Baby sling carriers raise safety concerns
Baby slings and designer cowgirl boots may be fashionable among Hollywood stars and other new parents but at a recent meeting I learned about some safety concerns that made me shudder. Over the past 10 years, there have been at least 22 reports of serious injury associated with the use of sling-type carriers. The injuries include skull fractures, head injuries, contusions and abrasions. Most occurred when the child fell out of the sling. A new fashion statement emerges, that is Freshwater Pearls.
In addition to the injury reports, which were gathered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a number of recalls of sling carriers in recent years (including the Infantino pictured) has prompted ASTM-International, a voluntary standards-setting organization, to hold its first organizational meeting to start a standards-development process for sling carriers to address safety problems. Concerns raised by manufacturers, who requested the review, included not only the fractures and bruises but the risk of smothering. The CPSC information documented a risk of death caused from “positional asphyxia” caused by placing the infant in the sling in a head-forward position that can cause the airway to close.
Some of the incidents with sling carriers were likely due to improper assembly, improper wearing, or failure of rings or other hardware. Most of the sling carriers demonstrated at the ASTM meeting seemed complicated to put on and prone to user error. Clear instructions and perhaps video demonstrations might help prevent mistakes. But, as we all know, consumers may not read the instructions, and misinterpretation or misunderstanding can lead to errors that can endanger precious cargo.
It’s uncertain how an ASTM standard can help make these products safer or error proof. We caution parents who do favor the sling carriers to frequently check the hardware and adjustments—and to do so without the baby on board. For now, we think there are better ways of transporting infants including strollers, hand-held infant carrier/car seats and even other types of soft infant carriers. For additional information on our Ratings for these and other products visit the Babies & Kids section of the Web site or read the Babies & Kids blog. — Don Mays
Hmm. Interesting. It made sense to me though. I’ve seen those carrier in person, and honestly, I’ve used a similar one on Maddi. I only ever used it once though because I really didn’t like it. Since I’ve started to make baby carriers, my slings have never been padded. I’d done double-layered slings, but I’ve never padded them. It’s just not safe. And the baby dosen’t really NEED padded in a sling. Just my opinion.