Mayo Clinic Health Library

Question

Baby sling: Is it safe?

Is it safe to hold a baby in a baby sling?

Updated: 01-29-2019

Answer

Answer Section

A baby sling — typically a one-shouldered baby carrier made of soft fabric — can be a safe way to carry a baby, if you follow safety guidelines. But a baby sling can pose a suffocation hazard to an infant, particularly those younger than age 4 months.

Babies have relatively weak neck muscles and can't control their heads during the first few months after birth. If the baby sling's fabric or your body presses against a baby's nose and mouth, the baby might not be able to breathe. This can quickly lead to suffocation. A baby sling can also keep a baby curled in a C shape, making it hard for a baby to breathe.

If you use a baby sling:

  • Read the instructions. Double-check the baby sling's weight minimum before placing your baby in it.
  • Keep your baby's airways unobstructed. Make sure your baby's face isn't covered by the baby sling or your body and is visible to you at all times.
  • Take caution when bending. Bend at the knees, rather than at the waist, if you pick up something while holding your baby in a sling. This will help keep your baby settled securely in the sling.
  • Be alert for wear and tear. Check for tears in the sling's seams and fasteners.