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Infant’s death related to baby sling investigation

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

More than a year ago, Anthoinette Medley was walking through a mall in Center City Philadelphia, carrying her infant twin boys in two separate, over-the-shoulder baby slings. She ran into a friend, and lifted her son Nelsir out of his baby carrier to show him off.

When I removed him from the carrier I realized that he not responsive. He was very unresponsive. I freaked, dialed 911, ran down the hall frantically trying to wave anyone down for help.

Medley tried CPR and the paramedics came, but Nelsir died. Medley believes the baby sling suffocated her son.

Medley: That was my initial thought. I didn’t have the evidence to prove it at that time. I didn’t have the evidence to prove it. Unfortunately it took other babies to pass away to prove my theory.

Two more children died in 2009 in carriers made by the company Infantino. The company recalled two types of its baby carriers this week. Earlier this month the Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC, issued a warning about these types of slings, and started an investigation into their safety. Infantino CEO Jack Vresics said in a statement that the company is working to set safety standards for baby slings.

Vresics: We will continue to play a leadership role in the industry and to cooperate closely with the CPSC as it continues its investigation of all baby slings.

The CPSC posted pictures on its website about how to use baby sling properly.

Kathrin Brellochs, the program coordinator for the Maternity Care Coalition in Philadelphia, says her group is spreading the word to parents.

Brellochs: We sent our staff the warning along with those pictures that they issued about how to use them correctly. In general I can say that these particular slings are not as popular with our clients as for example the front carriers are, so I think there’s a big difference in safety when it comes to those different kinds.

Brellochs says the suffocations happened when parents though the babies were napping, and she says parents should make sure babies don’t sleep in the carriers. Mother Anthoinette Medley says she’s preparing to sue Infantino over her son’s death. But in the meantine she’ll continue to share her experience to protect other babies.


  • Sunny says:

    I think those purse slings are not a good product, however, I also can’t help but wonder why she had not checked on her child and what would have happened had she not bumped in to her friend. When would she have noticed her kid was dead? I think this woman’s first mistake was using two of them at once, secondly, get a mental imagine of a woman shpping and going through clothing wracks and carrying bags AND 2 babies while she rumages through items. I guarantee you there was a lot of her moving in odd ways and having to move the slings and the babies shifting in the slings with her doing all of that.

  • Megan says:

    Slings are a great thing. These purse style slings are not. The way they are designed, if the user is using it the way the manufacturer says to the baby’s blood oxygen levels can get too low and in some cases cause death. The product’s design is incredibly faulty and collapsing of the neck isn’t the only problem. Experienced baby wearers know this, unfortunately most parents who use these purse style slings are not experienced (if they were they wouldn’t be using them).

    I’ve had an infant pass out on me. It is incredibly hard to tell the difference between a passed out baby and a sleeping one. The parents probably DID check the baby and thought it was sleeping.

    I normally think that product safety recalls are ridiculous and that it is people being stupid that cause safety issues but IMO this is not one of those instances. These purse slings are faulty on many levels and it’s obvious the manufacturer didn’t put one ounce of thought into the product design.

    There are many great safe ways to wear babies that have been tried and true for millennium. Purse style slings that you get from Walmart don’t fit into that category.

  • Neil says:

    Now there is more responsibility for both parents and baby carrier manufacturers. Although they seem quite innocent, with the reporting of deaths, they actually are not. Sorry about those loses and I hope no more things like this happen in the future.

  • Mimi says:

    So if you decide to sleep with your baby and you roll over on it and the baby suffocates, is it the mattress manufacturers fault? If you are pushing your baby in a stroller and you hit a rock and the stroller falls over…is it the stroller manufacturers fault? Adults need to take responsibility for paying attention to their children and stop putting it on others.

  • Melissa says:

    We’ve been using slings for decades.. women wore them while they worked in the fields and hunted for food. It’s not the product to blame, it’s the user. Some people are not meant to be mothers. If you can’t look down to check on your days old baby while shopping for a new Gucci bag then you have no right having children. She probably would of left the infant in the store if he wasn’t strapped to her neck!

  • Jessica says:

    But not checking the baby for over an hour while they shopped? That’s ridiculous.

    Even if my child was in a stroller, I’d check on my baby constantly to make sure he was okay.

  • Donna says:

    My son and his wife were shopping at Christmas with their 2 month old son in a sling. However, while we were shopping they kept adjusting the baby and checking on him every 10-15 minutes. I was wondering why they did that, but they saw the potential for disaster and used the product wisely.

  • John says:

    It’s always the products fault or someone else is to blame. I’m sorry for their loss but clearly they lacked common sense in taking the baby out shopping at 6 days old as well as not checking on him as they shopped for over an hour?

    • Kelly says:

      John, do you have kids? My daughter absolutely loved her sling. I felt she was comforted by the closeness to her mother, the rhythmic motion of my walking, as if she was in the womb. I am sick to my stomach thinking that my little girl was at risk for death. I carried her in her sling for hours on end, everywhere I went for about 4 months. I thought I was doing what was best for her, creating a bond, rather than keeping her in her stroller or car seat. You trust these companies to make products that are safe for your precious children. Yes John, of course it is absolutely the products fault. A sling is supposed to keep your baby snuggled and close to you–not kill it.

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