Parents are being urged to be extremely careful when using baby slings and carriers with confronting new data showing they have been responsible for a number of infant deaths in South Australia.
Three babies have died while being carried in baby slings since 2010, with SA Health’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Nicola Spurrier pleading with parents to ensure they know how to use them properly.
“If fitted and used correctly baby slings and carriers are safe, however incorrect use can cause injury or even death,” Dr Spurrier said.
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“Suffocation can occur if a baby’s face becomes covered or if they are incorrectly positioned in a C-shape with their chin on their chest, which can block their airway.
“Tragically, we know of three South Australian infants who have died and we have also seen infants seriously injured as a result of falling out of a sling or carrier, stressing the importance of correct fitting and positioning.”
Kidsafe SA CEO Holly Fitzgerald said there is a misconception that baby slings are safe because they promote close contact, but it is vital that parents know how to use them properly.
“Baby slings and carriers are safe when fitted properly with the infant positioned correctly, but the messages about safe use are conflicting, particularly among the many resources and instructional videos available online,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
“It is particularly important to exercise caution when purchasing a sling or carrier online, as you can’t see the quality and fit of the product for your baby.”