Parents reminded to use baby slings correctly

Published: 
26 Sep 2011

Parents and caregivers in Queensland are reminded to use baby slings in accordance with the product’s instructions following the heartbreaking death of a newborn in South Australia recently.

The two-day-old boy was reportedly in a sling under his mother’s clothing when he stopped breathing and subsequently died.

The Qld Office of Fair Trading, Product Safety Manager, David Strachan said this tragedy highlights the need for parents to exercise caution when using baby slings and ensure the manufacturer’s instructions are closely followed.

“With parents often having to juggle everyday tasks while caring for infants, baby slings have become a popular option instead of a pram or stroller,” Mr Strachan said.

“However it is vital that parents and other caregivers such as grandparents, teenage or adult siblings, babysitters or nannies, are well versed in the correct use of the slings given the baby’s age and weight.

“If a baby sling is used incorrectly or the wrong type is used for the baby, the infant could suffocate or fall from the sling.”

Mr Strachan said suffocation in slings can happen in one of two ways.

“A baby’s airway can be affected if they are pressed against a person’s chest or clothing when in a sling,” he said.

“Also if the baby’s body is placed in a ‘c’ position within the sling their neck can be pressed against their own chest and they can stop breathing.

“Therefore parents and caregivers must be vigilant in ensuring that their baby has a clear airway when placed in a sling, is secured and is not in any discomfort such as from overheating.

“You should always be able to see the baby’s face.”

The Qld Office of Fair Trading offers the following consumer advice when purchasing and using baby slings:

  • Choose the correct sling for your baby by taking them with you when buying a sling and always ask for a demonstration on how to use it properly.
  • Do not buy products that are described as “womb-like” or a “cocoon”.
  • Follow instructions carefully and have a person assist you the first time you use it.
  • Ensure you baby’s chin is not resting on his or her chest. Ensure they are in a flat position with a straight back. 
  • Make sure you can see your baby’s face at all times and that it is not covered by the sling, clothing or blankets.
  • Use your sling safely by holding your baby with at least one arm.
  • Regularly check your baby for any signs of discomfort especially overheating.
  • Be aware of your own safety as slings can affect your own balance and spatial awareness.
  • Be alert for things that may fall on your baby such as hot drinks.

Contact details

Media contact:  (07) 3247 5968

For more information on product safety in Qld visit www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au or call 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

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