Baby carriers may increase the risk of serious injury for infants, study finds

Photo (c) Images By Tang Ming Tung - Getty Images

Experts encourage parents to take their time choosing the right size carriers for their babies

While many parents opt to put their infants in a carrying sling for long walks or to run errands, a new study may have consumers rethinking their purchasing options. 

According to researchers from the American Academy of Pediatrics, baby-wearing products may increase the risk of serious injuries for infants under the age of one. 

“The most precious thing a parent will ever wear is their child,” said researcher Dr. Samantha Rowe. “But like when buying a new pair of shoes, parents must be educated on the proper sizing, selection, and wear of baby carriers to prevent injury to themselves and their child.” 

Keeping infants safe

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 2011 through 2020. In that time, there were more than 14,000 infant injuries related to baby carriers. 

The majority of the injuries were incurred by infants younger than six months old, and nearly 84% of these accidents resulted in head injuries; approximately 20% of infants were taken to the hospital following the injury. 

The researchers learned that 30% of the injuries occurred when a parent was wearing a sling-type baby carrier. Around 20% of these types of injuries occurred when a caregiver fell while wearing a baby carrier.

Ultimately, the biggest risk of wearing a baby carrier is for very young infants. The study showed that infants aged 0-5 months were involved in the most accidents, though all babies under the age of 1 had a higher risk of experiencing these types of injuries. 

Baby carriers make it easier for caregivers to multitask and form attachment bonds with their infants. However, safety is the most important thing for both newborns and caregivers. To avoid significant injury and hospitalization, the researchers recommend that parents and caregivers take the time to do their research on these products -- especially when it comes to selecting the right product size. 

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