Parents warn against using baby slings

14 infant deaths associated with sling-style carriers

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HOUSTON - After the Consumer Product Safety Commission connected three infant deaths to sling-style carriers in 2009, it issued a warning to parents to be cautious when using slings for babies younger than 4 months old.

Parents continue to speak out against the use of sling carriers, in particular, the Wohlegemuth family. They experienced the loss of their infant son, Kellen, and warned parents against the use of sling carriers.

A witness recalled seeing 3-month-old Kellen wiggle around in his mother's sling.  Moments later, the witness said paramedics arrived.  Later, the baby boy was pronounced dead at the hospital.

While the medical examiner hasn't released how Kellen died, the father wrote a poem about his death.

"They lie, 'Wraps and slings are safe,'" he wrote.  "The profits are more important to them than our son's smiling face ... so heed this final warning, take the advice I give, no safer place than a mother's arms!"

Tanya Childress, a child safety instructor, teaches parents how to properly hold their child in a sling.

"When you have a baby in a sling and they're laying down, their chin can actually hit the chest and restrict their airway," Childress said.

Despite this warning, Childress said there are also benefits to using a sling carrier. 

"It keeps you close to your baby, and you're able to know the needs of your baby right away," she said.  "In newborns, it helps with milk production and postpartum depression."

According to reports, the CPSC investigated at least 14 deaths associated with sling-style carriers; most were babies younger than 4 months old.

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