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Sling Safety

TICKS Guidelines
T Tight
I In view at all times
C Close enough to kiss
K Keep chin off chest
S Supported back

So how do we make sure our babies are safe in a sling/carrier?

Even with the best and safest carrier you can find, it is important to be aware of safety issues, as it is with any baby and child product. To help you keep your child safe make sure that you follow the following advice:

* Read the manufacturer’s advice carefully and follow it.

* Buy from a reputable seller. There are many counterfeit slings available which will not have been tested or checked.

* Check with your GP and a reputable sling seller/adviser if you or your baby have any health problems or if your baby is premature to check that the carrier you have is suitable and safe.

* Always ensure that you can see your baby’s face clearly to check for signs of discomfort or laboured breathing. Your baby’s face should not be turned in against the fabric or your body, and there should be plenty of airflow around his/her face.

* Ensure that the carrier supports your baby’s back and head fully - it is VERY important that a young baby’s chin does not rest right against his/her chest as this impedes breathing.

* Check that your carrier is tight enough to support your baby. No sling or carrier should ‘swing’ off you - if you can easily push the child in closer to you and have lots of loose fabric, it is too loose.

* Keep your child high up enough so you are able to kiss their head easily. Babies should not be carried low down on your body where you cannot see them.

* Make sure you have the right sized carrier for you - not necessarily the one with the prettiest pattern or the best price. This is particularly true of pouches that MUST be the right size to support the child adequately .

* ALWAYS check your carrier before wearing it to check that there are no faults, tears, loose stitching or faulty buckles. Most carriers will go on for years and years without this happening, but of course nothing can be perfect all the time, so it is worth checking.

* Use common sense. Being hands free does not mean that you can do ANYTHING with your child in a carrier - so any activity that would be unsafe whilst holding your child in your arms will be unsafe with a carrier-e.g. cooking, cycling and other sports, jumping up and down with other children etc. etc. When you do need to bend down whilst wearing a carrier, just place one hand on the baby to ensure that the position remains secure, and bend at the knees to keep your torso as upright as possible.
• Do not fall asleep with your baby in a sling or carrier - you will not be able to monitor their comfort and safety and  will not be aware if you move into a position that is unsafe.

If you are ever in any doubt, please ask for advice from us, or another babywearing consultant or professional. If you are not sure where to find that help, just get in touch and we can point you in the right direction to find someone local to you.

Fake Carriers

If you see a seller on Amazon or E-bay selling carriers that are too good to be true, they probably are. As brands get more respected and popular, they tend to become copied and sold on low cost sites such as these. These carriers use inferior quality fabric, thread and webbing, and have not been tested for safety in strength or dyes. Customers will then find that their guarantee does not stand for anything as they cannot get a replacement or refund when it goes wrong. We get e-mails here frequently from companies claiming to be the brands we already stock, trying to sell us cheap knock offs, so can vouch that these really are very prevalent at the moment. If you ae ever in any doubt about the validity of a carrier, go direct to the brand manufacturer and check with them if the place you have seen them is one of their authorised retailers.

At Slingtastic we get all our slings direct from the manufacturer, or from the authorised UK distributor.

Recalls of Bag Style slings and relevance to you and your carriers

There was some press coverage regarding the safety of slings a few years ago.
This has been really good in highlighting the danger of some unsafe baby slings where there are inherent design flaws that put a young baby at risk. These carriers have been a concern to sling sellers in the UK and internationally for a long time and we are pleased that they have been recalled, although it is very sad that it has taken fatal incidents to achieve this.

The carriers concerned are the ‘bag style’ carriers, specifically by a brand called Infantino. To see the information about the recall and the style of sling for yourself, click here; and to see the industry's response click here.

So what’s the difference between a bag style and a pouch/ring sling?
These bag style carriers are a specific style and are NOT the same as the slings sold by Slingtastic.
A bag style sling hangs low, needs a harness to hold a baby in place and has lots of excess fabric above the baby.
A ring sling fits snugly and supports the baby’s back and head, ensuring that you are able to position the baby so that the chin is not touching his/her chest and that the back is fully supported. The careful fitting means that the baby will not be swinging from you or hanging low on your stomach

If you have been given a pouch or sling and you are not sure if it is safe, do not use it until you have had time to check with a local sling meet, sling library or babywearing consultant.