Warning to parents over suffocation dangers of 'bag style' baby slings
Parents were warned about the safety implications of carrying their babies horizontally in "bag-style" baby slings only a few days ago.
Most baby carriers strap the infant to the adult's body in an upright position with the head fully exposed, but some slings, such as Infantino's SlingRider which was recalled in the UK yesterday, carry the baby curled horizontally against the body.
Young babies who cannot control the movement of their heads can suffocate in two minutes if the fabric of these slings blocks their nose and mouth, the US consumer watchdog has warned.
"The baby will not be able to cry for help and can slowly suffocate," the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said. "Make sure the infant's face is not covered and is visible at all times to the sling's wearer."
When breastfeeding in a sling, mothers have been advised to 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, to avoid the risk of choking.
Parents of low-weight babies, twins and those in fragile health have been told to seek advice from a doctor before using a sling. Children with breathing difficulties such as a cold should not be placed in a "bag style" carrier.
The CPSC is investigating the deaths of three babies thought to have suffocated in the SlingRider last year.
Baby experts and breast-feeding advocates insist that not all slings are dangerous. They say carriers that keep a newborn baby solidly against the mother's body in an upright position are safe.
The Royal College of Midwives advised parents not to keep children in slings for long periods.
Pam Prentice, of the Child Accident Prevention Trust, said: "We are aware that with children who are weak or have a respiratory problem there could be problems. There is an issue for air flow within slings. But we do not want to scare parents who are using them properly."