The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning about infant slings today. The agency noted that babies under the age of four months do not have have much neck control, so they may suffocate from while in the sling. The sling-style carriers are popular, because they allow the babies to be close to the parents' chest and are not as bulky as other structured carriers—some parents even brag about not putting their babies in "conventional" strollers.

Here's the warning:

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is advising parents and caregivers to be cautious when using infant slings for babies younger than four months of age. In researching incident reports from the past 20 years, CPSC identified and is investigating at least 14 deaths associated with sling-style infant carriers, including three in 2009. Twelve of the deaths involved babies younger than four months of age.

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.

Many of the babies who died in slings were either a low birth weight twin, were born prematurely, or had breathing issues such as a cold. Therefore, CPSC urges parents of preemies, twins, babies in fragile health and those with low weight to use extra care and consult their pediatricians about using slings.

Consumer Reports, which had concerns about slings amid injuries, offered its take on its blog, "The CPSC gives some very sound advice for addressing suffocation risks. We think they should develop additional advice to help reduce the risk of babies falling out of slings—another hazard scenario not addressed in the CPSC warning notice."


Last year, MacLaren issued a recall for its finger-amputating strollers.