No matter how gently you treat your carriers they are made of fabric and are not indestructible. They can tear or fray just like any other fabric item, but with a carrier a tear can be dangerous. The best way to prevent potentially dangerous tears is to regularly inspect and test your carriers for signs of weakness.
Don’t be afraid to tear your carrier while testing- while we’d prefer that they not tear at all, if the carrier is going to tear it’s better for it to happen during testing than during use.
Mei Tais, Buckle Tais and Soft Structured Carriers
Begin by inspecting the stitching where the straps attach. Look for signs of popped stitches or unraveling. Pull on any loose threads to check if they’re part of the stitching or simply something left by the seamstress. Next check the fabric itself for fraying, broken threads and holes/tears. Be especially diligent in checking areas near weight bearing seams, like where the straps meet the body of the carrier.
If the carrier is a Buckle Tai or Soft Structured carrier move on to inspecting the buckles and webbing. Check the buckles for cracks or white areas that might indicate the plastic was damaged at some point, and brittleness from age or over exposure to the sun and heat. Examine the entire length of the webbing for holes and fraying, make sure to move buckles aside and look for damage and wear that may be hiding under them.
If your carrier has passed inspection then it’s time for testing.
To test the shoulder straps firmly grasp both the strap and the top of the carrier body then steadily pull them apart with increasing force. Keep pulling until you’re pulling pretty hard. Look and listen for signs of tearing, but keep pulling regardless. Repeat holding the same strap and the side of the carrier body. Finally, holding the body bunched in one hand and the strap in the other, give a sharp tug (this simulates the sudden stress that bouncing your child in the carrier causes.) Then repeat all steps for the other shoulder strap.
There are two main designs for waist straps- either the waist is one continuous piece, or it’s comprised of two pieces extending from either side of the carrier body. If your carrier has a 2 part waist then follow the directions for shoulder strap testing (minus the sharp tug) on the waist. If your carrier has a single continuous waist then read on.
If your carrier has a padded continuous waist strap you’re going to want to be a bit gentler with your pulling as the goal is not to stress the stitching holding the padding place. Pull outward on the waist strap while hold the waist itself, testing the integrity of the fabric. Then, holding the side of the carrier body, pull the strap down and out (more gently than when you tested the shoulders, but still firmly.)
As a final test, one by one twist each strap and pull firmly out from the carrier body. Re-examine your carrier following the stress test, if it appears to be damaged in any way discontinue use immediately until it can be repaired or replaced.
Before anything else, examine the rings on your sling. They should be suitable for supporting the weight of your precious cargo. Slingrings brand rings are preferable- they’re made out of either a strong but light aluminum or nylon in a variety of colors and have been tested to ensure your child’s safety. Harness rings (such as those sold at a hardware or tack store) are also appropriate, though heavier. Craft rings are not appropriate- they’re not intended to hold weight of any kind and can snap when used for slings. If your sling has craft rings discontinue use immediately until you can get a new sling or replace the rings with Slingrings.
If you are unsure what type of rings you have, check the fabric and ring FAQ at Jan Andea at home.
Begin by inspecting the stitching where the rings are sewn in; there should be at least 2 rows of stitching, with no loose threads, holes, or fraying fabric. Next examine the fabric where the rings sit at the shoulder and where it’s threaded through the rings on the body, again there should be no holes or fraying. Especially look for areas of wear in the pouch area and on the section where the fabric moves through the rings. Grasping the fabric about 12in apart, move along the length of the sling pulling the fabric with increasing strength (see wrap picture). The last thing you want to do is, holding the rings in one hand and the shoulder of the sling in the other, pull firmly apart, increasing your pressure while listening and watching for signs of tearing or popped stitches. Then give one sharp firm tug outward. Re-examine the fabric and stitching after your stress test. If there appears to be any damage to the sling discontinue use immediately until it can be repaired or replaced.
To test your pouch sling, first examine the seam, it should be a French style seam, and there should be no fraying, holes or loose threads. Then, holding the sling bunched in your hands on either side of the seam pull firmly apart, increasing your pressure while listening and watching for signs of tearing or popped stitches. Then give one sharp firm tug outward. Working your way around the pouch, repeat until you’ve worked your way back to the seam. Re-examine the fabric and stitching after your stress test. If there appears to be any damage to the seam or surrounding fabric discontinue use immediately until it can be repaired or replaced.
Your wrap should be one long piece of cloth with hems being the only seams. Going along the length of the
wrap examine it for holes, tears and fraying. Then, beginning at one tail, work your way along the wrap, holding the wrap bunched in your hands with about 12in between them pull firmly apart, increasing your pressure while listening and watching for signs of tearing or popped stitches. Then give one sharp firm tug outward. Repeat until you’ve reached the opposite tail.
Should you happen to have one that is seamed in the middle please follow the instructions for testing a pouch sling to test your wrap.
Posted by: Rachel
Great post, Rachel. Really important information to remember!ReplyDelete
I would recommend testing ring slings along their length, too. I've had one tear as I was pulling the fabric up my LO's back; granted, it was rather worn, but I still didn't expect it. Look for areas of heavier wear.ReplyDelete
Good point Jan, I'll edit that in. Thanks for your expertise as always! :)ReplyDelete