Baby sling safety is at the centre of a new instructional film released by the Office of Fair Trading after three deaths in Australia were associated with the popular carriers.
Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said the YouTube film, Carry with care: How to keep your baby safe in a sling, would show parents and caregivers how to position their baby safely in a sling.
“Baby slings are soft fabric carriers that are tied or attached to the wearer’s body, they don’t have a solid back or frame like other types of baby carriers”, Mr Bauer said.
“If used correctly, baby slings are safe and practical tool for parents, but infants can be at risk of suffocation if they are not placed in the correct position in the sling because they are not yet old enough to move out of a dangerous position that can block their airways.
“The two positions that can cause significant danger are when the baby is lying in the sling with a curved back with its chin resting on its chest and when the baby is lying with its face pressed into the wearer’s body or the fabric of the sling.
“Premature, low birth weight babies or babies that are unwell are at greater risk and parents should talk to a doctor before using a sling.
“The good news is that by following the ‘T.I.C.K.S.’ rule, parents can easily remember how to position their baby correctly.”
The T.I.C.K.S. rule for baby sling safety is:
Tight – The sling should be tight, with the baby positioned high and upright with head support. Any loose fabric may cause the baby to slump down, restricting its breathing.
In view at all times – The wearer should always be able to see the baby’s face by simply looking down. Ensure the baby’s face, nose and mouth remain uncovered by the sling and/or the wearer’s body.
Close enough to kiss – The baby should be close enough to the wearer’s chin that by tipping their head forward they can easily kiss the baby on top of its head.
Keep chin off the chest – Ensure the baby’s chin is up and away from its body. The baby should never be curled so that its chin is forced onto its chest as this can restrict breathing. Regularly check the baby. Babies can be in distress without making any noise or movement.
Supported back – The baby’s back should be supported in a natural position with its tummy and chest against the wearer. When bending over, support the baby with one hand behind its back and bend at the knees, not at the waist.
The baby slings safety education campaign is lead by the Office of Fair Trading with support from Kidsafe Queensland and the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland.
The film, along with a flyer and poster, demonstrating the T.I.C.K.S. rule are available at www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au.
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