This comes from Marlo Poole of Carolina Baby Company, who is kind enough to pass along this important information to HUDSON’S. “I know that all of us are dedicated to the safety and integrity of the products we make, sell and promote,” she says, “and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
With the recent publication of articles about the CPSC government warning on baby slings and the Consumers Union’s concerns about “bag-style” slings, the companies co-sponsoring this release are taking a stand to help educate the public on the differences between safe vs. unsafe baby slings and carriers as detailed below.
The ancient practice of babywearing made its way into western culture in the 1960s and its popularity with American consumers has grown because of its vast benefits. Unfortunately, this has led to the creation of several potentially unsafe baby slings and carriers. Slings and carriers of concern are popularly categorized under the token term “bag-style” slings. In “bag-style” slings, the deep pouch where baby sits puts the baby in a potentially suffocating curved or C-like position. Also, excessive fabric with an elasticized edge may cover baby’s face, inhibiting breathing. Furthermore, the design may cause the baby’s face to turn in toward a caregiver’s body, potentially smothering the baby.
In contrast, shallow pouch-style slings, ring slings, mei tais and wraps hold baby in proper alignment and they fit snuggly by design and instruction. They have been engineered, developed and tested by parents, often the manufacturers themselves with their own children. These carriers are often simple and without gimmicks. Dedicated and concerned manufacturers of these types of safe slings and carriers have sponsored this release.
Because of the popularity and gaining market share of small baby carrier companies, a few years ago the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) was approached by a handful of these companies asking for a standard to be created. These companies were initially alarmed by the creation of some carriers fashioned from materials unsuitable for baby products. Soon after, M’liss Stelzer, a pediatric nurse, conducted an oxygenation study, discovering a potential link between infant deaths and “bag-style” style slings, furthermore prompting the need for a standard as well as further study.
Upon this need the ASTM, the American Society for Testing and Materials, internationally recognized creator of standards for consumer products and test procedures, assembled a subcommittee for Sling Carrier Standards. The ASTM Subcommittee is made up of manufacturers, consumer advocates and government officials from the U.S. and Canada, including members of the CPSC. The subcommittee started writing the standard two years ago. In this time more deaths have occurred, all linked to the “bag-style” sling being reported by Associated Press writer Jennifer Kerr. This has alerted the CPSC to take necessary action and issue this warning.
In well-designed products, babywearing is not only safe, but is actually very beneficial when done properly. Studies have shown that quality baby slings and carriers have been shown to save lives, improve health, decrease crying, increase IQ plus facilitate breastfeeding and bonding. For examples of these cases and further reading see Increased Carrying Reduces Infant Crying: A Randomized Controlled Trial, an article written by Urs A. Hunziker MD and Ronald G. Barr MDCM, FRCP(C), Saving My Baby, a blog post written on Fierce Mama’s Blog by Sarah Kaganovsky and Dr. Maria Blois‘ book, Babywearing.
Studies have also shown that “worn” babies are happier and spend more time in the quiet alert phase. In this phase they benefit more than their “non-worn” peers in language development and knowledge acquisition. Babywearing also helps babies sleep better, and physical needs, including breastfeeding, are met more quickly by a close, responsive parent. Millions of babies over time have been worn to their benefit making baby slings and carriers more of a necessity than the often-publicized fashion accessory, according to La Leche League International.
The vast benefits of babywearing should not be disregarded with the report of incidents from “bag-style” slings. The sponsors of this release make safer baby slings and carriers and have been active in the standard writing process and are dedicated to safety through engineering. “We see this as an opportunity to reach out and educate American consumers. We hope to provide valuable information allowing parents and caregivers to not only make informed buying decisions, but also to increase the awareness of how to properly wear children, especially babies, in baby slings and carriers,” says Kristen DeRocha, ASTM Subcommittee Chair.
This release is sponsored by:
For comments or questions regarding this release please contact:
Kacy Jones, Director of Marketing, Hotslings, Inc.