Baby sling and carrier safety

Many parents use baby slings and carriers to carry their babies. While having your child close to you may be practical, using these products incorrectly can lead to injury or suffocation.

Serious injuries and deaths can occur when:

  • the wearer trips and the baby falls out of the sling or carrier
  • the product malfunctions or its hardware breaks
  • the baby falls over the side of the sling or out through the leg openings
  • the baby is positioned incorrectly, causing suffocation against the product's fabric, the wearer's body, or their own chest

Learn how to correctly use a sling/carrier to help keep your baby safe.

Did you know?

Babies born prematurely or with a medical condition are at higher risk of suffocation. Talk to the baby's doctor before using a sling or carrier.

How to safely position a baby in a sling or carrier

Remember to keep your baby visible and kissable at all times.

  • Keep the baby's face in view.
  • Keep the baby in an upright position.
  • Make sure the baby's face is not pressed into the fabric of the carrier or sling, your body, or clothing.
  • Make sure the baby's chin is not pressed into their chest.
  • Make sure the baby's legs are not bunched up against their stomach, as this can also restrict breathing.
  • Wear the baby snug enough to support their back and hold onto the baby when bending over so they don't fall out of the carrier or sling.
  • Check your baby often.

Using slings and carriers safely

  • Never leave a baby unattended in a carrier or sling.
  • Check your sling or carrier for wear and tear before every use. Look for ripped seams, torn straps, and damaged hardware. If your sling has knots, check that they are tied tightly. If your sling has rings, make sure the fabric can't slip through them.
  • Be very careful putting a baby into--or pulling them out of--a carrier or sling. Ask for help if you need it.
  • When wearing a carrier or sling, do not zip up your coat around the baby because it increases the risk of overheating and suffocation.
  • Be particularly careful when using a sling or carrier with babies under 4 months because their airways are still developing.
  • Do not use a carrier or sling during activities that could lead to injury such as cooking, running, cycling, or drinking hot beverages.

What to consider when buying a sling or carrier

  • Choose a model that has detailed, yet easy-to-understand instructions. Follow directions carefully and keep them for future use.
  • Buy a product that fits your baby well. Make sure the baby's head is above the sling/carrier and that you can see all of their face.
  • Buy a product that fits you (and the other users) well.
  • Check with the retailer or manufacturer to make sure the sling/carrier meets the ASTM F2907 Consumer Safety Specification for Sling Carriers standard.
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