An increasing number of new mothers and fathers are finding especially handy baby slings, those cloth wraps that can be used to help carry an infant in a reclined or upright position. The problem is that there weren’t any federally-mandated standard to regulate the safe design and use of those slings – until now.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that the new federally-mandated standard created by ASTM International, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Sling Carriers.
The new standard incorporates some of the most recent voluntary standards, with a slight modification involving label attachments. The new rule slightly modifies the ASTM’s standard by making it necessary to manufacture warning labels in a way where they will be permanent on the garment. The other mandatory standards for the baby carriers/ slings cover:
- The structural integrity to make certain that even after all testing, there isn’t any tearing in the fabric, seam separation or breakage;
- That the slings can carry triple the recommended weight of the manufacturer;
- That the devices will stop the child from falling out when it’s being used normally (i.e., even if the child is wiggly).
The requirements for labeling involve including a picture of a child sitting in the proper position in the sling, a warning about the potential for suffocation risks (and preventative measures), warnings about children falling out and reminders to caregivers to make sure to check any of the buckles, snaps or other hardware to make sure all the parts are intact.
Why is all this so important? The CPSC reports that between the beginning of 2003 and the middle of 2016, there were nearly 160 incidents of child injury involving these baby carriers and slings. Of those, 17 incidents were fatal. Of the non-fatal incidents, 67 reported needing emergency medical care. Ten babies had to be hospitalized.
The slings pose different hazards depending on the child’s age. For example, during the first few months of a baby’s life, it cannot control its neck muscles. So if the child is positioned in a way that blocks the baby’s breathing, the child can suffocate within just a minute or two. It cannot cry to alert its caregiver of a problem. It was reported that six such cases had happened in Britain in recent years and 16 cases between America and Canada.
Parents and caregivers need to make sure that when using these slings, the child’s face – including nose and mouth – are free, uncovered and visible at all times.
For older children, there is the risk of falling out of the sling if it isn’t properly manufactured or adjusted. This is particularly true if the child is antsy or trying to get out.
The new rule will formally go into effect a year after it’s passed, which will be as of January 2018. However, some of these standards were already voluntarily accepted by those in the industry.
Products for children should be constructed and inspected with the utmost care and concern for safety. Too often, they are not. If your child has been injured due to a defective product, our experienced child injury lawyers can help.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
CPSC Approves New Federal Safety Standard for Infant Sling Carriers, Jan. 13, 2017, Consumer Product Safety Commission
More Blog Entries:
Jackson v. Ford – Widow Sues Car Maker for Defective Electronic Power Steering, Jan. 21, 2017, Child Injury Lawyer Blog