From Our 2010 Archives
Infant Deaths Spur Baby Sling Warning
Don't Put Infants Under 4 Months in Baby Slings, Consumer Product Safety Commission Warns
By Daniel J. DeNoon
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
March 12, 2010 - After a spate of infant suffocation deaths, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning parents to think twice before putting infants under 4 months of age into baby slings.
The CPSC is conducting a full investigation of the once-again-trendy baby carriers. There's been no recall, but CPSC head Inez Tenenbaum said earlier this week that a warning was coming.
Now it's here. The warning comes on the heels of three infant deaths in 2009 and at least 14 deaths over the past two decades. Twelve of the infants were less than 4 months old.
Babies under 4 months of age have weak neck muscles and can't control their heads. If the sling fabric blocks the child's nose and mouth, it can suffocate the child in just one or two minutes.
Perhaps more horribly, if the sling holds the child in a curled position with its chin bent toward its chest, the child has difficulty breathing and suffocates slowly.
At highest risk are kids who have a breathing problem -- such as a cold -- or kids born with low birth weight.
While it has not banned the slings, it warns parents to use them correctly when toting infants over age 4 months.
Here's the CSPC's advice:
If you've had an incident or injury while using a baby sling, the CSPC wants to hear from you at 800-638-2772.
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