'She's beside herself': Aussie mum 'inconsolable' after newborn suffocates in sling

Babies less than four months old are at a higher risk of suffocation in a sling.
Babies less than four months old are at a higher risk of suffocation in a sling. Photo credit: Getty

An Australian mum is "inconsolable" after her newborn baby suffocated while she carried him in a sling.

The 36-year-old took her three-week-old son to a health care centre in Killarney Vale, New South Wales on April 8, The Daily Telegraph reports.

With her son swaddled in a sling strapped to her chest, she'd been speaking to a nurse for about 10 minutes before she unwrapped him so the nurse could take a look at him.

It was then they both had the horrifying realisation that he wasn't breathing. CPR was performed at the scene but the baby died, NSW Police told media.

The mother of three is "utterly inconsolable" after the tragedy, a family friend told The Daily Telegraph.

"It's a horribly tough time for her and the family; she is beside herself, it's still so raw, and so is her husband."

The friend said the woman is "totally devoted to her children" and was carrying the baby properly in the sling at the time.

However newborns are at greater risk of suffocation in a sling, according to Australian consumer group Choice, as well as babies born prematurely.

This is because their neck muscles aren't strong enough to hold their head up and their airway can become blocked if they're positioned wrongly.

Trading Standards, the Government agency that oversees product safety in New Zealand, advises that parents and caregivers should take "extreme care" when using a sling for a baby less than four months old.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs advises against using a 'bag sling' which has a higher risk of suffocation, and warns against slings that place the baby in a foetal position or with their chin tucked against their chest.

There are no safety standards for baby carriers in New Zealand, according to Consumer NZ.