The CPSC announced this morning that Infantino has agreed to recall over one million Sling Rider baby slings. There were three reported infant deaths in 2009 while using these slings, prompting this recall and the CPSC’s guidance for safe use in the last couple of weeks.
I posted an article on my blog several days ago about the dangers of improperly using baby slings, but this recall poses the question; why Infantino and not other baby sling manufacturers? I am taking a stab at the answer, which I might add is not supported by any lab testing or facts. However, I have worked in a safety laboratory and have some experience in soft infant carrier safety.
The glaring difference between the Sling Rider and other baby slings is their depth. As you may have noticed in the CPSC recommendations for safe use, they suggest that parents always keep their baby’s head and face exposed while in use. This prevents the baby’s face from being pushed against the fabric wall of the carrier or against the parents body. Also, if the baby is positioned so their chin is angled towards their chest, this can close the baby’s airway and also lead to suffocation.
Infantino’s slings appear to be too deep as compared to many of the baby slings available in the market. There also is no way to adjust the fabric compartment, so that your baby is better positioned, like many of the slings that employ rings for adjustment. The only adjustable component on the Infantino sling is the parent strap, which doesn’t appear to aid in significantly adjusting the position of the child. It appears to simply adjust the length of the strap.
This actually isn’t the first recall that Infantino has had with the Sling Rider baby slings. In 2007, they recalled approximately 100,000 Sling Riders because the plastic slider was breaking, causing children to fall out of the carrier, with one reported skull fracture. They have had 8 recalls over the past 5 years, including the recall announced today with five of those recalls due to choking hazards. Although this seems like a lot of recalls and it certainly is, Infantino makes products for infants which requires the greatest sense of safety of any children’s products category, for obvious reasons.
I might add that Infantino has sold millions of units in the US over the years, ranging from rattles & teethers to play mats and shopping cart covers. They are a well-respected company in the juvenile products and toy industries. Their baby carriers have historically been front infant carriers, like the one shown here. However, over the past few years, it appears that they jumped on the bandwagon with baby slings. I don’t anticipate Infantino re-entering the baby sling market in the future.
As a reminder, here is the safety warning from the CPSC for the safe use of baby slings issued a couple of weeks ago.