Guest Blogger: The Importance of Sling Safety

Photography courtesy of Martin Burns via Flickr (CC)

Today, guest blogger Michelle Branco of mom and toddler luxury website doudoubebe.com discusses how to keep your little one safe while in the sling.

Slings and carriers are safe, but they aren’t fool-proof. Like any product, use common sense—take your time getting comfortable and make use of the excellent manufacturer and community resources available. Small babies can have difficulty keeping their airway open in certain positions and newborns, especially preemies, may not be able to signal their distress to you. This can happen in a car seat, stroller or swing too. Keep ABC in mind:

AIRWAY – heavy fabric, padding or a parent’s body can block a baby’s airway or cause them to inhale their own CO2 instead of fresh air.
BACK – a straight spine means a straight airway. This is especially important for newborns and preemies who may have a ‘floppy’ airway prone to being closed.
CHIN – pressing the chin into the chest is particularly dangerous as it’s difficult for a baby to move their heavy head to signal distress or clear their airway.

The cradle carry is particularly tricky to get the ABCs right with newborns. Be sure that the sling is across your body from shoulder to hip; otherwise, the angle is too sharp to get a good position. To make a pouch less shallow and raise baby’s back, try a folded receiving blanket the bottom of the pouch. Or try a tummy-to-tummy carry instead.

Never:

– use bag slings (getting ABC is virtually impossible with their flat-bottom neck-resting design with heavy fabric)
– ignore signs/intuition that your baby is in distress, especially if she is not crying
– ignore your pain: that’s a signal that you’re wearing the sling incorrectly and it won’t get better until you fix it

Always:

– check for ABC
– pay attention to signs of distress (grunting, blueish tinge around mouth)
– make sure that you follow manufacturer directions (most are available online if you lose them or buy second hand)
– use a “spotter” when trying new carriers/positions

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