Babywearers beware. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is preparing a safety warning about baby slings regarding concerns that babies can (and have) suffocated when held so close to their caregivers.
Inez Tenenbaum, head of the CPSC, said Tuesday that her agency is getting ready to issue a general warning to the public, likely to go out this week, about the slings.
"We know of too many deaths in these slings, and we now know the hazard scenarios for very small babies," said Tenenbaum. "So, the time has come to alert parents and caregivers."
Tenenbaum did not single out any specific baby slings or discuss the number of deaths linked to them. But there have been complaints for a couple years now about some baby carriers.
Two years ago, consumer watchdogs at Consumer Reports raised concerns about baby slings and the injuries caused when children fall out of them.
According to the Associated Press:
In 2008, Consumer Reports raised concerns about the soft fabric slings and some two dozen serious injuries, mostly when a child fell out of them.
Consumer Reports, published by Consumers Union, complained about the "SlingRider" by Infantino. The "bag style" sling wraps around the parent's neck and cradles the child in a curved or "C-like" position, nestling the baby below mom's chest or near her belly.
It's the "C-like" position that causes safety advocates to shudder. They say the curved position can cause the baby, which has little head and neck control in the early months, to flop its head forward, chin-to-chest — restricting the baby's ability to breathe.
Another concern: that the baby can turn its face toward mom's chest or belly and smother in the parent's clothing.
There have been no recalls because of a suffocation risk.
It will be interesting to see if the CPSC singles out this particular baby sling in their upcoming warning, or if it chooses to warn parents about the potential dangers of babywearing in general.