Baby Deaths Prompt Warnings About Sling Dangers

Baby wearing parents are set to get a major warning from the federal government that their method of carrying their kids could put their babies at risk.

The head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission told MSNBC her organization is expected to announce a generalized alert warning parents of the risks of suffocation and the children who have died while in the slings.

A review of the CPSC’s most recent data makes it difficult to assess just how many injuries and deaths can be attributed to the fabric slings – baby carrier injuries are lumped in with car seats, backpack carriers and other means of toting baby. There were seventeen total “carrier related” deaths between 2002 and 2004, not including motor vehicle accidents, and more than fourteen thousand injuries have been reported. Again, that’s carrier-related injuries, not sling specific.

But Inez Tenenbaum of the CPSC specifically linked the slings to deaths in her statements this week, noting, “We know of too many deaths in these slings and we now know the hazard scenarios for very small babies.”

There have been repeated warnings from both the CPSC and Consumer Reports over the years, including recalls on slings (chiefly for problems with stitching and fasteners) and a report last fall on Consumer Reports that rated the popular product as one not to buy for baby. The non-profit watchdog requested the CPSC tighten its regulations last fall when a six-day-old died in a sling. The cause of death was listed as “accidental compression asphyxia/suffocation.”

They’re still a favorite of parents – and one need look no further than the hot comments here on Babble when we revealed Consumer Reports’ not to buy list. Does the government weighing in change your opinion?

Image: seoullife.net

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