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Don't trust baby slings, agency says; just use them properly, some parents say

March 12, 2010 |  1:38 pm

Carrier We knew this was coming, and here it is: The official warning from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on the potential perils of baby slings, especially to infants younger than 4 months.

Citing 14 deaths linked to sling-style infant carriers, the agency on Friday explained the potential dangers:

"Slings can pose two different types of suffocation hazards to babies. In the first few months of life, babies cannot control their heads because of weak neck muscles. The sling’s fabric can press against an infant’s nose and mouth, blocking the baby’s breathing and rapidly suffocating a baby within a minute or two. Additionally, where a sling keeps the infant in a curled position bending the chin toward the chest, the airways can be restricted, limiting the oxygen supply. The baby will not be able to cry for help and can slowly suffocate."

Read the full warning, complete with illustrations on how babies should and shouldn't be positioned in the slings.

Parents are not in lockstep behind this warning.

Here's some reaction over at "I definitely feel for the families of the infants who have died. But when a baby tragically dies in a crib, we don't say 'all cribs are dangerous and stop using them.'" Read more.

And here's what the Safety Mom blog has to say: "There are some vocal moms out there who insist it’s important for bonding to keep their baby close and, if the sling is used properly there is no danger. But the reality is – the sling is often not used properly!" Read more.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo: The baby's position inside this contraption is key. Credit: Associated Press