It's been reported that a third infant has died from the use of the Infantino Sling Rider. Unfortunately, the Infantino Sling Rider and other "bag" slings are not safe. A blog called Babysosmart, has some very good information on the topic:
For the last 4 years+ I've been teaching what I call a "Benefits of Babywearing" class through several local venues. My goal has always been to open parents eyes to all the amazing physical and emotional health benefits that babywearing gives to a baby. It still blows my mind. Not the idea of babywearing, but the science behind it all. An infant's development is measurably physically improved by babywearing...
But not all baby carriers are equal, and not all of them are safe. I'll admit it: I bring a couple of the "bad carriers" to each class that I teach, to demonstrate the potential problems that can arise from using a "bad carrier." One of these "bad carriers" (and I don't usually say bad, except in regards to this one that I'm about to discuss now) is the Infantino Sling Rider. And it's BAD. I've always referred to it "lovingly" as "the Sling of Death."
My overwhelming concern with this particular style of carrier, what we refer to as a "bag sling" or "bag-style sling", is the awkward and unsafe position into which the baby slips when he is placed inside the carrier. There is no feature to keep the baby's body in good alignment, so the baby usually ends up in what we call the "chin-to-chest" position. I'm a nurse, a pediatric nurse, and just hearing those words said in relation to an infant under three months old is akin to hearing someone say they gave their newborn a razor blade to play with. Wouldn't do it, dumb, a no-brainer, and worse, dangerous. The chin-to-chest position is just that-- the infant's chin drops down to rest on their chest, and their little, teeny, floppy airway is occluded-- folded in half, if you will. The infant airway, or trachea or breathing tube, is pretty unremarkable at this stage, at least in regards to it's ability to maintain itself. It's soft, floppy, and extremely narrow; that's why infants are so grossly affected when they're hit with the common cold, for example. Let me just say it bluntly: an infant can cut off their own ability to breathe if they are placed in the chin-to-chest position.
Others have been voicing their concerns for several years as well. In fact, one third-party group reviewed the Infantino Sling Rider (along with several other styles/brands of carriers) back in the fall of 2006 or 2007, documented their findings, and presented it to the manufacturer in the following February, assuming that eyebrows would be raised, red flags would be waved, and that the offending carrier would be pulled from the market, at least until modifications could be made to make it safe for use. I'm willing to bet that they were more shocked to hear the manufacturer say (and not an actual quote, mind you)-- "Have their been any documented deaths in one of our carriers? Until then, we aren't willing to do anything."
I have pushed people to LEARN how to use their carriers correctly over the years, as even a good carrier can be used incorrectly and potentially be the "cause" of a problem (I say "cause" because it's not actually the carrier that causes the problem, it's the wearer not using it correctly). Three biggest instances of this are: a "bigger baby, let's say a 6- or 8-month old, that's just really pitching a fit, and the parent is trying to force the baby into the carrier, and the baby is thrashing, throwing itself around, a recipe for disaster. A baby carrier is just that, a carrier, not a restraining device. Next example, a parent not tightening the carrier up, wearing it very loose and low, baby hanging out, again, looking for a fall, or the potential for the baby to fall into the chin-to-chest position. I've seen this several times, usually a ring sling, and the parent is attempting to carry the baby in the cradle position, but is not adjusting the sling to support the baby, allowing the baby to just kind of curl up inside the body of the sling. And the third instance, wearing a carrier that is too big for you-- usually it is a pouch, or pouch sling, and the baby is sliding into . . . the chin-to-chest position, and we've already been through those dangers. It is critical to make sure not only that the carrier you are using fits you, but that you are also using it correctly.
My heart goes out to the families of these beautiful babies whose lives were needlessly lost. The data was there, several years ago, and the manufacturer KNEW about the dangers their product posed to babies, they just didn't care. They were busy padding their pockets.
Note: Other similar dangerous "bag style slings": the Boppy "sling", the PreMaxx "sling," the JJ Cole "sling", the bag sling by Serena and Lily, to name a few.Read more here.