If you’re reading this blog, then chances are you use, or are considering using a baby sling to help you parent. If you live in the United States and would like to continue to be able to choose from a wide array of safe and comfortable baby carriers in the future, please be aware that this may not be possible, unless you act now!
Much of the baby sling industry currently exists in a precarious regulatory limbo, which means that your favorite sling manufactures may soon go out of business.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has gone on record warning parents about the use of slings, which has damaged the industry’s reputation and market share.* Although this statement was no doubt issued with the best of intentions, the statement is mistaken and seems to be based on the dangerous duffel bag-style carrier (aka bag slings) that is structurally dissimilar to a standard baby sling. Without a strong and united voice, the industry will continue to deteriorate and could conceivably be regulated out of existence. In the wake of the March 2010 warning, at least two major US manufacturers have ceased operations, and many more will be affected in the US and globally if we do not act.
The Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA) was recently formed in order to respond to and address this major threat to the existence of baby slings in the US. The BCIA is working with industry experts and legal advisors in forming a Position Paper (also called a White Paper) clarifying the essential nature and indisputable public health benefits of baby carriers.
Additionally, the BCIA is working closely with government, manufacturers, and consumer groups through ASTM International in order to finalize, as soon as possible, a standard that is achievable to both small and large manufacturers.
If you have a stake in the baby carrier industry, whether as a manufacturer, retailer, educator, consumer, or a citizen interested in the well-being of infants and families, please support the BCIA both by joining as a friend or business member, by donating and also by spreading the word about the organization and the good work they are doing. Every little bit counts!
- To read the CPSC warning about slings, click here.