Stop using Amazon to buy slings/carriers.....or if you do 5 things to check first!
This was originally a post in Babywearing Uk a group on facebook however I have gone into more depth and expanded on it here.
Please stop buying on Amazon there are quite literally thousands of carriers/slings on there.
Many of them (like 99%) are less than ideal, some won’t have been tested to any Uk or European standards so might have been made using unsafe dyes or be flammable for example or treated with chemicals. They maybe also be fakes. Ergobaby themselves even have an article on counterfeiting here.
If you buy off Amazon check the brand is a decent one, and it’s not some dodgy knock off shop.
I get it we are time poor, often in a rush trying to get something quickly, Amazon is convenient one cannot deny that. But there are 5 things you can do to ensure if you do use them to make sure you get something you can actually use and be comfy and safe doing so:
Buy from a business who is reputable using Amazon, check its an genuine shop.
Do not go off reviews on that site instead do a quick bit of googling first on the name of carrier/sling
Check what other items the seller is selling
Ask a sling library or consultant if they know the brand and is it any good
If you are in certain groups on Facebook, use the search function to check before posting asking for opinions on it.
In case you didn't realise the Babywearing industry is not regulated AT ALL!
So just because it is being sold doesn't mean it is safe.
Now there are safety tests which companies that make slings/carriers can have their items tested to and this shows a commitment to safety. Best and safest practise includes testing slings/carriers to specific standards such as BS EN 13209-2:2015
So look for this being listed either on the sling/carrier itself or on the listing online
See here for more details re testing https://amtesting.com/products-we-test/slings-baby-carriers/
Does it mean if a sling/carrier isn't tested then it isn't safe to use? Well no, it simply means they haven't paid for a testing company to test it in certain ways. Many small businesses when starting out may not pay for this testing. Slings/carriers that pass safety testing can still be unsafe as it is mostly about how the carrier is used. It is still useful to periodically check your sling/carrier over in places that take load or is under pressure - key areas of stitching for example.
Many new parents also worry about carrying and their infant's hips so might look for slings/carriers that are listed as hip healthy, or might have the logo on it of the international hip dysplasia institute (https://hipdysplasia.org/baby-carriers-other-equipment/). This is a paid for affiliation and whilst the IHDI do check that carriers/slings meet certain requirements, any carrier can be used in a sub-optimal way in terms of safety and hip development, even those on the list. It isn't as simple as the carrier itself but HOW it is being used, how you put it on and adjust will impact the safety and comfort of you and your child.
Which? is a United Kingdom brand name that promotes informed consumer choice in the purchase of goods and services by testing products, highlighting inferior products or services, raising awareness of consumer rights and offering independent advice. They have a great article about carriers bought online. Just some things to consider and think about before buying.
They "put 11 cheap baby carriers and slings bought from Amazon, eBay or Aliexpress through British safety standard tests. Ten had at least one serious failure and nine could be potentially lethal if used to carry a real baby." That's 9 out of 11
Even if a carrier passes safety testing, this doesn't actually look at the instructions so these can be poor, outdated or in some cases quite dangerous showing cradle hold for example (this position carries with it a a significantly higher risk of suffocation and it is known that infants have died as a result of being in this position).
What can you do instead of using the big A?
Please support actual Babywearing businesses - there are many retailers run by consultants, who are trained and insured individuals. so people who actually know stuff about slings/carriers (not John Lewis or other large retailers whose staff are only trained by brands they sell! they are not typically babywearing trained). Ask them what training they have undertaken, as a consultant I will always happily share that with you!
Yes it may cost a little bit more but you are also getting support and help from someone trained and insured and knowledgeable! You can likely also get follow up help and support. If you cannot afford to buy new buying preloved in a good option, buying from a library or consultant for example.
And it may actually save you money in the long run by not buying 2-3 poor carriers.
I have actually set up an Amazon store front to put decent ones in there to help signpost rather than going off dodgy paid for positive reviews…and paid ads etc So do ask for recommendations from consultants I am always happy to share businesses who retail run by actual people we know in our industry.
If everyone buys on Amazon all the time it means we will eventually lose these businesses which help support families and help us run sling libraries or not for profit sessions for example.
Look I know it’s not realistic to not use A at all, even I use it for some things, this is not a judgment at all but just a plea to think about it carefully and consciously not to go in blindly.
Zoe is a trained and insured carrying consultant, based in the Surrey Hills, Supporting you to carry safely, comfortably and confidently. Sharing the science behind carrying, supporting infant development and parents/carers mental and physical health.
For more on the science see other blog posts or instagram.
Zoe is available for consultations both in person and online to help you get carrying and runs workshops for professionals on infant carrying and the science behind it. You can book online.
She writes and speaks on attachment, trauma, adverse childhood experiences and how carrying can be a prevention and intervention.
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