Monday, 15 March 2010

CPSC Issues Warnings about Dangers of Suffocation from Baby Slings

On Friday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning about the dangers of suffocation to infants carried in baby slings. According to the agency, it is investigating at least 14 reports of deaths of infants who were placed in the slings. At least 12 of these deaths involved infants below the age of four months. Three of the deaths occurred in 2009.

The CPSC seems to have isolated a few common factors in these incidents. Most of these deaths involved:
  • A low birth weight twin
  • Premature babies
  • Babies with a cold or other breathing issues
The agency is urging parents who have low weight babies, preemies and babies with a respiratory problem to consult their pediatricians before placing their infants in a sling.

Baby slings have become very popular in recent years, as parenting styles have moved towards "wearing" babies. The slings come in many styles. One of the most popular has been the bag sling, which allows the person to wear the sling across the shoulder, and have the baby lying close to the mother's stomach. The risk comes when the baby's head flops forward and onto its chest. This could hamper breathing, and cause suffocation. The danger also comes when the baby's head is nestled against the mother's body.

One particular brand of slings has come under fire for defective design. Sling Rider from Infantino has been named in a wrongful death lawsuit arising from the death of a week-old baby who was placed in a bag sling. Child safety experts also point out that babies before four months of age, who still have no control over their head and neck, may not be the ideal infants for a sling.

If you still love the sling, California product liability attorneys would advise that you:
  • Only use a sling that does not settle your baby into a fetal position with his head touching his chest.
  • Check that there's no danger of suffocation from the baby turning its head towards the carrier.
  • Wait until your baby can hold his neck steady and his head up, before you place him in a sling.

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