Safe use of baby slings and baby carriers

If we were to look at parenting in cultures around the world, we would encounter many mothers who wear their infants snugly attached to their bodies through the use of slings and baby carriers.

Baby-wearing has many advocates who praise the benefits of so-called "attachment parenting." Some proponents claim that "sling babies" tend to be less fussy and are more able to bond with their baby-wearing parents. Breast-feeding is said to be more convenient and natural when the baby spends time so near the breast.

But baby-wearing has its risks, too. Slings with rings or knots can easily become loose. When this happens, the fabric of the sling can slip and the baby can fall. If a parent or caregiver wearing a baby falls, so does the baby. And suffocation risks increase if the baby is poorly positioned in a sling. A baby's nose and mouth can press against fabric or against their caregiver's body. A curled position can mean a baby's head may fall forward and block the airways.

If you choose to use baby slings or carriers, follow these safety strategies:


  • Choose a sling or carrier that suits the age and size of your baby as well as your own size. Have a separate sling or carrier for each person who carries your baby.
  • If your child is too young to hold his or her own head upright, choose an option with adequate head support.
  • Look for a sling or carrier that comes with detailed instructions about height and weight recommendations.


  • Use the carrier or sling only as directed; front-carriers should never be used on your back and vice versa.
  • Be sure that your baby's face is always visible and his or her airways remain unobstructed.
  • Check that straps fit properly and that all buckles and snaps are safely fastened before using your carrier.
  • Once you've placed your baby's legs through the leg openings of a carrier, adjust the openings to the smallest setting that suits your baby's leg size.
  • When you need to bend over while baby-wearing, hold your baby carefully and bend at your knees.
  • Check on your baby frequently when wearing a sling or carrier.
  • Never use a stove or oven when carrying your baby in a sling.
  • Do not zip your coat around your baby in a carrier or sling.
  • Inspect your sling or carrier before each use to check for signs of wear and tear: torn straps; ripped seams; and faded, fraying, or balding spots on the fabric.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: