Although the incidence of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) decreased markedly after campaigns to promote supine positioning during sleeping, it has remained unchanged over the last decade. Epidemiological data suggest a role for new causes such as suffocation, asphyxia, and entrapment. Health authorities in several countries have issued warnings about slings used to carry infants. However, few reports of infant deaths in slings have been published in medical journals. Our paediatric intensive care unit has admitted two infants who experienced cardiorespiratory arrest while carried in a sling. Diagnostic investigations including a post-mortem examination established asphyxia as the mechanism of death. In conclusion, baby slings may carry a risk of SUDI, either by compression of the baby into a forward-flexed position or by direct suffocation. European recommendations for the cautious use of baby slings should be disseminated to families and professionals involved in caring for infants, as done recently in Australia, Canada, and the USA.
Sudden infant death syndrome Suffocation Paediatric intensive care Baby carrying system Post-mortem examination