The CPSC (US Consumer Product Safety Commission), in cooperation with Sprout Stuff of Austin, Texas; has recalled 40 Sprout Stuff infant ring slings. The CPSC urges consumers to discontinue use of these slings since they pose a risk of suffocation to infants. A 10 day old boy in Texas died due to the use of this sling. Consumers can get a full refund for these slings from the company. They sold for about $35 to $45 from October 2006 to May 2007 and were sold directly from the manufacturer. The company is working to contact all purchasers. This recall follows on the heels of other major recalls for baby sling carriers. The CPSC previously recalled 1,200 Ellaroo Ring Sling baby carriers, 165 ZoloWear Infant Carriers/Slings, and approximately 100,000 Infantino SlingRider infant carriers.
In general, infant baby slings present two suffocation dangers. Since babies cannot control their heads in the first few months of life due to weak musculature, the sling can press against the nose and mouth. This can lead to suffocation within one to two minutes. Also, the sling may rest the baby in a curled position with the chin bending toward the chest. In this scenario, airways are restricted and the baby cannot cry for help while slowly suffocating.
The CPSC has also noted that improper use of even the best sling carriers for infants is dangerous. The US CPSC provides important instructions on proper use. The CPSC “recommends that parents and caregivers make sure the infant’s face is not covered and is visible at all times to the sling’s wearer. If nursing the baby (is) in a sling, change the baby’s position after feeding so the baby’s head is facing up and is clear of the sling and the mother’s body.” Frequent checking of the baby’s position is urged, especially after nursing. “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 to quickly develop an effective voluntary standard for slings. There currently are no safety standards for infant sling carriers.”
Below is a photo of the Sprout Stuff sling that has been recalled and the other diagrams demonstrate proper and improper ways to use a baby sling. The diagrams are provided by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.