Tote Your Baby in a Sling—Safely
Wearing your baby in a baby sling can
help them stay calm while giving your arms a rest. If not used correctly, however,
babywearing can put your baby at risk for serious injury. It’s very important that
all of the safety materials that come with your baby sling or carrier and become familiar
with the recommendations of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The biggest risk
The biggest risk of using a sling
is suffocation. Babies don’t have enough neck strength to lift their own heads. An
infant’s chin can curl forward and touch the chest. This could cut off oxygen to the
baby. The baby can also press their face against the fabric. This blocks oxygen to
nose and mouth. If this happens, your infant could suffocate to death.
Infants who are premature,
low-birth-weight twins or triplets, or ill are at a greater risk of death with the
of carriers and slings. Parents of preemies, low-birth-weight babies, twins, triplets,
or ill infants should talk with their child’s healthcare provider before using any
Advice for safe carrying
The CPSC has this advice for parents who want to keep their hands free and their babies
Carry your baby so that you
can see their mouth and nose at all times. Make sure that the baby’s chin is not
curled forward into their chest.
Don’t place any blankets or
covers over the baby’s head.
Carry your baby high so that
you can see their face.
Don’t let your baby’s chin
touch their chest.
Make sure the baby’s face is not pressed close against you.
Choose your activities
wisely! Many people like using baby carriers and slings so that they can do other
activities. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do with a baby in your arms. Never do
activities that could put your baby at risk. These include jogging, jumping on a
trampoline, participating in sports, riding a bike, driving, cooking near a hot
surface, or other dangerous activities with your baby in a carrier.
Never wear your baby in a car. Babies should always be in an approved car seat. And
never wear your baby in a boat. Babies should wear the correct personal flotation
Make sure to follow the
guidelines in the sling or carrier packaging. Some carriers are intended for older
children who are able to hold up their heads.
Make it a habit to regularly examine your carrier before putting your baby into it.
Protect your baby from the
environment. Make sure that their legs are covered and warm in cool weather. When
their legs are uncovered, make sure that sunscreen is applied if you will be
As your baby gets older, they
might be interested in items that are close. Be very careful that nothing unsafe
is within reach.
To learn how to use your new carrier or sling, practice with a doll or ask for help.
You can also use a mirror to make sure that your baby appears safe and secure.