Monday, June 29, 2015

Only YOU Can Prevent Carrier Abuse

Our carriers are important tools in our parenting toolbox, but sometimes we forget that they are just cloth and shouldn't be treated as unbreakable.  Today we will learn from the abusive behavior others have accidentally subjected their carriers to in order to learn what to avoid.

Activity Abuse
Once our kids are toddlers, we have to find a way to carry carriers that aren't in use.  Some place them in the cart at the store.  This can result in carriers being accidentally left behind.  So, other parents choose to leave the carrier on their body hanging behind them.  This seems like a good solution, but you must be very cautious that the carrier does not get caught on something.

Soft Structure Carrier strap caught on railing as wearer continues walking
Stories abound of carrier straps caught on door knobs, railings, park benches, playground equipment, and more.  The wearer continues moving and can cause too much pressure on the carrier in a direction it is not designed to handle.
This Kinderpack was hanging behind the wearer when she went down a slide
at the playground.  It tore nearly in half.
When not using the carrier, it is best to either roll it at your waist or put the straps back on your shoulders to keep it from catching on environmental protrusions.  Or plan to bring a tote bag that it can go in when not in use.

Car Doors
Car doors can cause the same damage if a carrier around your waist is caught as you walk away, but the more common car door damage comes when the wearer places the carrier in the car and leaves a strap caught in the door.
Example of a strap left hanging out of a car door

Broken waist strap buckle on a Soft Structure Carrier

Buckles often are broken in car doors. 

Straps can be ruined dragging on the road as you drive.
The strap of this mei tai got wrapped around the wheel and tore completely out
 of the carrier with what the owner described as a terrifying pop
This SSC strap was dragged on the highway and completely destroyed the webbing

Food/Paint/Marker Abuse
The look of a carrier can quickly be destroyed by incautious behavior around foods, paints, or markers.  I've heard stories of carriers in the car that had a crayon thrown on them by a child which then melted all over the carrier in the heat. 

Mysterious blue stain on white carrier
Children and Pets
Children and pets can be very abusive to your carriers.  Cats, dogs, and rabbits to name a few have teeth, claws, and can very quickly destroy your favorite carriers.  It is important to store your carriers up off the floor where dogs cannot reach, or inside a drawer or bin to keep cats and other climbers away.  Velcro can also cause similar damage to cat claws, so be careful around Velcro items.
The guilty furry friend with the mei tai he snacked on behind him

This wrap is torn and has multiple holes thanks to a dog's teeth

The hood of this carrier tore off when the owners 4yr old pulled down on it while in use.
Laundry Disasters
Often people complain that the laundry recommendations for carriers seem excessively challenging.  However, carriers can and do get destroyed by improper washing.  Washing different types of carriers together can lead to buckles or zippers catching on fabric from wraps or slings.  Always wash carrier only with like styles and colors.
This linen wrap developed a large hole as the owner reached to make a seat.
 Linen dislikes hard water and the deposits can abrade the fibers causing tears.
This hemp wrap was exposed to excessive heat in the dryer.  It became brittle and easily tore.
Wool wraps will felt if wash improperly which means the fibers shrink and get fuzzy. 
This will make the wrap unsafe for use.
The agitator in top load washers can damage wraps and mei tais especially.  It is important to use a setting with minimal agitation for carriers.  Bleach can eat away at fabric even after the initial color damage is done.  Colors from multiple color carriers can sometimes run in the wash.  Shout Color Catchers are a good solution to this laundry disaster.
As you can see, there are many things you can do to cause your favorite carrier to be destroyed without meaning to damage it.  It is important to be on the lookout for potentially abusive behavior so that you can prevent damage before it happens.  Because only you can prevent carrier abuse.
Posted by Ann Marie
Thanks to all who provided pictures for this article (especially BWI of Phoenix)

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