- your baby is worn upright, facing in with their chest against your chest.
- their face is visible and close enough to kiss.
- their airway is clear and their chin is NOT touching their chest.
- the carrier you are using supports their natural stage of development.
- you check your baby frequently!
If you follow these recommendations, wearing your baby and being in harmony with them and their needs will be as natural as smiling at them.
I'd like to comment a bit on the media reaction and subsequent reactions of the public.
I want to point out that the sling was not ruled the cause of death. The cause was actually listed as undetermined and the sling (not mentioning brand, style or improper use) had to be considered a possible factor as that was where the death occurred. Some media articles have been much less balanced than the one I linked and are doing some fear mongering over slings in general which is not warranted. I was glad to read the clarity of the KidSafe SA comments regarding there being risks *if misused* however I was not so happy to see the bold headings state "Warning on baby slings after newborn dies" and subheadings read "Baby dies while carried in sling...Experts believe sling was a risk factor...Parents warned to monitor babies".
Yes, the baby died while in a sling. Yes, the medical examiners listed the sling as a possible factor. Yes, parents should always monitor thier babies.
No, this does not appear to be a repeat of last year's Infantino recall of a product with deadly design flaws. No, all slings are NOT dangerous.
The report of the actual incident took up no more than a few lines as very little information is actually provided but the bulk of the article is filled with flashbacks to the Infantino recalls and references to U.S. sling deaths. There is no balance with comparison to statistics (many times greater than for slings) of infant deaths in car seats, cribs or any other location they may be in when tragedy strikes. Comments from readers support a lack of accurate information on the history or safe use of slings and the willingness to be "educated" by media scare tactics as people state repeatedly how 'unsafe' or 'scary' or 'dangerous' slings look to them and how much safer babies would be in strollers or other devices detached from their mother's body (the opposite of what studies have shown).
What little detail of the actual incident was provided would indicate that this tragedy, if not caused by an undetermined medical issue with the newborn, would likely have been preventable with proper babywearing education. I do not want to point fingers at this poor mama who has suffered an unimaginable loss but whatever carrier she was using was clearly not used in a safe manner recommended by any certified babywearing educator. She wore him under multiple layers of her own clothing making it impossible to check on him easily, restricting his access to fresh air, covering his face and he was in that position, unchecked, long enough to not only pass away (which can happen VERY quickly) but also to be cold to the touch.
I'm sure that his mama wanted the very best for him. I'm sure she wanted to keep him close and secure. I'm sure if she had known better she would have done better.
As always, education is the key.
Please make sure you are familiar with all aspects of babywearing safety before purchasing or using a sling or carrier for your baby. A certified babywearing educator is trained to help you with all aspects of babywearing and any questions or concerns you have. Please find an instructor in your area or contact me if you'd like help. The Babywearing Institute also has an open forum where you can talk with certified educators if you cannot meet with one in person. We are very happy to help you keep your baby close and keep your baby as safe as humanly possible.