$8 Million Settlement in infant Death Sling Lawsuit

Dangerous product lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that an $8 million settlement was recently reached between a Philadelphia woman and the company she argued was responsible for her infant son’s death. The slings, made by Infantino LLC, have been linked to at least two other infant deaths in 2009 alone.

More than one million SlingRider baby carriers were recalled in March 2010 amid the infant deaths. The plaintiff in this case, Anthoinette Medley, bought the SlingRider in 2008 at Wal-Mart and Kmart for her seven-week-old twin boys. According to her complaint, Medley was carrying the twins in their separate SlingRiders one day when she noticed that one of the boys, Nelsir, was unresponsive.

She immediately took Nelsir to the hospital, where he was ultimately pronounced dead from suffocation. Medley subsequently filed suit against Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Infantino LLC. She claimed that at the time she purchased the slings, in October or November of 2008, all three parties were aware of the risks of infant suffocation but continued to produce and sell the products anyway.

A trial court dismissed the claims against Wal-Mart and Kmart in 2012, however those against Infantino were allowed to proceed. Infantino sold the SlingRider, a soft infant carrier with padded should straps, in the U.S. and Canada between January 2003 and March 2010. The SlingRider, along with a similar product, the “Wendy Bellissimo” sling, were sold at major retailers like Target, Babies R Us, Burlington Coat Factory, and Amazon.com, selling for about $30.

The other infants who suffocated in the SlingRider include a three-month-old in Cincinnati and a six-day-old in Salem, Oregon. In addition to these three, there were at least 14 deaths associated with sling-style infant carriers over the past several years. The woman in Oregon also sued Infantino over her son’s death. She told CBS that she had no idea that she could simply walk into a store and buy a product designed for infants that was unsafe.

The SilngRider recall came in the wake of a nation-wide warning by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), alerting consumers against the use of all sling-style infant carriers. The federal agency launched a large-scale investigation into these types of baby carriers, stating that they can pose two different types of suffocation hazards.

The first is the risk to newborn infants, who cannot yet control their heads and necks because of weak muscles. In this instance, the sling’s fabric can press against or become stuck on the infant’s nose and mouth, causing suffocation within a minute or two. The second type of risk is when babies are in a curled position, bending the chin toward the chest, restricting the airway. This severely limits the oxygen supply and renders the child unable to cry for help, slowly suffocating him or her.

Infantino is based in San Diego, California, and also sells such products as the Wrap & Tie infant carrier and Jittery Pal Rattle. The CPSC notes that many of the infants who died in the SlingRider were of very low weight or had breathing issues (such as the common cold). Thus, the agency urged parents of twins, premature babies, and those in compromised health to use extra care when using slings, or even consult pediatricians before doing so.

The CPSC recommends that parents do not cover children’s faces so they are visible at all times. In 2010 the agency added baby slings to the list of durable infant products that require mandatory standards after dozens of children were seriously injured (suffering skull fractures, etc) while being carried in or falling out of slings.

Product liability lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have decades of experience advocating on behalf of those adversely affected by dangerous and recalled products. If your child was seriously injured or killed by a baby sling, you have several legal avenues available to you to obtain justice for your family’s suffering. Contact a qualified baby sling lawyer as soon as possible for a free legal evaluation.

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