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Recall: A Million Baby Sling Carriers

March 24, 2010

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said babies could suffocate in the soft fabric slings. The agency urged parents to immediately stop using the slings for infants under 4 months.

The recall involves a million Infantino “SlingRider” and “Wendy Bellissimo” slings sold in the United States and 15,000 in Canada.

The president of Infantino, Jack Vresics, said the company had been working closely with the commission on its sling concerns.

“Our top priority is the safety of infants whose parents and caregivers use our products,” Mr. Vresics said in a statement. He said the company, based in San Diego, would offer a free replacement baby carrier, activity gym or shopping cart cover to any affected consumer.

The slings wrap around the chest and shoulders so parents can carry their babies or just stay close as they bond with their infants.

Earlier this month, the safety commission issued a broad warning about sling-style baby carriers, saying they pose a potential suffocation risk to infants, especially babies under 4 months. Babies who had a low birth weight, or were born prematurely or had breathing problems like colds were also at risk.

At the time, the commission did not single out a specific type of sling or manufacturer. It said it had identified or was investigating at least 14 deaths in the last 20 years associated with baby slings.

In Wednesday’s announcement, the agency said three of the deaths occurred last year and were linked to Infantino slings. It did not say exactly how the babies died.

In its general warning earlier this month, the agency said infants can suffocate in two different ways, It said the sling’s fabric can press against a baby’s nose and mouth, blocking the baby’s breathing and suffocating a baby within a minute or two, The other possibility involves slings where the baby is cradled in a curved or “-like” position, nestling the baby below the mother’s chest or near her belly. That curved position can cause a baby who does not have strong neck control to flop its head forward, chin-to-chest, restricting its ability to breathe.

The Infantino slings being recalled were sold from 2003 through 2010 at several retailers, including Target, Babies R Us and Burlington Coat Factory. Consumers can call Infantino at 866-860-1361 to receive a replacement.