Slings are carriers that allow an adult to carry an infant hands-free. Baby slings can be dangerous for your baby if worn incorrectly or if the wrong type of sling is used. A sling that straps around the adult’s neck, allowing the infant to lie in front of the adult, curved in a C-shape position may be dangerous.
If you choose to carry baby in a sling, at all times ensure that:
- baby’s airways are free at all times
- you can see baby’s face
- never using products that are described as ‘womb-like’ or a ‘cocoon’.
- lie your baby in a flat position with a straight back to ensure the baby’s chin does not rest on his or her chest
Babies can suffocate lying with a curved back with the chin resting on the chest or the face pressed against the fabric of the sling or the wearer’s body. At particular risk from these products are babies with a low birth weight, those that were born prematurely, or have breathing issues such as a cold.
Injuries can also occur from the baby falling from the sling when the caregiver trips and falls; the product malfunctions or its hardware breaks; or the baby slips and falls over the side.
Remember and follow the TICKS rules:
T — Tight: Slings should be tight enough to hug your baby close to you.
I — In view at all times: You should always be able to see your baby’s face by simply glancing down.
C — Close enough to kiss: By tipping your head forward you should be able to kiss your baby on the head.
K — Keep chin off the chest: A baby should never be curled so that their chin is forced onto their chest as this can restrict their breathing.
S — Supported back: The baby’s back should be supported in a natural position so their tummy and chest are against you.
For more information, see the Australian Government safety alert Baby slings, which you can access from the Product Safety website at https://www.productsafety.gov.au/news/baby-sling-safety
Last modified: 9/11/16