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US Consumer Product Safety Commission Educates Parents on "Babywearing" Slings or Wraps

Posted by Shalena Smith on 9/26/2011

It's part of my job as a Mother and as a Baby Concierge, to stay updated on recalls and consumer safety reports. This warning came out last year but I felt compelled to remind new parents of this safety issue. I've copied this from a website that all new parents should visit frequently.

CPSC Educates New Parents on Safe Babywearing
Infant suffocation deaths in slings prompt renewed effort to warn moms and dads

November 19,2010

WASHINGTON, D. C. - Infant slings and wraps have been used for thousands of years in many different cultures. For many parents across the United States, “babywearing” promotes a positive bond between child and parent. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wants to make sure that parents and caregivers are aware of important safety information related to the proper use of slings.

CPSC is taking this opportunity to urge everyone to use slings and wraps safely, as CPSC has identified 14 infant suffocation deaths with sling-style carriers over the past 20 years. After reviewing numerous cases, child safety experts at CPSC have determined that parents with infants younger than four months of age, premature, low-birthweight babies, and babies with colds and respiratory problems should take extra care in using a sling, including consulting their pediatrician.

Suffocation/asphyxiation can occur when babies are contained entirely within the pouch of a sling with their face, including nose and mouth, pressed against the adult’s body, blocking their breathing. Suffocation can occur within minutes.

Because of the nature of the product and its use, some slings tend to keep an infant in a curled, chin-to-chest position, which can interfere with breathing. When an infant is in the chin-to-chest position, suffocation can occur. Both scenarios are serious concerns to CPSC. Many of the babies who died in slings were twins in separate slings and infants with breathing issues.

CPSC recommends that parents and caregivers:

  • Make sure you can see your baby’s face or eyes in the sling and that your baby can see you. Also, you should place the baby’s face at or above the rim of a sling or wrap so that their face is visible.
  • After nursing your baby, change the baby’s position in the sling, so that the baby’s face is at or above the rim of a sling or wrap and that their face is visible and clear of fabric and the mother’s body. You should be vigilant about frequently checking the baby in a sling.

A new voluntary consensus standard for slings is being worked on by ASTM International. This is a positive step toward providing manufacturers with an effective safety standard.

This warning is not intended to characterize all slings as being dangerous to babies. CPSC has identified (1) specific situations that can pose a risk of serious harm to babies, and (2) simple safety tips that we hope the babywearing community can share with new parents.

Picture showing proper use of a sling. Baby’s face is at or above the rim of a sling  or wrap and is clear of the fabric and obstructions.
Proper use of a sling. Baby’s face is at or above the rim of a sling or wrap and is clear of the fabric and obstructions.




Picture showing improper use of sling. Instead, keep the infant’s head above all fabric and away from the mother’s body. Make sure the infant’s face is not covered by the sling.
Improper use of sling. Instead, keep the infant’s head above all fabric and away
from the mother’s body. Make sure the infant’s face is not covered by the sling.




Picture showing improper use of a sling.  Infant is in a curled position with chin touching chest. Suffocation can occur in this position.

Above and below: Improper use of a sling. Infant is in a curled position with chin touching chest. Suffocation can occur in this position.

Picture showing improper use of a sling.  Infant is in a curled position with chin touching chest. Suffocation can occur in this position.




Picture showing Infants can suffocate in a position where the infant's face is against the mother’s body or the sling’s fabric.
Infants can suffocate in this position against the mother’s body or the sling’s fabric



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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $900 billion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals - contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, go online to: www.saferproducts.gov, call CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain this news release and product safety information at www.cpsc.gov. To join a free e-mail subscription list, please go to https://www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx.

 
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