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Baby-wearing products can injure infants when used incorrectly, researchers warn

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Itasca, IL — Baby-wearing products that allow parents and caregivers to carry an infant in a sling, soft carrier or other device can increase the child’s risk of injury, researchers are warning.

Using 2011-2020 data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the researchers identified more than 14,000 cases of baby-wearing injuries requiring emergency treatment. They found that 61% of the injuries occurred among children younger than five months. Of those infants, 83.7% suffered a head injury and nearly 1 out of 5 required hospitalization. Around 30% of the injuries happened with caregivers wearing a sling carrier.

Baby-wearing devices offer benefits such as improved success with breastfeeding, better infant-to-parent bonding and more attentiveness from fathers, the American Academy of Pediatrics says in a press release. However, 22% of all injuries to children were the result of a parent or caregiver falling.

 

The researchers recommend more parental education before using a baby-wearing product. For example, a wide variety of products are designed with additional room in the bust to accommodate breastfeeding mothers. When these products are worn by men, this could increase the risk of injury to children.

“The most precious thing a parent will ever wear is their child,” Capt. Patrick T. Reeves, study co-author and an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, said in the release. “But like when buying a new pair of shoes, parents must be educated on the proper sizing, selection and wear of baby carriers to prevent injury to themselves and their child.”

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