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Infantino baby slings recalled in US and Canada

Infantino's SlingRider infant carrier (image: Infantino website)
Owners of SlingRiders were asked to stop using them immediately

More than 1m baby slings made by Californian company Infantino are being recalled in the US and Canada after reports of three deaths involving them.

US and Canadian consumer watchdogs announced the recall along with Infantino of two infant carriers, the SlingRider and Wendy Bellissimo.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission said it was aware of three deaths in slings reported last year.

A free voluntary replacement programme has been announced.

One million infant slings were being recalled in the US and 15,000 in Canada, the US CPSC said in its statement.

"CPSC advises consumers to immediately stop using these slings for infants younger than four months of age due to a risk of suffocation and contact Infantino for a free replacement product," it said.

The CPSC was, it added, "aware of three reports of deaths that occurred in these slings in 2009". It said these involved an infant of seven weeks in Philadelphia, an infant of six days in Salem and an infant of three months in Cincinnati.

'Close co-operation'

In a statement on his company's website, Infantino president Jack Vresics said the recall was being announced to "address concerns raised" by the CPSC.

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
US Consumer Product Safety Commission
warning issued on 12 March

"Our top priority is the safety of infants whose parents and caregivers use our products," he said.

Mr Vresics said the San Diego-based company would co-operate "closely with CPSC as it continues its investigation of all baby slings".

It would offer, he added, a free replacement baby carrier, activity gym or shopping cart cover to any affected consumer.

Earlier in March, the CPSC issued a broad warning about sling-style baby carriers, saying they posed a potential suffocation risk to infants, especially babies under four months.

It did not single out a specific type of sling or manufacturer.

"In the first few months of life, babies cannot control their heads because of weak neck muscles," that warning said.

"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."

Babies who had a low birth weight, were born prematurely or had breathing problems such as colds were also at risk, the US watchdog noted.

In the earlier warning, it said it had identified or was investigating at least 14 deaths in the last 20 years associated with baby slings.



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