Infant Swings: What to Look For

baby in an infant swingCPSC is making progress in establishing a new safety rule for infant swings. Many of you moms and dads know these products well, as they have helped your baby fall asleep at 3 a.m., 3 p.m., and everywhere in between.

While working through the safety of these swings, CPSC staff has assembled some interesting information for new moms and dads:

First, when you bring your new baby home, remember that newborns and young infants don’t have the muscle tone or strength to keep their heads up. So, when you put them into a swing, make sure that your baby is lying down.

It’s likely that you’ll see this warning on your swing: “Use only in the most reclined seat position until infant can hold head up unassisted.”

That warning is there to alert you to a safety concern. Infants who are placed sitting up can end up in a slumped-over position that blocks their breathing. Of 15 deaths related to infant swings between January 2002 and May 18, 2011, five infants died from being slumped over. Moms, Dads: An upright swing is not a safe spot for your infant to sleep.

Restraints, meanwhile, accounted for the highest proportion of injuries. Have any of you had this happen in your swing?

  • Your baby leans forward or sideways and falls or nearly falls out of the seat.
  • Your baby leans back, causing the seat to tilt backwards. Your baby then slides out backwards onto his or her head.

If you’ve seen this happen, you aren’t alone. Both of these are common. Here’s some information from CPSC staff:

“As infants start to learn to sit up on their own, they tend to lean forward in the swing. If the infant leans forward while the swing is moving backwards, the infant’s upper body can fall out of the swing. A number of the incidents reported finding the infant hanging upside down with the waist/crotch restraint still attached.”

Infant swing manufacturers have begun making swings with a 5-point harness. CPSC staff believes that this restraint could help prevent babies from falling or getting trapped in a swing.

Consider these hazards when you are buying a new or used infant swing and know that CPSC staff is working hard to strengthen the safety standard for these products and make it mandatory.

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