Mays says while he was pleased with the CPSC warning, he was concerned that it did not address another issue: reports of babies slipping out of the slings.
"We recorded 37 injuries associated with children falling out of slings and those injuries associated with that include things like skull fractures, broken arms, serious lacerations, serious bruising," Mays said.
The CPSC, Mays said has been working behind the scenes to get sling makers to develop tough industry-wide safety standards until the government can come up with mandatory rules. In particular, ASTM International, an organization that works with industry and regulators to develop voluntary standards for everything from concrete to cribs, is finalizing sling safety standards.
"The ASTM standard making process is slow and painful," Mays said. "As a member of those committees I can tell you that first hand. However, if you try to go through the rulemaking route at CPSC it takes even longer."
The CPSC offered advice for parents, saying they should "make sure the infant's face is not covered and is visible at all times to the sling's wearer. If nursing the baby in a sling, change the baby's position after feeding so the baby's head is facing up and is clear of the sling and the mother's body. Parents and caregivers should be vigilant about frequently checking their baby in a sling."
The agency also said parents of babies with low birth weight or breathing problems should be extra careful as those two factors were present in some of the deaths involving slings.