Health Canada

Health Canada

March 12, 2010 16:41 ET

CORRECTION FROM SOURCE/Advisory: Health Canada Reminds Parents to Exercise Caution When Using Infant Slings and Soft Infant Carriers

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 12, 2010) -

A correction from source is being issued with respect to the release sent out today at 2:13 PM EST. The corrected version follows.

Health Canada is advising parents and caregivers to exercise caution when using infant slings and soft infant carriers. Injuries tend to happen when:

  • the baby falls from the sling or soft carrier when the caregiver trips and falls;
  • the product malfunctions or its hardware breaks;
  • the baby slips and falls over the side or through the leg openings; or
  • the baby suffocates as a result of improper positioning of the baby or product use.

Prior to each use, parents should examine their sling or soft carrier for ripped seams, torn straps or damaged hardware and also ensure that it is secure before placing the baby in it. Caregivers are advised to frequently check on their baby while they are in these items. To help ensure there is an adequate supply of fresh air and that the child's airway is unobstructed, the baby's head should be above the sling and the face should always be visible.

Suffocation can happen when the baby's nose or mouth presses against the product's fabric or the caregiver's body, therefore restricting breathing. The design of some slings also forces the baby into a curled position forcing their head to bend towards the chest and potentially restricting the child's airway. Caregivers should not zip up their coats around a baby in a sling or soft carrier to keep the baby warm. 

A baby can suffocate in less than a minute and as consciousness is lost, the child will likely not be able to cry for help. Premature babies or those who have pre-existing medical conditions, such as a cold, are especially at risk of suffocation. Caregivers should exercise extra caution and consult their paediatrician prior to using a sling or soft carrier.

The use of infant slings and soft carriers worn by the caregiver has led to serious injuries of babies. Since 1995, nine incidents, including two deaths in soft infant carriers, have been reported to Health Canada. Over the past 20 years, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission ( has identified 14 suffocation deaths linked to the use of sling-style infant carriers.

ASTM International—a renown, global organization that develops standards—has published a voluntary standard for soft infant carriers. Health Canada is also working with ASTM International to develop a voluntary standard for infant slings, to help keep Canadian children safe.

To report an incident, please contact your regional Health Canada Product Safety office toll free at 1-866-662-0666 or by e-mail at (please indicate the province or territory from which you are corresponding).

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