Baby Slings Recalled Following Infant Death

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with Sprout Stuff, of Austin, Texas, just announced a recall of about 40 <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/product_liability">Sprout Stuff infant ring slings. The CPSC is advising consumers to immediately stop using these slings due to a risk of suffocation to infants and is also strongly advising against attempting to fix these carriers.

CPSC and Sprout Stuff are aware of one report of a death of a 10-day-old boy in the recalled sling in Round Rock, Texas in 2007.

The Sprout Stuff infant ring sling is fabric/natural muslin and comes with or without a shoulder pad. The sling is worn by parents and caregivers to carry a child up to two years of age. “Sprout Stuff” is printed on the back side of the tail’s hem. Sprout Stuff sold the recalled infant slings, which were made in the United States, directly to consumers between October 2006 and May 2007 for between $35 and $45. Sprout Stuff is directly contacting known purchasers of the recalled infant slings.

Sprout Stuff should be contacted for information on how to return the sling for a full refund and can be reached toll-free at (877) 319-3103 any time; by email at sproutstuffrefunds@gmail.com; or by U.S. Mail at Sprout Stuff Refunds, P.O. Box 612, Buda, Texas 78610.

The CPSC also announced that on March 12, 2010, it issued a warning, which can be accessed at: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10165.html. In this warning, the agency discussed sling carriers for babies, saying that slings can pose two different types of suffocation hazards to babies. In the first few months of life, babies cannot control their heads because of weak neck muscles. The sling’s fabric can press against an infant’s nose and mouth, blocking the baby’s breathing and rapidly suffocating a baby within a minute or two. Additionally, where a sling keeps the infant in a curled position bending the chin toward the chest, the airways can be restricted, limiting the oxygen supply. The baby will not be able to cry for help and can slowly suffocate.

CPSC has determined that a mandatory standard is needed for infant sling carriers. While a mandatory standard is being developed, CPSC staff is working with ASTM International and concerned companies, such as Infantino, to quickly develop an effective voluntary standard for slings. There currently are no safety standards for infant sling carriers.

In the past, we have report on the dangers connected to baby slings, recently writing about a massive baby sling recall by Infantino that has left many parents and caregivers wondering if such slings are safe. The Infantino slings have been implicated in three infant deaths in 2009: A seven-week-old infant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; a six-day-old infant in Salem, Oregon; and a three-month-old infant in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Some consumer advocates think parents should pass on baby slings. Alan Korn, executive director and general counsel of Safe Kids USA, recently told the Christian Science Monitor that any sling that puts an infant in a curved, chin-on-chest position is not safe. Korn recommended parents and caregivers opt instead for a carrier that keeps the child upright, strapped either to the front or back of the adult. For its part, the CPSC says baby slings can be used safely; however, there are no safety standards for infant sling carriers.

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