Baby Sling Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed After Newborn Sufficates

An Illinois couple has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Target and Eddie Bauer after their infant daughter suffocated in a baby sling, which allegedly contained a defective and dangerous design. 

The product liability complaint was filed by George G. Gentzel II and Katrena L. Gentzel in Cook County Court in Illinois.

According to allegations raised in the lawsuit, the Eddie Bauer Sling & Hip Carrier allowed their newborn daughter to be smothered against her father’s body without him being aware of it, causing the infant to die four days later. The lawsuit also names Goldbug Inc. and Gold Inc., the manufacturers, as defendants.

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Matilda Blanche Gentzel died in November 2009 after suffering positional asphyxia while in the baby sling, the lawsuit claims. The sling allegedly caused her to be curled up against her father’s body, cutting off her air supply, while also preventing him from seeing that the infant was in distress.

In March 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a warning to parents against the use of such infant slings.

According to the CPSC, at least seven infant suffocation deaths were confirmed to have occurred in baby slings over the last decade. However, the commission noted that a number of other deaths of infants in slings had been classified as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which generally refers to unexplained infant deaths.

In April 2009, Consumer Reports has placed baby slings on its list of products parents should not buy for their babies, saying that the bag-like shape of the slings can lead to the infant’s smothering without the mother being aware of it. At that time, there were only four suffocation deaths known to be connected to the use of the slings.

The Eddie Bauer baby sling lawsuit accuses the defendants of negligence and failure to warn parents of the risks of baby slings for infants younger than four months old and also accuses the companies of failure to provide proper instructions.


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