Are Hand-Me-Down Baby Carriers Safe?

A hallmark of a well-made carrier is that someone loves it enough to pass it along! On the other hand, no one wants Aunt Nancy’s sketchy patched carrier from the 70s. Even if a used carrier is your own, baby gear can sometimes wear out from child to child. This doesn’t mean it wasn’t well-made or well-taken-care-of, but fabric wears out over time, and things like how often you carried your child and the level of minerals in your wash water can affect how your baby carrier holds up from baby to baby. 
What can you do to make sure your second-hand baby carrier is safe?

—How was it washed? If your regular clothes tend to wear out more quickly, due to hard water or a more “energetic” washing machine, you might see the same issue with your baby carrier. Using fabric softener can coat the carrier and make it more slippery—especially problematic for wraps and ring slings.

—Examine the fabric. Open up the carrier and look at it inch by inch. Do you see signs of wear like holes, shifted threads (future holes), or ripped seams? Does the fabric look worn out or see-through?

—Use Google. Look at the tags to determine the brand and model of the carrier and Google to check for any recalls or safety issues. You may need to look for a model number or description to verify.

—Find directions. Sometimes the obvious way to use a baby carrier is the wrong way! Always search online for manufacturer directions to make sure you’re keeping your baby safe.

—Reach out to the manufacturer. When in doubt, reach out to the manufacturer with any questions!

If your well-loved baby carrier isn’t in a good condition to hold your baby, don’t fret. Many manufacturers have discontinued or returned carriers highly discounted on their website. Getting new for the price of used? Now that’s win-win!

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Becky Patouhas, social media specialist, has been a babywearing educator since 2013. Her favorite part of her job is a tie between seeing all the cute baby pictures and helping parents get that “I can’t believe I can hold my baby AND eat!” moment. A first-generation American and mom of two small boys, she and her family live in Michigan, where she enjoys volunteering with her local babywearing group. Becky loves her Zypora meh dais (she has two!) because they’re so cushy on her shoulders. She always has a Lightly Padded ring sling in her purse because she loves the soft padding, and she thinks Isle of Skye is the best colorway out there!

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