As a dad myself, I can assure you baby carriers are extremely convenient. Their versatility allows you to keep your baby close while freeing up your hands to get other jobs around the house done. This is how I used to clean our flat every Saturday.
But do baby carriers expire? Maybe a friend gifted you with what looks like a good quality used carrier. Or you want to buy a used one online, which I actually did. Do you have reservations about using it? What are manufacturers of the products saying? Does the type of baby carrier have a bearing on how soon you can toss a used baby carrier?
I’ve taken the liberty to research on the topic and find out what individual brands have to say.
Do Baby Carriers Expire? Why Does it Matter?
I’ll just come out and say it: baby carriers don’t expire. And this goes for all types of carriers. You’ll find different types on the market, with the most popular being structured carriers, slings and wraps. And whether you’re a buff dad or petite mum, there’s one for you. Simply pick your preferred style.
But if you’re hoping to find an expiration date on the carrier, you might be disappointed. Manufacturers of baby carriers don’t put expiration dates on these products.
What you’re likely to find are guidelines on the duration for which you can use a particular carrier as well as weight, age and height recommendations. This is especially true in the case of structured carriers.
You may have to dig a bit deeper to find all of this information. It could mean contacting the manufacturer or visiting the company’s website (which I’ve gladly done for you).
But while baby carriers don’t necessarily have expiration dates, it doesn’t mean you can use the product indefinitely. Nothing lasts forever, including baby carriers.
Like any other product, time will take its toll. Due to frequent usage and washing, fabric gets torn, stitches start to unravel, padding thins out and straps become loose. The type of wear and tear will depend on the type of carrier. When that happens it’s time to toss the carrier!
Do Baby Bjorn Carriers Expire?
I promised to discuss what the individual manufacturers of baby carriers have to say on the matter. I want to eliminate hearsay as much as possible. So do Baby Bjorn carriers expire?
I’ll answer this question by discussing what the manufacturers have to say about the Baby Bjorn New Baby Carrier One. While they don’t mention an expiry date they suggest using the carrier for up to 3 years. Make sure you stick to the maximum height and weight recommendations which are 3.5 kg and 53 cm respectively.
Do Ergobaby Carriers Expire?
What about Ergobaby carriers? If you look at the Ergobaby Carrier Omni 360, the manufacturer offers a 2-year warranty on the product. They talk about their Ergopromise Lifetime Guarantee. What do they mean by this? They’re referring to the lifetime of the product (not your own lifetime!).
The ErgoPromise Lifetime Guarantee ensures the manufacturer uses high-quality material for their products. But, wear and tear will occur. So, this guarantee factors in the usage of the carrier, how it’s been cared for and if all instructions have been adhered to.
So, no mention of expiry dates either but instead a warranty and recommendations on how to use the baby carrier. Plus, you can use it until your baby weighs 45 lb.
What About Baby Wraps and Baby Slings’ Expiry Dates ?
You may have noticed the products mentioned above fall under structured carriers. But as I mentioned, you’ll find wraps and slings too. They consist of mainly fabric and don’t feature multiple straps and buckles as is the case with structured carriers.
So do they have expiration dates? Let’s discuss.
Do Baby Wraps Expire?
The answer is no. But like soft structured carriers, they’ll wear out eventually over time.
Wraps are mainly stretchy fabric that you wrap around your baby and body for a secure fit. As long as the fabric is still strong and showing no signs of damage then feel free to use it for as long as you want. But always make sure your child is securely and correctly wrapped up. You can get the wrapping instructions from the user manual on how to go about it the right way.
But what do manufacturers have to say?
Do Boba Baby Wrap Carriers Expire?
Let’s take for example the Boba Baby Wrap Carrier, a popular brand among parents because of its soft, stretchy and comfortable fabric. The manufacturer doesn’t have a specific time frame stating how long you can use the product for. But they do stress the fabric must be intact with no tears and you can use it till your child weighs around 35 lb.
Do Baby Slings Expire?
Slings feature a ring where you thread the fabric through to create a pocket for your child to sit in. Most slings come pre-assembled so no fussing about getting the arrangement right! All you need to do is slide your baby inside, adjust and secure accordingly.
Like wraps, they don’t come with an expiry date. Again, make sure there are no signs of wear and tear on the fabric. Ensure the rings are still intact. The rings tend to lose their shape over time.
And what do manufacturers of slings have to say? Take for instance the Baby K’tan Original Carrier, Infant and Child Sling. They don’t explicitly state the duration for which you can use the sling. But they do say you can use their carriers from birth until your child weighs 35 lb.
What Can I Do to Extend the Life of My Baby Carriers?
Are you wondering if there’s anything you can do to extend the life of your baby carrier?
It’s general knowledge that if you want to extend the life of a product, you must handle it with care. And you can never go wrong with reading the manufacturer’s guidelines on how to correctly care, use and store the product.
But based on my research and experience, here are a few things you can do to lengthen the lifespan of your baby carrier to prevent premature wear and tear:
- Wash, clean and dry the carriers based on the manufacturer’s user instructions.
- Avoid leaving it in extremely hot or humid conditions. For example, leaving your carrier in the car isn’t advised. It’ll be exposed to extreme temperature variations resulting in quick deterioration.
- If you pick a structured carrier, invest in teething pads to place on the straps. As your little one grows older, she’ll try to gnaw through anything in sight including the carriers straps while you carry her! Teething pads will protect the straps and your baby’s teeth too.
- In the case of a structured carrier, hang it on a hook and avoid cramping it up with other items. The latter may cause the carrier to lose its shape and ergonomic design. For a baby wrap, you can fold it neatly when not in use.
How Safe Are Baby Carriers?
Baby carriers are extremely convenient. But are they really safe? The last thing you need is for your child to fall out. Baby carriers are considered safe IF you keep the following precautions in mind when using them:
- Start by picking the correct size. One that’s not too small or too big. Small carriers are uncomfortable for both your baby and you. And can even alter hip development or cut off blood circulation in your child’s legs. Too large a carrier and there’s risk of your child falling through the gaps.
- Always make sure your baby can move their face freely. It should never be pressed against your back as this may obstruct breathing.
- Don’t over tighten the baby carrier. It must be tight enough not to leave a gap between your child and your body, but have space that allows you to slide your hand inside.
- Always tie it correctly and securely. This especially applies to wraps that present a bit of a learning curve initially. Have a look at this video on how to go about it the right way.
You may not have an expiry date to guide you on the safety of your baby carrier. But using common sense and following the manufacturer’s guidelines will give you peace of mind your carrier is safe.
Comparing Recommended Usage Time, Care Instructions of Popular Baby Carrier Brands
I’ve included this comparison table highlighting the different products mentioned as stated by the manufacturers.
|Brand||Recommended Usage Time Frame||Recommended Care Instructions|
|Baby Bjorn New Baby Carrier One.||3 year||Warm machine wash at 40 degrees, use non-bleach, don’t tumble dry|
|Ergobaby Carrier Omni 360||Until baby weighs 45 lb (or reaches 48 months)||Mild bleach, Dry carrier on low setting|
|Boba Baby Wrap Carrier||Until baby weighs 35 lb||Machine wash and dry|
|Baby K'tan Original Carrier, Infant and Child Sling||Until baby weighs 35 lb||Machine wash using cold water & tumble dry on a low setting|
And there you have it. All the answers you need to the question; do baby carriers expire? They don’t. But they’ll wear out over time. Some manufacturers will recommend the time frame during which you can use the product.
If there are no usage restrictions, go ahead and use the product for as long as the fabric is intact with no missing stitches or loose buckles. Always observe the weight and height recommendations. Above all, make sure both you and your baby are comfortable and most importantly, safe. Certain baby products are safe to reuse. I reckon baby carriers are one such example!