Slingbabies - New Zealand's own baby sling website - non-profit, educational, to promote and support babywearing.

Bag Slings are DANGEROUS!

What makes a BAG sling different?

In a bag sling, there is NO safe way to position baby.  They have to lie lengthways in the sling. This curves them up into a C shape, ramming their chin onto their chest, which forces back their floating jaw. This in turn pushed baby's tongue to the back of their throat and shuts off their airway.  It has either a thick elastic edge, or you are instructed to cinch in the drawstring (in a Premaxx and Baby First bag sling) Any air they *do* manage to get, is re-breathed stale air.  Plus, it is extremely uncomfortable for the wearer.

Babies are dying in this type of sling!

'Bag Sling' brands in NZ include Baby FirstPremaxx and Infantino Slingrider, and the cheap 'n nasty blue/black elasticated slings with internal harnesses on TradeMe.

There are a few generic, no-name bag slings out there,so check the bottom of this page for more examples of bag slings and see if yours matches.

Other baby slings are still safe and beneficial to use. 
Slings like Nature's Sway, Baba Sling, and Mini Monkey are intended to position baby DIAGONALLY which is the big difference between these and real bag slings.

Like anything, baby carriers require some practice to wear,  and positioning is especially important for newborns. 
Make sure baby's neck is straight, you can get your finger easily under their chin, and their face is clear. If they are curled up or snuffling, adjust them.
If you are unsure, please come to a meeting, post a question on the forum or contact Jessica via the Contact Us page.    
 
The NZ Ministry of Consumer Affairs is well aware of the dangers of this sling and has most definitely said NOT to ever use a bag sling, in their newly released Baby Sling Safety page.  Slingbabies helped write this, and we are so excited to have this world-leading information to back us up.  See the document here on their website

MEDIA articles/information:

>>>>>There have been many babies who have asphixiated in the Infantino Slingrider.  Read the article here (beware, baby death mentioned)

  • Former Registered Nurse and Babywearing Instructor M'liss Stelzer
    has kindly given permission for this article to be reproduced on Slingbabies.
 
'Potential Dangers of Bag Slings'

With the majority of fabric carriers it takes only a few minor adjustments to get baby safely and comfortably positioned however, it appears that ‘bag slings' (like the Infantino SlingRider, Lamaze Close Comfort, etc.) have several significant design flaws that could place an infant at risk of respiratory distress or oxygen deprivation.

First, the design of these bag slings causes baby to curl chin to chest, larger babies more so because their heads are positioned further up in the carrier. This position kinks baby's airway causing the baby to work harder to breathe.

For more information on the importance of maintaining an infant's head and neck in an aligned position see the articles:

"Baby car seat ‘cot death' concerns"

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/health/6216892.stm

"Simple Car Seat Insert to Prevent Upper Airway Narrowing

PEDIATRICS Vol. 112 No. 4 October 2003, pp. 907-913

Second, bag slings are roughly triangle shaped; flat bottom and two sides that slant upwards toward the elastic top. This "triangle" means that the pouch fabric is always angled very close to the sides of baby's face. If baby rotates even slightly he ends up with his nose within a ¼" of the side, or even pressed against the side of the pouch. Once baby has his head pressed against the side of the carrier and/or against the parent's body there is a risk of him becoming oxygen deprived or even suffocating.

Third, it is difficult for the parent to closely monitor their infant unless he/she pulls open the top of the sling.  Bag slings are generally deep, plus they sag when baby is placed in it, further increasing the depth of the carrier. The gathered top, and the fact that the sling hangs so low, obstructs the parent's view of baby. If a newborn were to have difficulty breathing, and/or rotate until his nose and mouth was pressed against the side of the carrier, the parent may not be aware of the baby's respiratory distress for some time. Compounding this problem is the difficulty of feeling the baby's distress through the thick fabric of the sling.

Fourth, although there are bag slings designed with large mesh panels placed near the infant's head, others are not.  There is a possibility that, with only a very small opening at the top of a non-mesh sling, an infant may not receive adequate amounts of fresh air.  There is also the concern that carbon dioxide levels could rise the longer the infant remains in the sling.

For more information on the dangers of re-breathing see this article:
“About Carbon Dioxide Poisoning and SIDS”
www.sidsprevention.com/co2andsids.html

 

Compare bag slings with a shallow fabric pouch or adjustable open-tailed sling (or mei tai or wrap). In these types of carriers an infant is easily monitored. Also, a newborn's head is effectively sandwiched between the sides of these carriers, preventing the infant from easily rotating his/her head into the sides of the carrier.

 

M'liss Stelzer
Former Registered Nurse
Now Babywearing Educator and Mother of two. 

 
 
 
 
 
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