19 September 2011


We are all saddened by the death of a two day infant in South Australia, who died while being carrier by his mother. Our heart goes out to her and all of her family.

Like everything else carrying a baby in a sling can carry dangers if not properly used. Similarly swaddling a baby poses a risk as does sleeping a child on their stomach before they can move from that position.

In the letter to the Medical Journal of Australia Roger Byard, a professor of pathology at the University of Adelaide, and John Gilbert, a senior specialist forensic pathologist at Forensic Science SA, warned that infants were at risk of suffocation if they were positioned with their chin to their chest or if the mouth and nose were obscured.

This is a risk for babies whether they are in a sling, or in a pram, carseat or in arms.

In Australia we have a low mortality rate because we are a highly literate society. Baby carrying has been linked with improvements in health or sick babies and toddlers and has been used by generations of women across the globe as a means of keeping their children safe.

The death of a two day old infant is a tragedy. No one would ever want to be in that situation. Had Babywearing been the cause of the death this would have been announced by the coroner.
At Tinoki we will not sell slings, wraps or soft structured carrier to the mother of a newborn without making sure that the mother has access to information about wearing their child safely.

Positional asphyxiation is a real problem. It is something we need to be mindful of whenever we interact with our babies. Whether a baby is in a carseat or a sling, it is imperative to ensure that their airways are not blocked. this poster was created in the UK to show how to ensure a baby is in a safe position in a sling.
We would love to see a public education campaign like this here in Australia. making sure people are informed is important.

Please stay mindful. but most of all, enjoy your babies.


  1. Amazingly, when I had my daughter six years ago, it was standard practice to place newborns and tiny babies in pouches/ring slings lying down in a semi-supine position (I still have instructions detailing as much). For the first two days I wore my baby, she grunted with each step as I walked. It was so disturbing to us that we would prop her up with a rolled-up nappy or carry her upright on my chest. I now know that those sounds were classic obstruction noises - I shudder to think how close we came to a similar tragedy.

  2. unfortunately there are still many slings on the market which are not safe, which promote exactly the advice you were given six years ago. I'm so glad that you listened to your instincts and didn't continue carrying your baby in what was clearly a dangerous position. I too shudder at how close so many babies must come to tragedy.