Should Infant Carriers Be Banned? Baby Dies After Suffocating On Mother’s Baby Sling

The death of a five-week-old infant while resting inside an infant carrier sparked heated debate on the safety of using slings to carry babies around, Daily Mail reports.

Eric Matthews, a five-week-old infant from London, died from suffocation after his mother, Mariane Matthews, took him outside for a ten-minute walk.

According to Marianne, she carried the infant outside on Christmas eve using the baby sling to comfort the baby, who had been crying shortly before the incident. When she returned home with the baby, she found that little Eric wasn’t breathing. Attempts at CPR proved ineffective and the infant was declared dead eight days later at the Great Ormond Street Hospital. Mrs. Matthews described the event as follows:

“He was crying in the beginning, then he stopped crying. On the way back he was falling asleep. When we got home we found he wasn’t breathing.”

Marianne, a textile artist, believes the infant carrier she used may have been the culprit to her son’s death. In an inquest held to investigate the death of little Eric, the mother said that she first learned about baby slings from a parenting book, which said that they are the safest products you can use to carry a child around. Today, she speaks against infant carriers and warns others about the dangers it might possibly pose to their babies.

Coroner Richard Brittain stated during the inquest that the official cause of death of the infant was blockage of his airways. He agreed that the baby sling may have contributed or even caused the baby’s death. Pediatric pathologist Mary Malone says that there have been plenty of incidents that point to the dangers of using baby slings, noting that there have been six similar cases of infant carrier-related deaths in Britain alone and 16 in North America.

Despite the potential dangers of using slings, these types of infant carriers have been popularly endorsed in the market over the years. Celebrity moms like Holly Willoughby and Nicole Kidman have been seen in public donning baby slings to carry around their children.

However, the deaths linked to the product are both undeniable and alarming. Many concerned parents are lobbying for stricter regulations of the product. Some are even calling for its total ban.

Marianne Matthews started a charity named after his son which benefits the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. So far, she has raised a total of £2,662.00. If you want to help, their website can be found here.

Are you a parent? What is your opinion on infant carriers? Should it be banned?

[Image by Hobo Mama via Flickr]