In 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warned parents about using sling-style carriers incorrectly after an investigation revealed 14 infants had died of suffocation in slings over the course of 20 years.
“Parents should pay close attention to infants in slings,” Dr. Ross says. “Fabric should never cover an infant’s face—the nose and mouth should always be clear. It’s also important to carefully position them so the chin does not rest on the chest. This posture may block the airway, especially in young children or those with low birth weight.”
According to Dr. Ross, wearable carriers can still be a good option if used correctly. Choose one recommended for your child’s age group.
Think of the hips
When used inappropriately, slings have also been known to lead to hip dysplasia or dislocation — painful, potentially permanent issues that are avoidable.
“Children’s legs develop best when they are held in a natural frog-like position instead of straight out,” Dr. Ross says. “If a baby is in a sling for an extended period of time, wearing him upright in a sling that extends past the hips and down the upper leg is best. Dangling legs with knees close together can lead to problems.”
See a pediatrician for guidance about infant carriers and proper use. For help finding a pediatrician, call St. Louis Children’s Hospital at 314-454-KIDS (5437) or toll free 800-678-KIDS (5437).
About Kelly Ross, MD
Kelly L. Ross, MD is an assistant professor in the Department of Newborn Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and a pediatric hospitalist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. She also serves as Director of Pediatric Hospitalist Medicine at Missouri Baptist Medical Center.
For over 130 years, Children's Hospital and its Washington University School of Medicine physician partners have remained a resource for pediatric health and wellness for the St. Louis region and beyond.
They provide care in every pediatric specialty — from fetal care through adolescence. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked St. Louis Children's Hospital in all 10 specialties, the only children's hospital in Missouri to earn this distinction. Their Level One Pediatric Trauma Center is nationally verified by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), the highest national recognition possible.
Call 314-454-KIDS (5437) to find a pediatrician or pediatric specialist, or to register for a class or event. Learn more at StLouisChildrens.org, member BJC Healthcare.
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