What to Avoid When Buying a Baby Carrier

We think that any parent who chooses to carry their baby has made a fantastic, positive decision for themselves and their child, whatever carrier they choose to use.  However, based on our experience, there are some types of carriers that may not be as comfortable, practical, safe or cost effective in the long run as others.

The five main things to avoid when buying a baby carrier are:

  • Carriers which allow baby to slump forwards, tip backwards or sideways
  • Carriers which allow a baby’s airway to be compromised or face to be covered
  • Carriers that are very cheaply made to poor standards of quality and safety. See our page about Unsafe Carriers and Illegal Fakes.
  • Carriers that holds baby’s weight in an unnatural or dangerous position, or away from parent’s centre of gravity
  • Carriers that you find complicated to use or uncomfortable to wear

Other things to consider:

  • Advertised weight ranges generally represent what a carrier has been strength tested to withstand and not necessarily what age child it’s practical or comfortable to carry.
  • Though we do feel that many cheaper carrier models reflect their price in noticabley lower levels of comfort and longevity, the reverse is not always true for those at the more expensive end of the market.
  • The best way to know whether a carrier will meet your needs and be comfortable and easy for you to use is to try one out before buying.

Types of Carrier to Avoid: Bag Style Sling

This carrier type has been withdrawn from sale and can be dangerous to use to carry your baby

Bag Style Slings are usually adjustable slings that have a deep pocket with elastic or cords to tighten the sides, and a strap to go over parents shoulder or across their body.  These are advertised as being suitable for all ages, depending on carrier position. These appear superficially similar to ring slings or pouches in design, but they have a deeper pocket and a more enclosed opening creating a potential suffocation hazard.

We strongly advise that you completely avoid this style of sling as the low-slung shape and deep pocket encourages a curved spine position that can impede a child’s breathing, and the extra fabric can cover a baby’s face causing overheating or suffocation. The lack of adjustability can also make them uncomfortable for the parent to wear.  In the USA this type of sling has been implicated in instances of babies dying through overheating and/or suffocating, and can therefore be very dangerous if safety advice is not followed correctly. Most bag Style Slings have been removed from sale, but you may still find them offered second hand.  For more information and links see this page: Sling Guide: A Warning Against Bag-Style Slings, this page: Is My Sling Safe? and this page: Potential Dangers of Bag Slings

And for essential guidelines on using all baby carriers and slings safely, see the Rules for Safe Babywearing here: http://www.babyslingsafe.com/

Great, safe and easy to use alternatives to a bag style sling include Ring Slings and Pouches

Click here for: What to Look Out For in a Good Baby Carrier

© 2011 South London Sling Library

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