On the heels of a warning by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission about the potentially lethal risks of using baby slings, Infantino is recalling more than 1 million Wendy Bellissimo and SlingRider models linked to the deaths of at least three babies.
All three babies died last year, the CPSC said: a 7-week-old in Philadelphia; a 6-day-old in Salem, Ore.; and a 3-month-old in Cincinnati.
The CPSC said 1 million are being recalled in the U.S. and about 15,000 in Canada. The slings have been deemed unsafe for any infant under four months old due to the risk of suffocation and should not be used. Infantino will replace them with another product.
“The CPSC felt it was important two weeks ago to warn all parents about the danger with certain infant slings and show ways to use them safely,” CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson told WalletPop. “Today we have identified one sling in particular that poses a risk of suffocation to babies.”
Wolfson said this will lead the CPSC to establish safety standards for how baby slings should be made. There are currently no standards for slings agreed upon by manufacturers or approved by the government. Slings have been the subject of at least four recalls, including one that followed eight infants falling out. Lately, though, the focus has turned to the risk of suffocation, particularly with very young infants.
The CPSC’s warning on March 12 said the agency is aware of at least 14 deaths in slings over the past two decades — all but two of which involved infants under 4 months old.
Slings are routinely used in Asia and Africa and have become part of something of a movement for “babywearing” or the concept of bonding with infants by having them strapped on to a parent.
The slings, made in China and Thailand, were sold from January 2003 through March 2010 nationwide and in Canada at Walmart, Burlington Coat Factory, Target, Babies “R” Us, BJ’s and a variety of other stores for $25-$30. The Bellisimo model was only sold at Babies “R” Us stores.
Infantino is offering a choice of the following alternative products to replace the slings: Wrap & Tie infant carrier, or a 2 in 1 Shopping Cart Cover, or a 3 in 1 Grow & Play Activity Gym. The company will toss in a rattle as well.
Consumers can contact Infantino at (866) 860-1361 weekdays between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern Time.