Can Babies Suffocate in Baby Carriers And How To Prevent It?

Suffocation of a baby in baby carriers is a real danger. In this article we will talk about it and how we can prevent it.

A baby carrier brings mothers and fathers closer to their infants. It also leaves them free to use their hands while the baby is swaddled to their chests or backs.

Like any other parenting gear, there are some dangers associated with baby carriers that many parents might not be aware of.

There have been quite a few incidents in which the babies have suffocated and died within a few moments because of ill-fitting carriers.

In the US alone 159 cases of child suffocation in baby carriers were reported while 17 deaths were reported over a period of 14 years. Suffocation is not the only issue, the baby’s arms, legs, and hips can also develop issues if not properly positioned in slingbacks or front carriers.

As new mothers, you will have the urge to buy a baby carrier but before purchasing one we suggest you read the following information for the safety of your child.  

Suffocation In The Baby Carrier:

One of the biggest dangers that come with baby carriers is the risk of suffocation. If a baby of fewer than 4 months is placed in a carrier, he does not have fully developed neck muscles. So, he will not be able to move his head on his own if his air supply is being cut off. Many accidents have been reported due to which carriers were taken off the markets.

There have been a few incidents where the carrier was too small or big that the baby could not move his head to get air and suffocated to death within a few minutes. Select a carrier that supports the neck.

The face of the infant should not press up against your back or chest. They should be in a position to move their neck up and down.

The arms should be free as well. The hips and knees should be bent so that no pressure is felt in their legs.

They should have the room to lengthen their limbs.

Putting the child in a c-shape within the carrier can also pose risks. This position also restricts his movements and he might not be able to move to get the required air supply for breathing properly.

During the summer months, some incidents have been reported where the babies were sweating and settled in a c-shape even below the parent’s chest.

This resulted in suffocation and excessive sweating of the child. It is also important to see that the sling fabric is not that lose that the baby is displaced in it.

Many companies recalled their baby slings after these incidents were reports and advised parents to not buy their products as they were not safe.   

How To Prevent These Accidents:

If you’re a parent that has decided to buy a baby carrier, it is important to go for the appropriate size so the baby fits easily.

  • Always put the babies in an upright position unless they are nursing. Keeping them in an upright position helps keep their airways open so they can breathe properly.
  • Another important step is to check on the baby after every few minutes to ensure that his chin is not resting on his chest. This also blocks the airways and cuts off their air supply.
  • It is crucial to constantly check on the baby that he is in an upright position or his color is not changing. Observe if the baby is squirming, these are clear signals that something is wrong.
  • The baby’s face should not be pressed to your back or chest either as that is also hazardous.
  • The ideal position of the child within the sling is on your chest close enough that you can kiss him. Any sling that holds the baby below the chest area should not be used.
  • The baby should be put back into an upright position as soon as he finishes being fed.
  • In no circumstances should the baby’s head be covered by the fabric of the sling. The child’s nose and mouth should always be visible when he is in the sling.

Avoid putting the babies in slings for longer periods of time, even though they are in an upright position, as this can cause hip and knee problems in infants.  

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