Infant sling carriers are popular among new parents as part of the "babywearing" movement, and as a convenient, hands-free way of carrying a baby, but they can pose a suffocation hazard to babies in their first few months of life. The fabric from the sling can press against a baby's mouth and nose and block the air passage, making the baby unable to breathe. In some instances, suffocation has occurred in less than one minute, according to the CPSC.
In addition, if the baby is in a curled position, with his chin tucked toward his chest, his oxygen supply can be constricted, potentially causing suffocation.
The CPSC has reported that most babies who have died in a sling had a low birth weight, were born prematurely, or had a health issue affecting their breathing, such as a cold. Therefore, parents of preemies, babies of low birth weight, or babies in fragile health should exercise extra care when using an infant sling.
The CPSC also recommends the following steps when using an infant sling:
For more information on infant carrier slings, visit the CPSC's website.