Health Canada and the U.S. CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission) have recalled more than 1 million Infantino baby slings in the U.S. and 15,000 slings in Canada. These bag-style slings have been associated with baby deaths under investigation by federal regulators.
This recall follows a more general warning nearly two weeks ago from the U.S. CPSC on baby sling safety. The warning brought responses from baby carrier manufacturers, Babywearing International, and many other child advocates in favor of babywearing when done safely. Manufacturers have been participating in creation of a mandatory standard for two years now.
The U.S. CPSC recall included an additional message:
On March 12, 2010, CPSC issued a warning about sling carriers for babies. Slings can pose two different types of suffocation hazards to babies. In the first few months of life, babies cannot control their heads because of weak neck muscles. The sling’s fabric can press against an infant’s nose and mouth, blocking the baby’s breathing and rapidly suffocating a baby within a minute or two. Additionally, where a sling keeps the infant in a curled position bending the chin toward the chest, the airways can be restricted, limiting the oxygen supply. The baby will not be able to cry for help and can slowly suffocate.
CPSC has determined that a mandatory standard is needed for infant sling carriers. While a mandatory standard is being developed, CPSC staff is working with ASTM International and concerned companies such as Infantino to quickly develop an effective voluntary standard for slings. There currently are no safety standards for infant sling carriers.