CPSC to issue statement about sling safety

by 2 March 10, 2010

I'm sure that many of you have heard about the CPSC's intention to make a statement about concerns over suffocation deaths in baby slings. I urge you all to read the articles very carefully and do further research to understand the background of these cases. So far media reports have used a very general term--baby slings--but the deaths referred to occurred in one specific style of sling that has a defined flat bottom and vertical sides with elastic gathering in the top rail. Many experts believe this type of design makes it exceedingly difficult to get a small baby properly positioned in such a way as to maintain an unobstructed airway. Please do not infer that this problem is inherent in all types of baby slings or carriers! It is also key to remember that the danger of an obstructed airway is also present in other devices in which babies are carried or held, including infant car seats (recent reports have recommended against leaving infants in them while not riding in a car due to lowered oxygenation), bouncy seats, and swings. Lastly, babywearing truly is a skill that, with just a little bit of practice, can be learned well. Please seek out a babywearing educator at a store or birth center, or find a doula who offers instruction, or a local chapter of Babywearing International (babywearinginternational.org). These are all places where you can definitely find other women who are skilled at using many types of carriers, from ring sling to pouches, from wraps to mei tais and SSCs. They can teach you the skills and underlying knowledge of a baby's natural positional tendencies and how carriers work with these tendencies to safely hold them against your body. If you are someone with great babywearing skills, pass along your knowledge and help other parents experience the joy and freedom that comes with being able to carry your baby close while going about your day!



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