2018-01-19T10:00:55+00:00Pritzker Hageman, P.A.
45 S 7th St, #2950
Minneapolis, MN, 55402
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+1.612.338.0202

Law Firm Wins Wrongful Death Settlement from Baby Sling Maker

Attorney Fred Pritzker recently won a settlement for a family whose baby died of positional asphyxia while in a sling. The mother was initially blamed for the death, but Fred and his team presented evidence that the baby sling had forced the infant into a C position, where his head was bent into his chest (called positional asphyxia). This, Fred argued, had prevented the little one from getting enough oxygen, causing death. Brendan Flaherty, another child safety lawyer at our law firm, was also part of the team.

The tragic death of this baby was one of many associated with carrier slings. In early 2017, we were notified of yet another report of a death associated with a sling product. Fred and Brendan are providing parents with free consultations if their little one was killed or seriously injured. Parents can click here or call 1-888-377-8900 (toll free).

One of the questions we are asked is if a baby can file a lawsuit. The answer is no, but a parent can sue on behalf of the child, and the parents also often have a claim for compensation. Any money won for the child is generally put in a trust that can be managed by a parent.

We are child safety advocates.

Reports of over 16 Baby Deaths Associated with Sling Use

There have been over 16 reports of baby deaths associated with baby sling use, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Administration, who contacted us in 2017 regarding another reported death. At least 9 of these deaths were caused by suffocation due to smothering (also known as “suffocation,” or “positional asphyxia”).

Suffocation in a sling can occur when babies are contained entirely within the pouch of a sling:

  1. The highest risk of suffocation occurs when the infant’s face (nose and mouth) is pressed against the mother’s body, blocking the infant’s breathing and rapidly suffocating an infant within a few minutes.
  2. A sling can keep the infant in a curled position (C position), with the chin bent toward the chest (acute neck hyper-flexion). Once babies are in this position, they will likely remain in the position because infant neck muscles are too weak to support the weight of their head. The baby will not be able to cry for help and can suffocate because, in this position, the airways become restricted, limiting or totally cutting off the oxygen supply. When there is an inadequate supply of oxygen to the brain, called oxygen deprivation, there can be a loss of consciousness and death. If the infant does not die, he or she can suffer permanent brain damage.

Eleven of the 16 babies who died were 1-month olds; the remaining five were between 3- and 5-months old.

Permanent Brain Damage and Head Injuries

There has been at least one report of permanent brain damage in an infant who was in the C position in a sling, had breathing difficulties, and experienced oxygen deprivation. There were also reports of fall injuries causing skull fractures and traumatic brain injury. Some of these falls may have involved problems with buckles or other design flaws.

Recall Due to Suffocation Risk

Infantino Recall to Replace SlingRider Baby Slings; Three Infant Deaths Reported

Date Recall Announced: March 24, 2010.

Name of Product: Infantino “SlingRider” and “Wendy Bellissimo” infant slings.

Units: About one million in the United States.

Manufacturer: Infantino LLC, of San Diego, Calif.

Hazard: Slings can pose two different types of suffocation hazards to babies. In the first few months of life, babies cannot control their heads because of weak neck muscles. The sling’s fabric can press against an infant’s nose and mouth, blocking the baby’s breathing and rapidly suffocating an infant within a minute or two. Additionally, where a sling keeps the infant in a curled position bending the chin toward the chest, the airways can be restricted, limiting the oxygen supply. The baby will not be able to cry for help and can slowly suffocate.

Incidents/Injuries: CPSC is aware of three reports of deaths that occurred in these slings in 2009; a 7-week-old infant in Philadelphia, Pa.; a 6-day-old infant in Salem, Ore.; and a 3-month-old infant in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Description: The Infantino “SlingRider”, is a soft fabric baby carrier with a padded shoulder strap that is worn by parents and caregivers to carry an infant weighing up to 20 lbs. “Infantino” is printed on the plastic slider located on the strap. “Infantino,” “SlingRider” and the item number are printed on the instruction/warning label inside the infant sling carrier. “Wendy Bellissimo” branded sling carriers were sold exclusively at Babies “R” Us and have a sewn-in label on the inside of the sling strap that says in part “Wendy Bellissimo Media, Inc.” and lists Item numbers 3937500H7 and 3937501H7.

Sold at: Infantino LLC sold the slings in the United States and Canada from January 2003 through March 2010 at Walmart, Burlington Coat Factory, Target, Babies “R” Us, BJ’s Wholesale, various children’s stores and other retailers nationwide, and on the Web at Amazon.com, for between $25 and $30.

Manufactured in: The product was manufactured in China and Thailand.

CPSC advises consumers to immediately stop using these slings for infants younger than four months of age due to a risk of suffocation and contact Infantino for a free replacement product.

Infant Death Prompts Recall of Ring Slings Made by Sprout Stuff Due to Suffocation Risk

Date Recall Announced: June 2, 2010.

Name of Product: Sprout Stuff infant ring slings.

Units: About 40.

Manufacturer: Sprout Stuff, of Austin, Texas.

Hazard: Slings can pose two different types of suffocation hazards to babies. In the first few months of life, babies cannot control their heads because of weak neck muscles. The sling’s fabric can press against an infant’s nose and mouth, blocking the baby’s breathing and rapidly suffocating an infant within a minute or two. Additionally, where a sling keeps the infant in a curled position bending the chin toward the chest, the airways can be restricted, limiting the oxygen supply. The baby will not be able to cry for help and can slowly suffocate.

Incidents/Injuries: CPSC and Sprout Stuff are aware of one report of a death of a 10-day-old boy in the recalled sling in Round Rock, Texas in 2007.

Description: The Sprout Stuff infant ring sling is fabric/natural muslin and comes with or without a shoulder pad. The sling is worn by parents and caregivers to carry a child up to two years of age. “Sprout Stuff” is printed on the back side of the tail’s hem.

Sold at: Sprout Stuff sold the recalled infant slings directly to consumers between October 2006 and May 2007 for between $35 and $45. Sprout Stuff is directly contacting known purchasers of the recalled infant slings.

Manufactured in: The product was manufactured in the United States.

Recall Due to Risk of Fall Injury

Infantino Recalls Infant Sling Carriers Due to Fall Hazard

Date Recall Announced: March 22, 2007.

Name of Product: SlingRider Infant Carriers

Units: About 100,000

Manufacturer: Infantino LLC, of San Diego, Calif.

Hazard: The plastic slider on the fabric strap can break. This can cause the strap supporting the carrier to release and infants to fall out of the carrier.

Incidents/Injuries: Infantino has received 10 reports of plastic sliders breaking, including eight reports of babies falling out of the carriers. There were four reports of impact injuries where the child was taken to the emergency room. One of these children fractured her skull.

Description: This recall involves the Infantino SlingRider™ carriers with item numbers: 141-210; 151-210; 151-528; and 151-534. The SlingRider™ consists of a fabric carrier with a strap attached that is worn by the user to carry an infant up to 20 pounds. The carriers are sold in black or khaki. “Infantino” is printed on the plastic slider located on the strap. The item number is printed on a label inside the SlingRider.™ Products labeled “Made in Thailand” or “New 2007 Design” are not included in the recall.

Sold at: Target Stores, Babies R Us, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Burlington Coat Factory, and other retailers nationwide, by catalog and online from July 2006 through February 2007 for about $30.

Manufactured in: China

Ellaroo Infant Sling Recall

Date Recall Announced: March 11, 2008.

Name of Product: Ellaroo Ring Sling Baby Carrriers

Units: About 1,200

Manufacturer: Ellaroo LLC, of McKinney, Texas

Hazard: The aluminum rings on the sling carriers can bend or break. This can cause the fabric to slip through the rings and infants to fall out of the carrier.

Incidents/Injuries: Ellaroo has received four reports of the rings bending and two reports of rings breaking. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall includes Ellaroo Ring Sling baby carriers with item numbers 2101 and 2102 printed on the outside of the product box. The Ellaroo Ring Sling has a fabric carrier with two aluminum rings that is worn by the user to carry an infant up to 35 pounds. The carriers are sold in mahogany, mango stone, brasilia and malay color prints. Only sling carriers with lot numbers 03/07 and 07/04 printed on a label, under the size label, inside the Ring Sling are included in the recall.

Sold at: Juvenile product and department stores nationwide and online, including BabiesRUs.com, from June 2007 through February 2008 for about $100.

Manufactured in: India

ZoloWear Sling Recall

Date Recall Announced: August 23, 2005.

Name of Product: ZoloWear Infant Carriers/Slings.

Units: About 165.

Manufacturer: ZoloWear Inc., of Austin, Texas.

Hazard: The stitching that attaches the webbing to the carrier/sling can break, posing a fall hazard to young children.

Incidents/Injuries: ZoloWear has received one report of the webbing coming apart from the sling, but the infant was not in the sling at the time. The company has not received any reports of falls or injuries.

Description: The recalled slings are made of 100-percent cotton fabric or 97 percent cotton/ 3 percent Lycra with two pieces of webbing holding the rings to the fabric. Solid natural color and five prints (Splash, Pink and Black Stripe, Pink and Brown Stripe, Pink Punch and The Hamptons) make up the lots included in the recall. A large white label sewn on the pocket of the slings reads “Zolo.” ZoloWear slings should have three rows of stitching securing the webbing and fabric together. Some of the slings in these lots have short webbing, so only one row of stitching holds the webbing in place.

Sold at: The ZoloWear.com Web site, individual distributors, and five children’s boutiques in California, Hawaii, and Texas sold these slings from May 2005 through August 2005 for between $70 and $90.

Manufactured in: U.S.

Free Consultation with Attorney

Attorney Brendan Flaherty holds his newborn daughter.

If your child has died or suffered brain damage in connection with a sling, please contact Fred Pritzker or another lawyer at our firm: call 1-888-377-8900 (toll-free).

Newborn Injured

Sources

CPSC Proposed Sling Carrier Rule. https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/pdfs/blk_media_SafetyStandardforSlingCarriersProposedRuleJune112014.pdf

Chowdhury, R. (2013). Sling Carriers-Related Deaths, Injuries, and Potential Injuries: January 1, 2003 – October 27, 2013. CPSC Memorandum to Hope Nesteruk, Sling Carriers Project Manager, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Bethesda, MD

CPSC Recalls. https://www.cpsc.gov/recalls/2007/infantino-recalls-infant-sling-carriers-due-to-fall-hazard/.
https://www.cpsc.gov/recalls/2010/infant-death-prompts-recall-of-ring-slings-made-by-sprout-stuff-due-to-suffocation-risk/.
https://www.cpsc.gov/recalls/2007/infantino-recalls-infant-sling-carriers-due-to-fall-hazard/.
http://www.cpsc.gov/en/recalls/2008/ellaroo-recalls-infant-sling-carriers-due-to-fall-hazard/.
https://www.cpsc.gov/recalls/2005/cpsc-zolowear-announce-recall-of-infant-carriersslings/.