Every year, some pieces of news breaks out – the kind that tends to change the way we look at things. In the realm of parenting, the latest controversy is lambasting the tried and tested baby sling. I don’t know about you, but this contraption has been so useful to me and countless other parents I know. In spite of the fact that so many people have been using the baby sling for as long as anyone can remember, new “developments” have arisen that question its safety and efficacy.
It seems the CPSC was alerted by Consumer Reports, an independent, nonprofit agency that tests and rates the quality of a wide range of products. Consumer Reports raised valid concerns when they reported thirty-seven infants who were seriously injured in the past eleven years from falling out of slings and seven deaths from suffocation. They specifically cited the Infantino “SlingRider” and the “Wendy Bellissimo” carriers as a major culprit in the suffocation deaths of two infants (largely due to its pouch-like design) and asked the CPSC to issue a recall noting that it had previously been recalled in 2007 for the breaking of shoulder strap adjusters. Such a recall was not included in their March 12th statement; however Consumer Reports insists that “Because of those incidents, and the lack of safety standards, infant slings are on our list of products not to buy for your baby.”1 They do so without considering product design or track record and without assessing the relative risks (in other words comparing the percentage of babies worn in slings to the considerably small percentage of deaths.)
(For your information, CPSC stands for the Consumer Product Safety Commission.)
So anyway, why the sudden attention on baby slings? I just don’t get it! Think about the countless issues regarding car seats, cribs, play pens, and similar other contraptions used regularly for babies. They have been under scrutiny for a long time, and yet they have not really been banned. Why? Because they are necessary and steps have been taken to ensure that children will be safe.
When it comes to baby slings, I think the same approach should be taken. My children have outgrown the sling, and they are just fine. I am sure that many other mothers will agree with me on this. What do you think? Are baby slings safe enough or should they be banned?