The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a safety alert today about the popular infant slings. Over the past 20 years, there have been 14 deaths reported—3 of which were in 2009. While the investigation is ongoing, here are some recommendations:
1. Make sure your baby's face is visible to you and his mouth and nose are not covered in fabric (see the CPSC's graphic illustration above)
2. Babies who are at the greatest risk are those less than 4 months of age, born prematurely, with low birthweight, multiple births (twins, etc), those with respiratory infections, and those with chronic health problems. Talk to your baby's doctor before using a sling.
3. Check your baby frequently while he is in the sling to be sure he is facing up and his chin is not pressed against his chest.
4. If you are uncertain how to safely position your baby in a sling, ask for help! Potential options for Sling 101 training: nurses, lactation consultants, baby specialty store staff, or even your baby's practitioner. While not everyone has experience with sling wearing, one of these folks can probably point you in the right direction!
5. If you are a potential sling buyer, consider purchasing one that is made of breathable fabric. Or, consider other options like the upright infant carriers (Baby Bjorn, etc).