Baby sling safety
Baby slings can be dangerous for your baby if worn incorrectly or if the wrong type of sling is used. Check out this alert for tips on choosing, wearing and using slings safely.
If a sling is worn incorrectly or it's not the right type of sling for your baby, it can lead to:
- rapid suffocation if your baby's face is pressed against fabric or the wearer's body
- slow suffocation if your baby is lying in a 'c' shape position with chin on chest
What you can do
Choosing a sling:
- ensure any sling you buy comes with detailed instructions for use.
- taking your baby with you when buying a sling to ensure a safe fit
- asking for a demonstration
- never using products that are described as 'womb-like' or a 'cocoon'.
Wear your sling correctly by:
- following instructions for safe use
- having someone assist you the first time
- lying your baby in a flat position with a straight back to ensure the baby's chin does not rest on his or her chest
- ensure the baby’s chin is up and away from their body, as any pressure on the chin can close the airway
- ensuring you can see your baby's face at all times and the face remains uncovered by the sling on your body
- put the baby in a slanted or upright position. This will give the baby a straight, flat back with head support, the chin up and the face clearly visible.
Use your sling safely by:
- holding your baby with at least one arm
- Pay attention to the baby as being unsettled may indicate breathing difficulty, but a baby might have breathing difficulty and make no obvious sound or movement.
- regularly checking your baby for any signs of discomfort
- being alert to your own safety as slings can affect the way you move
- being alert for things that may fall on your baby (e.g. hot drinks)
- be aware your activity may loosen the sling or the baby inside the sling.
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.