Monday, March 22, 2010

CPSC Warning On Slings Misses the Mark

From the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine

New Rochelle, NY, March 19, 2010 — The Consumer Products Safety Commission's warning on baby slings provides vague and misleading information for parents.

The popularity of slings has increased tremendously in recent years, as more and more mothers report that slings facilitate parenting and breastfeeding on demand. "All slings are not created equal," says Arthur Eidelman, MD, vice president of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. "Unfortunately, however, the CPSC issued a blanket warning about all types of sling carriers."

Ring slings, which carry infants in an upright position snug with the parent's chest, protect the infant's airway. By contrast, the illustrations of "unsafe" slings in the CPSC warning appear to be bag or duffle slings. In bag slings, the infant is carried near the parent's hips. In this position, the infant may be curled up and the neck may be bent, making breathing more difficult.

The CPSC's advice on safe baby carrying is also misleading. The agency recommends positioning infants so "the baby's head is facing up and is clear of the sling and the mother's body." "The face out position they say is correct could be risky with a premature infant, because of the baby's unsupported neck," Eidelman says. "A baby whose face is sideways with cheek against the chest, head slightly extended and body and shoulders and yes, face, snug so that the baby can't move, is secured in a safe position."

In the warning, the CPSC reported 14 deaths associated with sling use in the past 20 years, including 3 in 2009. The agency provided no information on the types or brands of sling involved, nor did they account for the rapid increase in sling use among parents in the US. This stands in contrast with the hundreds of recalls of other juvenile products issued by the CPSC that specify the precise brand and model number involved in adverse outcomes.

"Last month, when the CPSC recalled a crib model associated with 3 infant deaths, they did not issue a blanket warning that cribs can be deadly," Eidelman notes. "Parents deserve the same precise, accountable information when it comes to baby-carrying."

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine is a worldwide organization of physicians dedicated to the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding and human lactation through education, research, and advocacy. An independent, self-sustaining, international physician organization and the only organization of its kind, ABM's mission is to unite members of various medical specialties through physician education, expansion of knowledge in breastfeeding science and human lactation, facilitation of optimal breastfeeding practices, and encouragement of the exchange of information among organizations.

Breastfeeding Medicine is the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. It is an authoritative, peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary journal published quarterly. The journal publishes original scientific papers, reviews, and case studies on a broad spectrum of topics in lactation medicine. It presents evidence-based research advances and explores the immediate and long-term outcomes of breastfeeding, including the epidemiologic, physiologic, and psychological benefits of breastfeeding.


Contact: Karla Shepard Rubinger, Executive Director, Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine,
(914) 740-2100, ext. 2153,

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Are Baby Slings a Threat to Your Baby’s Safety?

By Corky Harvey, MS, RN, IBLC & Wendy Haldeman, MN, RN, IBCLC Co-Founders of The Pump Station & Nurtury™ & Jesse Ziberstein, MPA, CLE

Yesterday one of our clients was shopping with her infant tucked up in her sling when she was confronted by a fellow shopper who angrily demanded: “Don’t you know that you are going to suffocate your baby in that thing?” Fortunately, our client was a second-time mom with lots of experience in baby wearing. She was able to calmly respond that she was a master at multi-tasking and was quite confident that she could manage to use her sling and keep her baby alive.

What prompted this verbal attack were the current headlines shrieking that infant slings are the new baby killers. Just mention babies and death in the same sentence and people understandably get very excited. Can slings be harmful to babies? Sadly, yes. However, I would argue that it is the ignorant adult using the sling that is largely the problem.

Mothers have been tying their babies to their bodies with some type of cloth or fur for thousands, perhaps even millions of years. This parenting style disappeared in many industrialized countries. With the resurgence of breastfeeding and the growing popularity of attachment parenting, “baby wearing” has once again become very popular. Manufacturers of infant gear are very aware of trends in the market place and are quick to produce their own version of whatever product parents appear to be purchasing. To date, there are no standards for manufacturing baby slings. The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association has formed a subcommittee to work on these standards.

Slings can be detrimental to infants in several ways. A baby can fall out of a carrier. If carried deeply in a sling with excess fabric, a baby could have difficulty getting enough oxygen. If a baby is positioned low in the sling with the chin forced into the chest, breathing becomes more difficult. It is important to note that many of the babies who died in slings were low birth weight, born prematurely, or had a cold.

All slings are not created equal. The subcommittee working toward industry standards for slings has been concerned about the “bag-style” slings. These carriers typically have a deep pouch and sit low on the parent’s hip or pelvis. An example of such a sling is Infantino’s “SlingRider.” It is important to understand that sling use is safe, when the following criteria are met: 1) the sling must fit the parent; 2) the sling must be appropriate for the infant’s current size and neurological development; and most importantly, 3) THE PARENT MUST KNOW HOW TO CORRECTLY USE THIS DEVICE.

We at The Pump Station & Nurtury™ are strong proponents of sling use or “baby wearing.” Carrying your baby in a sling has numerous advantages to you and your infant. Studies have shown that the benefits include less crying, more time spent in a quiet alert phase, improved sleep, and higher IQ. Sling use can facilitate breastfeeding and bonding.

As education is key to safely carrying an infant in a sling, we offer free sling clinics in all three of our stores several times per week. At our clinics, you will have the opportunity to practice with well-designed products. Our trained staff will ensure that your sling is of proper fit and appropriate for your infant’s developmental stage. You are also welcome to bring any slings you currently own with you.

The well being of babies has always been, and always will be, our number one goal at the Pump Station & Nurtury™. That will never change.

We know that baby wearing is good for babies as well as their parents, and we are committed to continuing to help parents do this safely.

For more info on our Sling Clinics click here. . . .

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

You're not a bad mom if you use polycarbonate plastic.

by Jennifer Taggart, Attorney Specializing in Environmental Litigation & Compliance

You're not a bad mom if you use polycarbonate plastic. It seems that way sometimes, doesn't it? Often, we think that we are bad moms if we use polycarbonate plastic, that our kids wear pajamas containing flame retardants or have vinyl lunch-boxes. Of course, you are not a bad mom if you haven't gone green and non toxic. Or even started.

Trust me, I get it. It is overwhelming. Formaldehyde donors, phthalates, mercury, lead, flame retardants. The toxic alphabet soup of chemicals is paralyzing. Where do you start? How do you start? What the heck are phthalates and why should I care about them? How do you even pronounce that word?

And aren't the products we buy safe? Do I really need to worry? Don't the FDA, CPSC, DOT, EPA and all the other government agencies monitor and test consumer products for safety?

The truth is, however, that for some products, government agencies have no ability or authority to require pre-market testing. Take cosmetics, which includes baby bath products. The FDA has authority over cosmetics, but that authority is limited. As the FDA readily admits on its website, cosmetic manufacturers can use virtually any ingredient in their products without testing for safety, and the FDA does not conduct any premarket testing. The FDA has banned 9 ingredients in cosmetics. In comparison, the EU has banned over 1,100. That's a little scary. Actually, it is a lot scary.

But who has time to do figure out what is safe or not? Especially when you are trying to get the shopping done. Or just make it through the day.

Come and learn how easy it can be. Truly. With just a few simple steps, you can reduce or eliminate toxic chemical exposures. At the “Navigating in a Toxic World: How to Steer Clear of Toxic Baby Toys and More” class, we'll talk about potential exposures and how to reduce them. We will talk about whether you really need to avoid polycarbonate plastic, whether you need to buy organic or not, how you can reduce exposure to lead in the home, and more. We will talk about how you can save money while going green and more.

Trust me - I get it. I've got 2 kids, a husband, 2 dogs, a guinea pig and a job. I know it seems like just one more thing, and something that changes daily. But we will break down the issues together, and talk about easy solutions. You can hug that tree without getting dirty.


Join Jennifer Taggart in The Pump Station & Nurtury’s™ Hot Topic Lecture "Navigating in a Toxic World: How to Steer Clear of Toxic Baby Toys and More"

Hollywood: March 5th and May 28th, 323-469-5300
Santa Monica: June 4th, 310-998-1981