WIBU to continue using a sling after tragic news of baby Eric?

(41 Posts)
Isabeller Fri 04-Apr-14 03:34:28

Not sure where to post this and can only find news links that end up at daily mail unfortunately.

A baby died in a sling on Christmas Eve and apparently a coroner is raising questions about sling safety.

I use a closer sling - recommended by GP - and a babybjorn virtually every day for hours. Does anyone know what the issues are?

Heartfelt condolences to baby Eric's parents.

Slh122 Fri 04-Apr-14 03:48:36

Not sure about the story you're referring to but if you google you'll find lots of things about baby bjorn slings carrying a risk of hip dysplasia because of how the baby's legs end up hanging. I use a pashmina round the baby's legs to bring them up towards me if that makes sense.

ZenGardener Fri 04-Apr-14 03:55:00


Apparently the mother read in a baby book that you should position the baby with his face against your chest and he suffocated.

MrsMook Fri 04-Apr-14 04:45:08

The slings and wraps I have mention the risks of blocking airways and checking position in the instruction manual. If baby is "close enough to kiss" they should be high enough to have good air circulation.

I didn't carry mine quite that young (still wasn't ready to leave the house!) but I consider it safer using a method of baby wearing, compared to the risk of dropping a free-hold baby. (Especially when safely guiding a toddler through a car patk with the other arm while popping around.

treaclesoda Fri 04-Apr-14 04:53:00

It's tragic of course, but the entire tone of the article is horrible, like it's just another stick to beat mothers with, another way to criticise them. And the reference to celebrities, as if women use slings just because celebrities have been known to use them.

I don't know the statistics but I'd guess there are more babies killed in car accidents every year than in slings, but the coroner doesn't suddenly blame the car and question it's use.

AnythingNotEverything Fri 04-Apr-14 05:34:21

Sometimes dreadful accidents happen. It's terribly, terribly sad, but as pp said, we don't talk about banning cars after every fatal car crash.

I don't know the details of this case (and the DM offers very little) but as parents we are responsible for managing the risks around our childrens' safety. We do this all day, every day. Educate yourself on safe carrying techniques and the risk us minimal.

ikeaismylocal Fri 04-Apr-14 05:55:45

What a tragic thing to happen sad

The reason thiss news is because it is thankfully very very rare.

It is hard to know if this tragedy should effect other parents decision to use a sling, things like the type of sling used, the position, if the baby was over or under the parent's jacket. A baby with it's face squished into a padded jacket is very different to a baby with its head to the side under the parent's jacket.

Personally I will use slings when dc2 is born this autumn, we used a Moby wrap and then a rose and rebellion carrier with ds and the risks in my opinion are minimal.

Babies die everyday in the UK whilst sleeping in cots, travelling in car seats but we don't hear about this on the news because tragically it's much more common than a baby dieing whilst in a sling.

CrohnicallyChanging Fri 04-Apr-14 07:00:46

If you're going to use a sling, remember the TICKS guidelines.

the sling should be Tight so it supports baby
baby should be In view at all times
and Close enough to kiss
Keep baby's chin off their chest
And Support baby's back

I would guess at least one of those guidelines were broken in this case.

And OP as has been mentioned, babybjorns aren't the best choice if you use a sling regularly. They don't cause hip dysplasia, but could contribute to it if your child is susceptible. And unfortunately some susceptible children are missed as they don't all have clicky hips- my daughter had normal hips on manual examination, luckily she had an ultrasound and her immature hips were spotted on that. I was instructed to keep her legs apart as much as possible, like in a tummy to tummy carry like the closer sling.

As well as that, babybjorns don't distribute baby's weight well, so you might find baby gets too heavy for it quickly. Most babybjorn users I know give up around 6 months, whereas I can still carry DD (18 months and larger than average) in a more supportive carrier.

fairylightsintheloft Fri 04-Apr-14 07:25:42

bit more detail in the times today. the coroner said that there was nothing wrong with the sling design or the way it was used, it was just an accident. Awful, but an accident. The advice upthread about having the baby high enough so its face is sort of in you collarbone area rather than against the softest fullest part of the chest sounds about right. Absolutely no reason to immediately stop using these very useful and comfortable things - much better than baby bjorns anyway.

HPparent Fri 04-Apr-14 07:26:23

My kids are teens now but I can remember being abused in the street by some Arabic bloke who said he was doctor calling me a stupid idiot for putting my dd1 in a sling. I was on my way back from the GP after her first vaccinations.

The sling I used was called I think Wilkie-net? It was difficult to tie but the baby was high by the top of your chest and slightly leaning outwards. It was perfectly safe.

It is very sad to hear about this poor family but I think you can judge for yourself whether your baby can breath or is in danger.

Waltonswatcher1 Fri 04-Apr-14 07:31:00

Love my slings . I was utterly I obsessed about keep checking position though . Wouldn't use the bjorn , looks hideously uncomfortable . Close parent was great . Now I have a 2 yr old I like a side sling - with an arm around her for added security .
Very sad for Eric .

kungfupannda Fri 04-Apr-14 07:40:20

Every time something terrible like this happens, people talk about the dangers of "slings" as though they're all the same thing, and the finger gets pointed at people using the less mainstream varieties, with the implication that they're slightly daft hippies who are happy to put their babies at risk.

There's a huge variety of slings, all used in different ways, and that article doesn't even identify the brand of song, beyond the picture which says "like this one" or words to that effect. There have been concerns about bag style slings for a long time, and most deaths have been associated with that type of sling. The wording of the article suggests that this was an upright type sling, so probably a wrap or a structured carrier or mei-tai or similar, all of which are meant to be used with the baby very high up, with their head above the breasts.

An awful lot of the Baby Bjorns I see out and about are practically down round the parent's waist, with quite small babies pressed against the stomach or breasts of the parent. That never looks safe to me. By contrast, the people I see using wraps/mei-tais/etc tend to have the baby better positioned, probably because it's more difficult to learn to use these types of sling, so they've probably been shown or spent a fair bit of time practicing the positioning. Also, a wrap won't feel right if it's loose and low down, so chances are that no-one will try to go out like that.

Slings are like anything else - they have to be used properly. It sounds as though this poor mum thought she was doing exactly that, and had taken proper care, but the instructions weren't clear, or possibly plain wrong. It's interesting that it doesn't seem to be the sling's manual which is being blamed, but another parenting book. I'd be interested to know which one.

Polarn Fri 04-Apr-14 07:41:15

I love my slings too, both ds and dd were in one from the start. 1st a woven, now also with the ergo..... They were always in the right position but it is natural to constanlty check on them.

Also follow the ticks guidelines as mentioned above.

Scuttlebug Fri 04-Apr-14 07:46:26

Watching this with interest, some useful info on here. Does MN have a good sling guide? Planning on using one for first time in June on dc2.

higgle Fri 04-Apr-14 07:52:06

I had a Wilkinet when my two were babies and I thought it was very good, - could be tied so baby had face away from your body. I hardly ever used my pram/pushchair as both went from sling to backpack carrier which was so much easier than a puchchair. Very sad about this story and hope experts will be able to reassure parents soon.

thebody Fri 04-Apr-14 08:07:12

I never used them as my babies were very heavy and my back is buggered but this is a very sad and tragic accident.

poor poor parents.

trulyscrumptious43 Fri 04-Apr-14 08:07:19

I have often seen parents with their babies positioned too low down in a sling and stopped myself from saying something.
Now I'm not going to hold back next time, I don't care how irritating I appear!

Also to the poster who 'helpfully' posted the DM link - there's a very good reason why the OP avoided doing exactly that. Their attitude to women stinks and people here try to avoid giving them any more revenue by clicking on their links.

hackmum Fri 04-Apr-14 08:11:07

NCT has a good guide to slingwearing, including the different types of sling and the dos and don'ts:


I think it's accepted now, as Slh122 said, that Baby Bjorns aren't good for the baby.

When my DCs were babies 8 and 10 years ago I don't remembere there being any guidance about this at all. We were given a Baby Bjorn which we used intermittently but got too heavy fairly quickly and were lent a fabric one with DC2, can't remember what it was called but it was about 5m of very stretchy cloth. It was ok for round the house but I boiled if I ever went out of the house in it and walked (even though she was born in Jan), so it was abandoned very quickly too in favour of pushchairs. I am an avid reader of instruction leaflets, both had them but I don't recall reading about any dangers.

The Daily Mail article does not specify exactly what brand of sling was used, they show a stretchy wrap with a caption saying 'a sling such as this one'...there is no point in them putting a picture tbh.

The fact that a baby died in a sling is tragic but we don't know what type of sling the parents were using or how they were using it.

If you carry following the TICKS guidelines, as posted by CrohnicallyChanging (more info here ) your baby is close enough that you can hear and often feel them breathing, if their head moves you know straight away. It is a completely different way of carrying to carrying low or to using a 'bag' sling.

Bag slings are another issue altogether and imo should be avoided, if you look as some of the pictures on google images it is clear that the baby is being carried low, with it's neck and back bent. Sadly babies have died in these slings too but once it reaches the news it is just reported as a baby having died in a sling.

This blog gives more information about the dangers of bag slings. If you look at how the baby is carried in the bag sling, then compare it to the pictures used to illustrate the TICKS guidelines you will see that the two types of slings are poles apart.

jellyandcake Fri 04-Apr-14 08:43:32

I had a Wilki-net but found it slipped down whilst I was wearing it so I never used it that much. Am planning to buy a Caboo carrier this time as I think they look good.

Babies tragically sometimes suffocate in cots or prams if not put in them safely so I see this story in the same way - a horrible, terrible accident but not one that will prevent me from using a sling altogether.

Yonineedaminute Fri 04-Apr-14 08:50:50

I don't use a sling but I have a 4 week old and that article made me feel sick. I do agree though that this is a typical Daily Mail scaremongering article borne from a tragic accident.

As an aside, babies do not die 'every day' in car seats. In 2011 the number of under 15s who died in a car was 21, and I think the number of under 4s was around 4. Hideous yes, but a testament to how safe car travel actually is today, given how many children travel that way every year.

Op, do not stop using a sling, just ensure you have all the safety measures in place.

pixiepotter Fri 04-Apr-14 08:52:00

I use a closer sling - recommended by GP - and a babybjorn

what the heck does a GP know about baby slings?

TheScience Fri 04-Apr-14 08:58:50

Must say it seems like common sense to me to ensure a baby has a clear airway/face isn't covered/can breathe - whether in a sling, in a car, in bed.

Though maybe that is because I had read about product recalls a few years ago for bag slings and baby hammocks.

JerseySpud Fri 04-Apr-14 09:14:11

I used a mei tai with dd2 and reccomend that.

wasn't it a pouch sling that goes over one shoulder rather than a wrap sling?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now