This week, the ASTM International juvenile product subcommittee continued its work on drafting a safety standard for baby slings, wraps and other carriers that don't fall into the soft infant carrier standard. The group is considering performance requirements and tests that will address the hazards of falls and positional asphyxiation and suffocation.
This follows on the heels of CPSC issuing a warning about baby slings after 14 deaths from suffocation or positional asphyxiation. Many sling and wrap manufacturers and retailers have added additional safety information on their sites as well.
While the warning was generally aimed at the many types of slings or wraps that allow a cradle hold where the baby might be put into a position that obstructs their airways; one product was involved in at least three of the deaths. KID recommends parents not use bag style slings and calls on CPSC and the manufacturer to recall the Infantino Sling Rider. Similar products should also be evaluated for possible recall.
Many slings allow an upright carry position that leaves the child's head free and uncovered, limiting the possibility for suffocation. CPSC recommends that a baby's head always be visible and uncovered -- some manufacturers suggest you should always be able to kiss your baby -- a way to make sure the head is raised and visible. Without a standard in place, slings can still present a risk of falls. The fall injuries reported to CPSC are very serious -- fractured skulls; closed head injuries and broken bones.