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Government eyes warning for baby slings

A baby sling is displayed in Washington, Wednesday,

A baby sling is displayed in Washington, Wednesday, March 3, 2010. The U.S. government is preparing a safety warning about baby slings _ those popular and fashionable infant carriers that parents can sling around their chests to carry their baby. The concern is that infants can suffocate, and a few have. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) Photo Credit: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

WASHINGTON - The government is preparing a safety warning about baby slings, those popular and fashionable infant carriers that parents strap around their chests to give the little ones a cuddle on the move.

The concern: Infants can suffocate, and at least a few have.

The head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Inez Tenenbaum, said yesterday that her agency is getting ready to issue a general warning to the public, likely to go out this week, about the slings.

"We know of too many deaths in these slings and we now know the hazard scenarios for very small babies," she said. Tenenbaum spoke at a meeting of the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, an industry trade group that certifies certain children's products.

She did not single out any specific baby slings or discuss the number of deaths linked to them. But there have been complaints for a couple years now about some baby carriers.

In 2008, Consumer Reports raised concerns about the soft fabric slings and two dozen serious injuries, mostly when a child fell out of them. A follow-up blog warned about a suffocation risk and linked the slings to at least seven infant deaths.

Use of slings, also known as "babywearing," has become increasingly popular, with colorful and vibrant slings seen on Hollywood moms. - AP

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