Improved Safety Measures for Baby Sling Carriers

Children's products liability insurance

CPSC’s efforts in reducing risks of suffocation and falls

I have many clients in the children’s products industry. There are several reasons why this is the most unique category of products in the marketplace, not the least of which is the safety of the consumer. It’s important to understand that it’s not only manufacturers who can be held liable in a product liability lawsuit if a child is injured. Distributers, retailers and everyone else in the supply chain are also at risk.

Children’s products are heavily regulated and closely monitored for safety issues. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently set a new standard for baby sling carriers, which are a very popular product manufactured in a nearly infinite number of designs and distributed in a vast array of outlets.

What’s behind the new standard?

Over the years, a several consumer recalls based on numerous injury-related incidents have shown the dangers to infants when baby slings are used or manufactured incorrectly. According to the CPSC, there were 159 baby sling incidents reported between 2003 and 2016, 17 of which were fatal.

A March 2010 a warning issued by the CPSC highlighted two potential suffocation risks associated with baby slings, both having to do with the positioning of the infant in the sling and the child’s inability to cry for help.

This warning eventually developed into the new standard for baby slings, which will become effective one year following its publication in the Federal Register. The new standard incorporates the ASTM’s Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Sling Carriers, adding one modification: warning labels should be prevented from only being attached to the sling by one side of the label, making them more permanent by being attached along both sides.

What’s in the new standard?


The new standard for sling carriers now includes the following requirements:

  • Loading: Ensure that the sling can hold up to three times the manufacturer’s maximum recommended weight
  • Structural integrity: Ensure, after all testing, that there are no seam separations, fabric tears, breakage, etc.
  • Occupant retention: prevent the child from falling out of the sling during normal use


The standard also requires that baby slings carriers have warning labels and come with instructional literature that include:

  • Pictures showing proper positioning of the child in the sling,
  • A suffocation hazard warning statement and prevention measures
  • Warning statement concerning children falling out of slings
  • Reminder to check all rings, buckles, snaps and other hardware to ensure no parts are compromised or broken.

Source: Erin M. Bosman, Julie Y. Park and Janet Kim. “New CPSC Safety Standard on Baby Slings.”  26 Jan., 2017.
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