This mom of two says to claim that ALL baby slings are dangerous because of a few isolated incidents is one-sided and unfair.
Natasha Stanton: I have been making baby slings for my company “Rockin’ Baby Sling” for almost eight years.
When I read an article about an upcoming baby-sling safety warning, I felt it was super extreme and really one-sided. With everything — like cribs, strollers and slings — you have to educate yourself as a parent about the safe way to use it.
Every one of our slings comes with safety warnings, and they are also posted on our website. In big, bold red letters, we say:
Be careful not to allow your newborn’s chin to rest on his or her chest, as it can restrict breathing. Make sure your newborn baby is laying flat in the sling or pouch, or put a small pillow or folded receiving blanket under baby’s neck to keep chin off chest.
Before using a baby sling, you have to educate yourself on how to use a sling and how to place your baby in it properly.
If you use a sling correctly, it is 100 percent safe. Saying all baby slings are unsafe because of a few tragic incidents is so unfair.
My business partner Lisa and I encountered this type of attitude a lot in the beginning when people didn’t know about baby-wearing. People gradually became more educated. The Dr. Sears books advocate baby-wearing, and he’s a great proponent. There are other ways to carry your baby than by pushing her in a stroller away from you!
Thousands and thousands of babies have been worn safely in slings for hundreds of years. It’s everywhere: Africa, Asia, Native-American cultures. We are not the first culture to embrace baby-wearing. In fact, we were one of the last to get on board, because we love our gadgets so much here.
But there are so many benefits to wearing your baby. You can be relaxed knowing baby is with you, you can feed on demand and you can go through your day wearing your baby.
Happy babies make for smart babies, because they’re more able to absorb their surroundings. I just love seeing a baby smiling in a sling as Mom walks down the street. It is so different from the expression a child has when she’s in a stroller. There’s a comfort level there. They can hear your heartbeat, and they can smell you. They feel safe.
How I got acquainted with baby slings is simple: Someone gave me one and raved about it. It took me forever to figure it out, but once I did, I loved it. Both my kids were really calm when they were on me. It was kind of a no-brainer: If it made them calm, I was all for it!
Even though I loved my first sling, it was hideous and padded. I said, “I’m too vain. It’s not me!”
I come from a costume background. I had a bunch of fabric, so I made some slings. People started asking me if I could make one for them. That’s how this all started — and it’s blossomed into the company it is today. Our Rockin’ Baby Slings and Pouches are now worn by celeb moms like Angelina Jolie, Gwen Stefani and Brooke Burke.
We have never had any safety complaints about any of our products. We’re super sticklers about quality: If the fabric on a customer’s sling is torn or fraying, we replace it immediately. Our rings are not welded — it’s one solid piece of metal. We are so super vigilant about safety because we’re carrying our kids in these slings, too. They had to be the safest things we could make.
I definitely feel for the families of the infants who have died. But when a baby tragically dies in a crib, we don’t say “all cribs are dangerous” and stop using them.
These tragedies don’t happen all the time. Moms just need to educate themselves. Always read your safety manuals before using a baby sling, but continue to enjoy wearing your baby. There’s nothing better!