koalacubslogo  

Ireland's One Stop Baby Sling Shop
 
line decor
  
line decor
 



 


   

 

 


    

Sling Safety

 

 

Introduction to Babycarrier Safety

Babywearing can be completely safe and offers many benefits to both the parents and child.

When choosing any product for your child it is important to consider its safety and the following advice covers the most important aspects of baby carrier safety.

Select a quality carrier

It is essential to purchase a carrier from a reputable supplier who has a specific expertise in babywearing and understands which carriers are best suited to babywearing.

It is possible to purchase carriers that are inherently unsafe. Some carriers are available that do not hold a child in an optimum position and any carriers that support the child in a horizontal position or do not maintain a clear airway should be avoided. Counterfeit carriers are readily available in Ireland at a lower cost than their original counterparts and are often of an inferior quality than the carriers that they intend to copy. It is also possible for them to contain toxic or harmful chemicals which is of particular concern as children like to suck the straps of carriers. If a branded carrier is being sold at a lower price than expected then it is a cause for suspicion. If unsure if a supplier is selling genuine carriers it is best to contact the manufacturer as they maintain a list of approved suppliers and can quickly confirm if their genuine carriers have been supplied.

While some carriers may have passed safety standards it is important to understand that the safety standards are designed to address structural safety and a carrier passing a particular standard alone does not mean that it will be comfortable for the child or parent or that it holds the child in the best position to maximise their development.

Koalacubs Quality Carriers

Koalacubs only supply babywearing products and this allows us to concentrate on maintaining an expertise in babywearing.. We are in our fourth year of supplying quality carriers and have had a significant experience with most of the baby carriers available. We have carefully selected each of the carriers that we stock and only offer high quality carriers that fulfil the following requirements:

1) The carriers are provided by well known manufacturers that are respected in the babywearing community and have been providing baby carries for a long time.

2) The manufactures have demonstrated a genuine interest and commitment to the provision of quality carriers and offer an acceptable level of support to our customers.

3) The carriers are designed to hold your child in the optimum positron to provide them with the support that they need to develop and are capable of providing comfort for the wearer.

4) The carriers have received positive feedback from our customers, most of whom love their new carriers.

5) Before stocking a carrier, we test it to ensure that it meets our high quality standards and we only stock carriers that we are happy using with our own children.

Second hand carriers

While there is a good market for second hand carriers and it is often an opportunity to pick up a bargain it is important to take additional precautions to ensure the that the carrier is fit for purpose:

1) Try to establish where the carrier was purchased and that it is a genuine product
2) Try to establish the history of the carrier and when it was originally purchased. Avoid any carriers with an unknown history and avoid carries that are more than a few years old.
3) Ideally ensure that the person you are buying from is known to you or someone you know.
4) When a carrier arrives, check it very carefully for any defects or safety concerns before using it.

Remember that manufacturers' warranties do not normally apply to second hand carriers.

Checking Your Carrier

Carriers can get damaged. Buckles can get caught in car doors or stood on and stitching can get snagged and unravelled. The damage may not be immediately noticed when it occurs so it is important to regularly check your carrier.

Inspect your carrier carefully before wearing it for the first time and regularly inspect your carrier over its lifetime (ideally before each use). If you notice any damage to buckles or stitching in a critic la location it is important to repair or retire your carrier. Be conscious of your carrier when putting it on and make a habit of checking each buckle as it clicks closed or any noticeable change in the fabric.

All of the carriers that we sell are covered by a one year manufacturer's guarantee. This means that if the carrier fails due to a manufacturing defect within a year of purchase it will be repaired or replaced by the manufacturer. This guarantee does not cover faults due to accidental damage.

Carriers do have a useful lifetime as materials age over time. There is no set recommendation for retiring a carrier and many parents use the same carrier for many years and for several of their children. Getting four years from a carrier would not be unusual but as a carrier becomes older, it is appropriate to increase the frequency of inspection and to take an appropriate view on whether it should be replaced..

Wearing Your Carrier

It is important to use the correct sized carrier for your child and the manufacturers offer recommended age limits for their carriers. Of particular importance is that the child's airways are not obstructed and that their head is supported if they are under 4 months old or have poor head control. When placing a child in a carrier, ensure that they are seated comfortably and that their hands and legs are correctly positioned.

While babywearing, it is important to be conscious of your carrier and your baby. Keep in contact with your child and be aware of any slippage or loosening of the carrier.

The "ticks" rules below offer an essential guide to keeping your child safe while in a carrier.

Carriers are not intended for use during sporting activities and will change your natural balance so care is required particularly when getting used to a new carrier.

 

The ticks rules

Safety Standards Explained

It is not currently mandatory for baby carriers sold in Europe to comply with any particular safety standards and no standards exist for some types of carriers, but many of the larger manufacturers have tested their carriers to emerging safety standards.

EN 13209-2 (soft structured carriers)

The applicable parts of this standard are also used for testing some wraps such as JPMBB wraps.

This standard sets out a testing method for soft structured carriers for children with a weight of more than 3.5kg. This is a mechanical safety test and does not test for optimum child position or comfort. The standard in brief covers the following:

Note that the following provides a good check list for assessing carrier safety even for carriers that are not formally certified:

1) The carrier must not contain any materials that are known to be toxic

2) The carrier must not burn easily

3) It must not be possible for a child to fall through the leg opening of a carrier. This requirement is redundant for some carriers which don't have specifically defined leg openings.

4) The carrier must not have any small detachable parts that could be swallowed.

5) Key components are twisted and stretched with a reasonable force and checked to make sure they return to their original position.

6) Cords and straps should have a maximum length of 220mm (this is presumably to ensure that the is a reduced possibility of the chords wrapping around a child. It is likely that this requirement applies to small thin chords and straps and not the main wide carrier components. (While this is not explicitly stated it seems obvious as many of the carriers that have passed the test have main straps that are longer than 220mm).

7) Children under 4 months of age should have their head reasonably supported. The exact definition of head support is not laid out and a reasonable view must be taken on whether the head is adequately supported.

8) The carrier must be adjustable down to a width of 40cm

9) The carrier straps must not slip by more then 20mm after 90 cycles.

10) Fillings must not be easily removable from the carrier.

11) Packaging must be reasonably safe

12) The carrier must be marked with the weight intended and the date of manufacturer

13) The carrier must contain warnings that it it is not suitable for sporting activities

14) The carrier is weighted for approximately 50,000 cycles with its expected usage weight.

The description above is a brief summary of the key requirements of the standard and is not intended as a substitute for reading the full standard which is readily available.

 

Buckles and ties

Buckles

A key component in the safety of a buckle carrier are the plastic buckles used to secure the carrier. If a buckle becomes undone while wearing a carrier then the carrier becomes loose. It is important that buckles are kept in good condition.

When putting on a carrier it is prudent to check that each buckle is secure by giving a light tug on the buckle once it has been clicked into place. Buckles are susceptible to damage if caught in a car door or if stood on and the damage caused may not be immediately obvious so it is important to take care of your carrier.

From our experience less than 0.1% of buckles become damaged during the normal life of a carrier and it is important not to continue wearing a carrier with a damaged buckle.

Some buckles contain buckle locks that help secure the buckles in place. These locks don't completely prevent a buckle from being accidentally opened but do notably reduce the probability of it occurring.

Locking buckles can be found on the following buckle carriers:

Kibi
Beco

In addition to checking the buckle it is important that buckle straps are correctly threaded. There should be no slippage of straps when the buckle is loaded if the buckle is correctly threaded.

Tie on carriers

Tie on carriers and wraps remove the potential of buckle damage but it is important that knots are correctly tied and that the wearer remains conscious of any slippage if a knot works loose.

A double knot should always be used and a flat reef knot is the recommended knot type for carrier tying.

 

Fabric and stitching

All stitching and particularly the stitching of straps to a carrier should be secure and should ideally contain a double row of stitches.

Stitches can get snagged and it is important to retire a carrier if stitching damage is noticed.