How Safe Are Baby Slings?

This week’s massive <"">recall of baby slings by Infantino has many parents wondering if such slings are safe. The Infantino slings have been implicated in three infant deaths.

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. New born infants lack the strength to turn their head if their nose and mouth become covered by the sling or pressed against the carrier. Moreover, children’s airflow could be restricted if they are put in the sling in such a position that their chin rests on their chest, the Christian Science Monitor said.

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 Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) says baby slings can be used safely. However, there are no safety standards for infant sling carriers. Earlier this the CPSC has determined that a mandatory standard is needed for such slings. While a mandatory standard is being developed, the commission said it is working with ASTM International and concerned companies, such as Infantino, to quickly develop an effective voluntary standard for slings.

The Infantino baby slings recalled this week have been blamed for three deaths that occurred 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. The CPSC has advised consumers to immediately stop using these slings for infants younger than four months of age due to a risk of suffocation. Consumers to contact Infantino for a free replacement product.

The recall involves Infantino “SlingRider” and “Wendy Bellissimo” infant slings. One million of these infant slings are being recalled in the United States and 15,000 are being recalled in Canada. The Infantino “SlingRider,” is a soft fabric baby carrier with a padded shoulder strap that is worn by parents and caregivers to carry an infant weighing up to 20 lbs. “Infantino” is printed on the plastic slider located on the strap. “Infantino,” “SlingRider” and the item number are printed on the instruction/warning label inside the baby sling carrier. “Wendy Bellissimo” branded sling carriers were sold exclusively at Babies “R” Us and have a sewn-in label on the inside of the sling strap that says in part “Wendy Bellissimo Media, Inc.” and lists Item numbers 3937500H7 and 3937501H7.

Infantino LLC sold the slings in the United States and Canada from January 2003 through March 2010 at Walmart, Burlington Coat Factory, Target, Babies “R” Us, BJ’s Wholesale, various baby and children’s stores and other retailers nationwide, and on the Web at, for between $25 and $30.

The CPSC is strongly advising that consumers not attempt to fix the recalled Infantino baby slings. To arrange for a free replacement, consumers can contact Infantino toll-free at (866) 860-1361 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at

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