The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was expected to consider whether to propose making a voluntary safety standard for infant slings mandatory during a July 9, 2014, meeting. CPSC staff recommended the action to CPSC commissioners on June 25, and concerns over the costs of third-party testing, particularly for small business owners, were reportedly raised. As proposed, the rule would be based on ASTM F2906-14a, “Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Sling Carriers,” without change.

A sling carrier is defined as “a product of fabric or sewn fabric construction, which is designed to contain a child in an upright or reclined position while being supported by the caregiver’s torso.” Three classes of carriers have been identified: ring slings, pouch slings and wrap slings. According to staff, these types of carriers are often reused for multiple children, and just 47 suppliers to the U.S. market have been identified. CPSC is apparently aware of 122 incidents, including 16 fatalities, involving sling carriers reported between 2003 and 2013. The deaths were reportedly attributed to suffocation. Other injuries include fractures and were attributed to falls from the carrier or from the caregiver slipping, tripping or bending over. See Bloomberg BNA Product Safety & Liability Reporter™, June 25, 2014.