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Statement by BCIA Executive Director

Berwick, ME USA, April 7th 2014. Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA) Executive Director Linnea Catalan issued the following statement.

“The Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA) offers our heartfelt condolences to Marriane and Richard Matthews on the tragic loss of their son Eric over the Christmas holidays in London, UK. We, as parents ourselves, feel very deeply for any parent who suffers the profound grief of a child’s death.”

The BCIA wishes to take this moment to remind parents and caregivers of important tips for monitoring infants while being carried or held in a sling or other container, such as a baby swing, infant car seat, or stroller.

Baby slings and carriers continue to be the safest place for a baby. It is important for parents and caregivers to understand that babies are very vulnerable in the first few months, and it’s essential to keep their airway open and protected. Babies who are suffering or recovering from an illness (even a cold or cough) require extra vigilance. Parents should continually monitor a baby, whether in a sling, car seat, or crib.

Covering babies with blankets to protect them from cold, heat, light, or germs is a common practice. However, covering a baby’s face makes it impossible to monitor a child’s breathing, in addition to putting the baby at risk for suffocation, or CO2 rebreathing. A baby sling or carrier is a critical tool in helping a parent keep their infant close while monitoring their baby, and allows for the parent to easily pause what they are doing and check in frequently with their baby.

BCIA urges parents to always be aware of their infants’ airways and to follow these important BCIA guidelines for safe “visible and kissable” carrying:

• Baby carriers are meant to mimic in-arms carrying positions. Your baby should be in the same position in which you would hold him in your arms. Check your baby’s position by embracing him after settling him into the carrier; his position should not shift significantly in your embrace.

• Read and follow all manufacturers’ instructions for use, and watch any included DVDs, if applicable.

• Ensure you can see baby’s face at all times. Do not let baby’s face press into your body. Do not cover baby’s face with a blanket, sling fabric, nursing covers, clothing, etc.

• Baby’s head and neck must be gently and completely supported, with chin off chest. If baby’s chin is pressed tightly to baby’s chest, this can restrict baby’s airway. Check to ensure you can slip your finger between baby’s chin and chest to check for correct positioning.

• Consult an expert (a babywearing consultant and/or your heathcare provider) if your infant was born with a low birth weight, such as a preemie or twins, or if your infant has a respiratory illness or other respiratory problems. Extra vigilance is required with these babies.

• After nursing in a carrier, remove baby from breast and return baby to proper carrying position with head above the breasts and face free of fabric and turned to the side with baby’s face clear of mother’s body.

• Attend to and check on baby often, especially those under 4 months of age.

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