baby in a sling, baby slings under fire for deadly risksIf you carry your baby in a sling, you might want to stop -- or at least read this and then make sure you're doing it right.

The carriers so many parents use to cart around their newborns and infants are being pegged as potentially dangerous after the suffocation death last year of a 3-week-old girl in Australia.

One in 20 babies carried in a sling has gotten hurt or has come close to being injured because parents don't always know how to safely position them.

And a number of babies in slings in both the United States and Australia have died by suffocation, which experts say is the biggest risk.

An Australian coroner issued a report finding that the sling contributed to "Baby T's" death in March 2013. The 3-week-old was being carried in a sling by her mom in a shopping mall when her dad noticed that one of her arms looked pale. They then realized the baby wasn't moving and was bloody and frothing around her nose and mouth.

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Paramedics did CPR on the infant, but she later died at the hospital. The baby had a minor cold, which contributed to her death, but the sling and the way she was lying against her mother inside it were major factors in her suffocation, according to the report.

That case and others have inspired authorities to launch a safety awareness campaign in Australia for parents about the risks and dangers of carrying babies in slings and how to properly place children in them so they won't suffocate.

This is beyond heartbreaking. So many of us think nothing of putting our babies in slings to go out just like these parents did. Let's hope a similar safety initiative is started here in the U.S. so that more babies don't die this way.

Have you carried a baby in a sling? Did you know about the dangers?

 

Image via Allie/Flickr