Must-Know Safety Guidelines for Sling-Wearing Moms

Amy Keyishian

Sling Safe
She's got it right. Do you know why?
Slings! Can’t live without ‘em but keep hearing terrifying stories about ‘em! What’s a careful mommy to do?

You probably know tons of moms who swear by their slings, especially in those hazy first few weeks when the newborn can’t be put down, but the toddler is a ball of energy. Heck, you might be one of those moms. I know I would be, if Abby would have anything to do with a sling.

But as we’ve reported before, 20 babies have died of asphyxiation in the last 10 years due to improper sling use. Awful!

But thanks to a new set of safety guidelines (and helpful photos) from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, we don’t have to give up our slings! Their tips can help you be careful and smart about baby-wearing.

True story: When I was told I could soon take home my low-birthweight preemie, I was warned not to put her in a sling because teeny babies are more likely to be smushed into a hard-to-breathe position. They recommended a Moby, because I could arrange it in many ways. But when I went to the neighborhood natural-baby-stuff emporium, I got the hard-sell on a sling “because it holds the baby in the fetal position, like she was in the womb.”

“Yeah, but in the womb, she didn’t have to breathe,” I responded. The saleswoman gave me a blank stare: this literally had not occurred to her.

In other words, don’t buy any salesperson’s line. Be your own advocate, know your sling, and manage the risks so you can keep your babe safe and close.

The new guidelines say you should always:

  • Keep your baby’s face above the rim of your sling, so their face is visible to you at all times.
  • Make sure his chin isn’t touching his chest in a folded-up position.
  • Make sure he’s not squished against your body.

If your baby is under 4 months old, is low birth-weight, was born prematurely, or has a cold or respiratory problems, choose a baby carrier like a Moby that allows him to be held upright rather than cradled.

It seems obvious, but I’d rather over-explain than risk any more lost babies. I prefer this UK poster with the T.I.C.K.S Rule for Safe Babywearing: Tight, In view at all times, Close enough to kiss (my favorite!), Keep chin off chest, Supported back. Gotta love the Brits.
Do you wear a sling? Did you know these guidelines? Have you ever stopped someone to adjust her sling? Tell us in the comments!

Images from and Baby Sling Safety

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