Reviewed by Renee Alli on August 03, 2014

Sources

Baby Sling Carriers Raise Safety Concerns, Consumer Reports.org. Infant Deaths Prompt CPSC Warning About Sling Carriers for Babies, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

© 2014 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

WebMD Archive

Video Transcript

: (pretty music)

Ellie: Touch is so important to a newborn's development.

Melissa: And to the bonding between parent and child.

Melissa: (pretty music)

Ellie: One way that both mom AND dad can keep baby close throughout the day is in an infant carrier.

Ellie & Melissa: We're Ellie and Melissa, the Baby Planners and we're here to help you sort through the options, step by step.

Ellie: There are two basic kinds of carriers for baby's first year: the traditional front carrier; and the sling. For safety reasons, backpacks shouldn't be used until after one year of age.

Melissa: Traditional front carriers are designed for hands free use. Most models come with back and shoulder support – and are a great choice for a heavy baby or a parent with back issues.

Ellie: Newborns should ride in a seated position facing your chest, with their knees as high as their hips. Be sure the model you buy has a padded headrest to support baby's head and neck. As neck strength improves, baby can face forward to see the world as you walk.

Melissa: Slings are hammock-like pieces of material that allow baby to ride at your waist in a comfortable sleeping position. There are a variety of styles and fabric choices available, adjustable to one size fits all.

Ellie: Because it's so quick and easy to access baby, slings are also a great choice for a nursing mother.

Melissa: But slings do require more awareness because there are no safety straps.

Ellie: And there's another issue. There have been cases of very small babies suffocating in slings.

Melissa: That's why the Consumer Product Safety Commission advises parents to be extremely careful.

Ellie: When using slings with infants younger than four months. And remember always keep baby's face uncovered and in view

Melissa: and check on them often.

Ellie: If you decide a baby carrier is a purchase you need, look for the following features:

Melissa: Size and adjustability: you want to be sure the carrier fits both mom and dad well;

Ellie: machine washable — it's guaranteed to get dirty;

Melissa: back support — test various carriers to see what works for you;

Ellie: price — more expensive models will come with lumbar support and extra padding, so don't automatically choose the least expensive option.

Melissa: And above all, be safe. Follow manufacturer's directions carefully.

Ellie: Remember, carriers should never be used while driving, riding a bike, jogging, using exercise equipment, or while cooking.

Melissa: Never get on a step stool or reach for things in high places while wearing a carrier.

Ellie: When you lean over it's important to bend with your knees or use your hand to hold baby securely in place.

Melissa: And watch baby's temperature —

Ellie: studies have shown that babies can become overheated.

Ellie & Melissa: For WebMD, we're Ellie and Melissa, the Baby Planners.

Subscribe to the Pregnancy & Child Development Newsletter.

Get essential updates about your growing baby and what to expect each week.

Sign Up