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Just like your favorite pair of jeans your carrier will start to show signs of wear over time. While this is normal and to be expected there are things you should look out for. This guide will help you decide if your carrier is nicely worn in or just worn out.

Like most things, fabric has a shelf life and that can be reduced or extended based on how you care for it and how often you use it. Fabric carriers, such as wraps and ring slings, that are only hand washed and hung to dry will likely last longer than a carrier that is machine washed once a week. Similarly, if you wear your baby every day for hours at a time your carriers fabric will show signs of wear faster that the occasional user.

It is always advised that you carefully look over your carrier before each use and if you see obvious signs of damage do not use it. 

Damage that can impair safety includes:  

  • Holes in the fabric larger than a pen tip.
  • Broken or cracked buckles
  • Broken or cracked rings
  • Fraying or cut webbing on buckle carriers
  • Fabric separating at seams
  • Broken stitching on the shoulder area of a ring sling 
  • Areas of fabric that have been worn through or are becoming very thin.

Of course, this is not an all inclusive list but will give you some things to watch for. You should always use your best judgment in regards to your child's safety and never use a carrier if you are not confident in its integrity.

With proper care your carrier can last for years. Here are a few suggestions on prolonging the life of your carrier:

  • Hand wash it in mild liquid detergent
  • Hang to dry
  • Do not keep it stored in very hot or cold areas. Fluctuating temperatures can cause buckles to become frail.
  • If you are storing your carrier for the next baby, keep it stored away from animals (rodents), humidity, direct sunlight and temperature changes.

Sometimes it is just time to retire your carrier and that's ok. There are many ways to preserve the memories that carrier has provided to you and your child. Transform it into a blanket, stuffed toy or something unique.

For more information about Legacy Wraps visit BCIA at http://babycarrierindustryalliance.org/2014/02/legacy-carriers/