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Safety recall affects 1 million Infantino baby slings

WASHINGTON - More than 1 million baby slings made by Infantino were recalled yesterday after claims linking them to three infant deaths.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said babies could suffocate in the soft fabric slings. The agency urged parents to immediately stop using the slings for babies younger than 4 months.

The recall involves 1 million Infantino "SlingRider" and "Wendy Bellissimo" slings in the United States and 15,000 in Canada.

Infantino president Jack Vresics said the company has been working closely with the commission on its sling concerns.

"Our top priority is the safety of infants whose parents and caregivers use our products," he said in a statement.

He said the company would offer a free replacement baby carrier, activity gym or shopping cart cover to any affected consumer.

The recalled slings were sold from 2003 through 2010 at several retailers, including Target, Babies R Us and Burlington Coat Factory.

Consumers can call Infantino at 866-860-1361 to receive a free replacement product.

The slings wrap around the chest so on-the-go parents can carry their babies or just stay close as they bond with their infants.

Earlier this month, the commission issued a broad warning about sling-style baby carriers, saying they pose a potential suffocation risk to infants, especially babies younger than 4 months. Babies who had a low birth weight, were born prematurely or had breathing problems such as colds were also at risk.

At the time, the commission did not single out a specific type of sling or manufacturer. It said it had identified or was investigating at least 14 deaths in the past 20 years associated with baby slings.

In Wednesday's announcement, the commission said three of the deaths occurred last year and were linked to Infantino slings. It did not say how the babies died.

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