Don’t forget dads when buying baby slings


CHOICE Baby Safety Week 21 - 25 May, 2012

CHOICE says, with close to one in four fathers experiencing problems when using a baby sling, parents should choose carefully when buying the infant carrying devices.

In a survey involving 1006 parents, 23% of fathers reported experiencing injury or noticeable discomfort when carrying their babies in the slings.¹

“While many don’t have difficulties with the slings, it concerned us that almost a quarter of dads reported problems, including the safety issue of babies almost falling out of the slings,” says CHOICE spokesperson, Ingrid Just.

CHOICE says, to ensure comfort and safety for the whole family, both parents should try out several different sling models and styles before buying one.

“It’s usually mum who buys the baby slings, but they need to consider dad as well because one size doesn’t fit all,” says Ms Just.

“The body size and shape for mum, dad and baby will affect the comfort and safety level,” says Ms Just.

CHOICE’s baby sling survey showed that despite some of the usage problems, the devices are appealing to parents, with 27% reporting that the slings allowed them to move more freely in crowded places. 19% of people surveyed said they liked the closeness the slings provided between parent and baby.²

CHOICE’s Baby Safety Week Advocate, journalist and mother of two Tracy Spicer, says her experience shows that buying the sling after the baby is born was important.  

”It’s easy to buy the sling that looks great or the one your friend recommends, but speaking from experience the only real way to know which sling is most comfortable and easy to use is for both mum and dad to each try on the sling with the baby,” says Ms Spicer.

“Mums are probably the purchasers of these products but dads need to be considered in the purchase process and educated on how to properly fit the carriers. A correctly fitted sling or carrier makes for a far more pleasant and comfortable experience with the baby.”

CHOICE’s tips of features to look for when choosing a baby carrier/sling:

  • Choose one with broad; well-padded shoulder straps that cross at the back help distribute the weight. The straps shouldn’t pull too much on your neck or shoulders
  • Make sure it has a broad hip or waist strap will take some weight off your shoulders and limit sideways movement of the carrier, adding stability
  • Check to ensure that all straps are fully and easily adjustable with one hand. They shouldn’t obscure a baby's vision or cut into their face
  • Make sure the carrier supports the baby sufficiently without restricting head, leg and arm movement
  • Make sure it provides adequate head support - particularly important for younger babies, who have little or no head and neck control.

Download CHOICE’s free guide with advice for new parents at choice.com.au/expectantparentsguide  

Read more about CHOICE's Baby Safety Week, including information on nursery furniture tests.

-End-

 Media contacts:

Ingrid Just, CHOICE, Head of Media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669

Notes to editors:

1.  CHOICE conducted a national survey of 1006 consumers through The Digital Edge between 8 and 11 May, 2012. The results were weighted according to age, gender and location.

23% of Australian men have had issues with incorrectly fitting slings and carriers which have resulted in an injury, the baby almost falling out or the baby showing signs of being clearly uncomfortable.

8% of men admitted that their baby has almost slipped out of a sling, compared to 2% of women.The results indicated that 16% of the Australians surveyed have had issues with incorrectly fitting slings and carriers which have resulted in either an injury, the baby almost falling out or the baby showing noticeable signs of discomfort.

21% of Australians surveyed who used slings have said that they have had no problems with their slings or carriers and prefer them to strollers.

2. CHOICE conducted a national survey of 1006 consumers through The Digital Edge between 8 and 11 May, 2012. The results were weighted according to age, gender and location.

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