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Slings and Baby Carriers

  • Mar 17, 2010

On March 12, Consumer Product Safety Commission chairmen Inez Tenenbaum issued a warning about the safety of infant slings and officially advised parents and caregivers to be cautious when using them with babies younger than four months of age.  Fear spread so fast most women wondered if they should throw away their beloved slings all together regardless of the age of their baby, the type of sling etc.  It’s a typical American hysteria, one statement geared to create news, knowing that nothing better than fear and drama generates most clicks to websites and sells papers to the sound track of “Cha Ching!”

It seems that the people who advise us not to co-sleep, not to give birth at home, and to let our babies cry themselves to sleep, are out again to tell us we are not qualified to care for our children and should not babywear. I advise my clients to use their common sense and don’t just panic and throw the baby out with the bath water. Parents who want to bond with their baby and carry baby about in a sling should not be encouraged to toss away ANY sling they have. The slings that were responsible for the recent tragic deaths are not designed well and it is terrible that parents who were trying to do the best for their baby lost a child due to irresponsible baby product design.

In a recent press release the Baby Sling & Carrier Manufacturers Speak Out speak out:

  “… Slings and carriers of concern are popularly categorized under the token term "bag-style" slings. In "bag-style" slings, the deep pouch where baby sits puts the baby in a potentially suffocating curved or "C" like position. Also, excessive fabric with an elasticized edge may cover baby's face inhibiting breathing. Furthermore, the design may cause the baby's face to turn in toward a caregiver's body, potentially smothering the baby.

Because of the popularity and gaining market share of small baby carrier companies, a few years ago the Juvenile Products Manufactures Association (JPMA) was approached by a handful of these companies asking for a standard to be created. These companies were initially alarmed by the creation of some carriers, mostly by home crafters, fashioned from materials unsuitable for baby products. Soon after, M'liss Stelzer, a pediatric nurse, did an oxygenation study discovering a potential link between infant deaths and "bag-style" style slings therefore creating even more need for the standard as well as further study.

Upon this need the ASTM, an internationally recognized creator of standards for consumer products and test procedures, created a subcommittee for Sling Carrier Standards. The ASTM Subcommittee is made up of manufacturers, consumer advocates and  

Shallow pouch-style slings, ring slings, mei tais and wraps hold baby in proper alignment and they fit snugly by design and instruction. They have been engineered, developed and tested by parents, often the manufacturers themselves with their own children. These carriers are often simple and without gimmicks. Dedicated and concerned manufacturers of these types of safe slings and carriers have sponsored this release.

Best slings and SAFE are
Hotslings, Maya Wrap, Moby Wrap, Wrapsody, Gypsymama, Together Be, Kangaroo Korner, Taylormade Slings, Scootababy, Bellala Baby, Catbird Baby, SlingEZee, ZoloWear, HAVA, SlingRings and Sakura Bloom. 



Slings and Baby Carriers

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March 17, 2010
Agreed, some slings are poorly designed and unfortunately those are generally the more affordable ones that many low-income parents will fall for. I say it is best to invest in one solid baby carrier, like the Ergo, and have no regrets! :) I love carrying my baby and she loves it as well! I think parents just need some common sense in general when it comes to baby products.  
More Slings are they good or a haza... reviews
Quick Tip by . July 01, 2010
posted in Joy In Birthing
There will always be someone who doesn't know how to use a sling properly and/or has little common sense, that doesn't mean we should stop babywearing! Everything can be a hazard if you don't use it as intended. We love babywearing! It is so convenient and our daughter has loved it since birth! Sometimes there are no other alternatives, like for hiking trails and other non stroller friendly places. Sometimes I just need both hands. Regardless, manufacturers should have standards.
About the reviewer
Giuditta Tornetta ()
Ranked #149
I am a certified birth and postpartum doula, lactation educator, a certified clinical hypnotherapist, and the author of the best selling book Painless Childbirth: An Empowering Journey Through pregnancy … more
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Ring slings

Father wearing son in a ring sling made out of Guatemalan ikat cotton.

These are baby carriers that use dynamic tension, a length of cloth and metal (such as aluminum) or nylon rings. One end of the cloth is sewn to two rings. The cloth wraps around the wearer's body from shoulder to opposite hip and back up to the shoulder, and the end is threaded through the rings to create a buckle effect. The baby sits or lies in the resulting pocket. Once a sling is threaded, it can be taken off and put back on without rethreading. A threaded sling forms a loop of cloth. The wearer can put one arm and the head through the loop of cloth to put the sling back on.[2]

When the baby is in the carrier, the baby's weight puts tension on the fabric, and the combination of fabric tension, friction of fabric surfaces against each other and the rings combine to "lock" the sling in position. This type of sling can adjust to different wearers' sizes and accommodate different wearing positions easily: the wearer supports the baby's weight with one hand and uses the other hand to pull more fabric through the rings to tighten or loosen the sling.

Ring slings may be padded or unpadded at the shoulder, have padded or unpadded edges or "rails", and the "tail" of the sling may be open or closed. Some "hybrid" ring slings have curved seats sewn into the body, similar to the seam in a pouch. Ring slings are most closely related in use to the Mexican ...

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