” position. Speck suggests that babies in slings remain in an upright position with their tummies facing the parent. Other experts warn that the tummy-to-tummy position can cause a child to smother in the parents clothing.
If you carry your child in a sling, avoid the “C-like” position; avoid loose, thick clothing; choose a sling without thick padding near the child’s face, and check on your child often.  
At this time, no slings have been named as dangerous or recalled due to a suffocation risk. However, Infantino’s “Sling Rider” was recalled in 2007 because problems with the plastic sliders on the sling’s strap could cause it to loosen and pose a danger to the infant in the sling.

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.