Welcome to our little space on the net! This blog is just about our family life, and began as a way to keep family and friends updated on what was going on with my pregnancy with our first son, Gage. We've since added Evie to our family, and I continue to blog about family life, car seats, spina bifida, and anything else that catches my attention.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Babywearing under assault

You guys know that there are a few issues near and dear to my heart. Car seats are without a doubt #1, but followed closely by my passion for wearing my babies. Soft carriers, including rings slings like I make, have been shown to provide developmental benefits for baby, not to mention all of the convenience benefits for parents. If you want to know more, you can read what Dr. Sears has to say on the subject here.

Babywearing has been regaining popularity in recent years, although many people still see it as a newfangled fad and don't really understand it. The whole industry suffered a setback a few months ago when a particular kind of carrier, a bag sling, was recalled due to infant deaths. This sling positioned the baby far too low on the parent, allowed baby's chin to be forced to his chest, and covered the mouth and nose with thick, padded fabric. This was ONE TYPE of carrier, but it seems that the message taken away from the recall was slings=death trap.

Now, the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance is alleging that a popular maker of safe slings was told by the Consumer Products Safety Commission to cease all operations and issue a recall of all of their products. This supposedly has happened without any proof of unsafe products, and with a threat to the entire industry, according to BCIA. You can see more info here as well as the BCIA.

There is a campaign to write or call these members of Congress to express your concern about this. I will copy a form letter below the contact info. You are encourage to email and add your own experience with slings or other carriers. If you are in Arkansas, it is especially important that you do this, since Mark Pryor is the chairman of The Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance.

Mark Pryor – Chairman, AR (202) 224-2353

Byron L. Dorgan, ND (202) 224-2551
Barbara Boxer, CA (202) 224-3553
Bill Nelson, FL (202) 224-5274
Claire McCaskill, MO (202) 224-6154
Amy Klobuchar, MN (202) 224-3244
Tom Udall, NM (202) 224-5941
Roger Wicker – Ranking Member, MS (202) 224-6253
Olympia J. Snowe, ME (202) 224-5344
Jim DeMint, SC (202) 224-6121
John Thune, SD (202) 224-2321
Johnny Isakson, GA (202) 224-3643
David Vitter, LA (202) 224-4623

Bobby L. Rush, IL, Chairman 202-225-4372; 773-224-6500

Jan Schakowsky, IL, Vice Chair 202-225-2111; 773-506-7100
Ed Whitfield, KY, Ranking Member 202-225-3115; 270-885-8079
John P. Sarbanes, MD 202-225-4016; 410-832-8890
George Radanovich, CA 202-225-4540; 559-449-2490
Betty Sutton, OH 202-225-2266; 330-865-8450
Cliff Stearns, FL 202-225-5744; 352-351-8777
Frank Pallone, Jr., NJ 202-225-4671; 732-571-1140
Joseph R. Pitts, PA 202-225-2411; 717-303-0667
Bart Gordon, TN 202-225-4231; 615-896-1986
Mary Bono Mack, CA 202-225-5330; 760-320-1076
Bart Stupak, MI 202-225-4735; 231-348-0657
Lee Terry, NE 202-225-4155; 402-397-9944
Gene Green, TX 202-225-1688; 281-999-5879
Sue Wilkins Myrick, NC 202-225-1976; 704-362-1060
Charles A. Gonzalez, TX 202-225-3236; 210-472-6195
Tim Murphy, PA 202-225-2301; 412-344-5583
Anthony D. Weiner, NY 202-225-6616; 718-520-9001
Phil Gingrey, GA 202-225-2931; 770-429-1776
Jim Matheson, UT 202-225-3011; 801-486-1236
Steve Scalise, LA 202-225-3015; 504-837-1259
G. K. Butterfield, NC 202-225-3101; 252-237-9816
Robert E. Latta, OH 202-225-6405; 419-668-0206
John Barrow, GA 202-225-2823; 912-354-7282
Joe Barton, TX 202-225-2002; 817-543-1000

Dear _______,

I am writing as a concerned parent about the broad and overzealous scope of many of the recent CPSC recalls. In particular, I’ve learned that the CPSC is threatening a unilateral recall action against a reputable brand of baby sling.

I am appealing to you, as a member of the The Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance.
Today, I am asking that:
1) all baby sling recall actions be stopped immediately;
2) the ASTM sling carrier standard should be voted on so that sling carriers may be tested for this safety standard;
3) the CPSC be forced to follow their own internal procedures of due course, rather than using scare tactics and bullying to intimidate reputable, responsible companies.

I am aware that this particular product was in use at the time of death of an infant in one case in 2005. This incident was fully investigated by the CPSC and the company was told, in 2007, that the product was not at fault. In early 2010, this case was reopened despite no new evidence. The company was bullied into closure by the CPSC. No testing or report showing evidence of a defect has been made available to the company. The CPSC is now using the fact that the company is closed to issue the unilateral recall, despite lacking the science and statistics that would be the norm for this agency. At this time, there are indications of many more baby carrier recalls to come, including CPSC language that indicates that they are considering action against this "entire class of product".

Recalling this particular product, and potentially this "entire class of product", will have a decidedly negative impact on parents all over the United States. Babywearing is a practice that has proven health benefits for both babies and their caregivers, and is an essential part of parenting for millions of people across the country and worldwide. The CPSC is attempting to drastically limit a personal parenting choice through this unnecessary recall. Please consider the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance’s Position Paper (http://babycarrierindustryalliance.m...hite_paper.pdf) as scientific evidence of both the necessity and the safety of baby carriers.

There is a strong network of babywearing safety advocates and volunteer groups throughout the nation whose mission is to teach caregivers how to use their baby carriers safely and effectively. Baby carriers are absolutely safe; perhaps even safer than many other baby care devices such as swings and car seats. Additionally, ASTM International is set to vote on a voluntary standard for sling carriers this very week. This standard is the result of 3 years of hard work by consumer advocates, manufacturers, and members of the CPSC's own staff.

The recent light shown on the tactics taken by the CPSC is shocking. Bullying small family-owned business to get the outcome they desire should not be how the US Government does business. I ask you to stop this recall, look into the actions of the CPSC, and consider allowing the voluntary standards process to be completed. I hope we can count on you.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best, __________________


MaeMae said...

Hi sweet Jess,

I sent my state senators and your Chairman Pryor my thoughts as well.
I knew a baby in Guatemala that would have died had not his adoptive mother "wear" him for 6 weeks. They are indeed trying to throw out the baby with the baby sling bath water. Big government versus a mother's love - I'll take the mom every time.....love you

Jamie said...

I am right there with you! I read the information earlier and just can't believe it. Only in America. I'm sure the stroller companies are pushing it (eye roll). I don't see them recalling wraps in Africa or places like that. I mean, God forbid we have our babies close to us, right!?!?!? AH!

TheCzarsOf45 said...

Ingrid and I wore our son, Bjorn for quite some time. Necessary for us being wheelchair users (yes, we are a SB family, all 4 of us have SB). Wearing baby is good for baby.