At Least 13 Infant Deaths Linked to Baby Slings, Reports CPSC

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning dads and moms that chic baby slings can be deadly. The commission says that it has investigated at least 13 child fatalities involving the sling-style carriers in 20 years. Three of the fatalities occurred last year. 12 of the babies that died were under the age of four months.
Baby slings wrap around the chest, keeping the baby close to the parent. They allow parents to “wear” their kids. Experts have promoted infant slings as a way to calm babies down or help moms breastfeed their children.
Now, the CPSC is warning caregivers and parents to be very careful when using the baby slings for infants in that vulnerable age group because the child carrier can pose a suffocation hazard in two ways:

  • The sling can cause the baby to be cradled too close to the mom’s belly or under her chest in a curved position. This may push the baby’s head forward, limiting his/her ability to breathe and cry for help.
  • The fabric of the sling can push itself against an infant’s nose and mouth. It takes just a minute for a suffocation accident to happen.

Many of the fatalities involved kids who were born prematurely, low birth weight twins, or suffering from a cold.
The CPSC is not the first to warn about hazards related to this popular carrier. In 2008, Consumer Reports noted that approximately two dozen serious injuries had been linked to the slings. Skull fractures were among the injuries sustained during fall accidents from the carrier.
Safety advocates again warned about the dangers the sling can pose last year after a 1-week-old baby died in an Oregon suffocation accident. His cause of death was positional asphyxia.
Currently, there are no rules or standards that govern baby slings. However, if your child fell out of a baby sling or was seriously injured/died in a suffocation accident, your son or daughter may be the victim of child products liability.
The CPSC is offering the following safety precautions to prevent sling suffocation accidents:

  • Make sure that the baby’s head is faced up and away from the sling or the mom’s body
  • Check the baby’s position on a regular basis
  • Make sure that the sling’s fabric doesn’t cover the baby’s face

Baby slings to get warning after deaths, MSNBC/AP, March 9, 2010
Infant Deaths Prompt CPSC Warning About Sling Carriers for Babies, CPSC, March 12, 2010
Related Web Resources:
Strangulation and Suffocation,
Consumer Product Safety Commission

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