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One million baby slings are recalled over safety fears

Posted on 5:03 PM by Sameer Shah


More than a million baby slings were recalled yesterday by their manufacturer over fears that they pose a threat of suffocation.

The SlingRider and Wendy Bellissimo slings, made by Infantino, have been implicated in three deaths in the U.S. in the past year.

Last night a spokesman for the company said consumers should stop using the slings 'immediately' and contact the company for a free replacement.

About 10,000 of the suspect slings have been sold in the UK while more than one million have been distributed in the U.S.

Baby slings have become fashionable with celebrities and so-called 'yummy mummies' and have been hailed for apparently helping to cement the bond between mother and child.

They are presented as a natural way to carry a baby, based on the notion that the warmth and closeness to the parent's heartbeat creates a feeling of security - and the parent can keep their hands free.

However, a sling's fabric can press against a baby's nose and mouth, blocking the breathing and causing suffocation within a few minutes. Very young babies have relatively heavy heads and weak neck muscles which leaves them unable to free themselves to breathe properly.

There is also a danger that the baby is cradled in a curved or 'C-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 the ability to breathe.

It is thought the suspect slings were sold in the UK through Halfords and various baby product websites.

The safety alert was issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC). This triggered follow-up action by trading standards officials in the UK.

The CSPC is investigating a number of sling designs and manufacturers after 14 deaths in America over the last 20 years. It was not known last night whether there have been any deaths or problems in the UK.

Infantino president Jack Vresics said yesterday: 'Our top priority is the safety of infants.'

Officials at Infantino's UK office in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, were liaising with local trading standards officials yesterday.

The U.S. has a central product safety body. However, the situation in Britain is more haphazard and left to individual council trading standards bodies. The recall relates to all SlingRider models, which includes a variant called the Wendy Bellissimo.

Infantino has sold 14,000 of the SlingRider baby slings in Europe, including 10,000 to parents in the UK.

An Infantino spokesman said: ' Consumers should stop using the recalled slings immediately and contact us to receive a free replacement product.'

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