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New Safety Standard Proposed for Sling Carriers

Thursday, July 24, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is proposing to establish a mandatory safety standard for sling carriers. The standard being proposed is based on the voluntary standard ASTM F2907-14a (Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Sling Carriers), without change. Comments on this proposal are due no later than Oct. 6.

ASTM F2907-14A defines a sling carrier as a product of fabric or sewn fabric construction that is designed to contain a child in an upright or reclined position while being supported by the caregiver's torso. These products generally are intended for children starting at full-term birth until a weight of about 35 pounds. The designs of infant slings vary but generally range from unstructured hammock-shaped products that suspend from the caregiver's body to long lengths of material or fabric that are wrapped around the caregiver's body.  Infant slings normally are worn with the infant positioned on the front, hip or back of the consumer and with the infant facing toward or away from the consumer. The ability to carry the infant in a reclined position is the primary feature that distinguishes sling carriers from soft infant and toddler carriers.

The CPSC has identified three broad classes of sling carrier products available in the U.S.

- Ring slings are hammock-shaped fabric products in which one runs fabric through two rings to adjust and tighten the sling.

- Pouch slings are similar to ring slings but do not use rings for adjustment. Many pouch slings are sized rather than designed to be adjustable, while others are more structured and use buckles or other fasteners to adjust the size.

- Wrap slings are generally composed of a long length of fabric upwards of six yards long and up to two feet wide. A wrap sling is completely unstructured with no fasteners or other means of structure; instead, the caregiver uses different methods of wrapping the material around the caregiver's body and the child's body to support the child. Wrap-like slings mimic the manner in which a wrap supports the child but use fabric in other manners, such as loops, to reduce the need for caregivers to learn wrapping methods.

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