Testing Your Handmade Carrier for Safety

You did it! You sewed a baby carrier.
Now it’s time to test it and ensure that it is safe for use.

I get asked for the “weight rating” of handmade carriers often.
That is such a subjective topic because when we’re sewing handmade carriers, we use different fabrics, threads, machines, hardware and webbing, etc.
All of us are also not on the same skill level. That means that stitch quality and reinforcement are a major factor.
All of those things added together cause a lot of variation, so there is really no way to determine a general “weight rating” for everyone’s handmade carrier.
Lab testing would be required for each of us to officially determine what weights individual carriers are rated for.

The best way to determine if your handmade carrier is safe is to inspect and test it.


There is one piece of misinformation floating around the internet that advises a “tug test” or “V-pulls” to ensure that your newly constructed carrier will hold up to the weight of a child.  Despite that recommendation, do not abruptly wrench on your carrier to test it’s strength or integrity.

According to the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (B.C.I.A.), there are a few ways that you can check the safety of your carrier without compromising it.

First, INSPECT your carrier and it’s connection points and visible seams.

Check for skipped or broken threads, or missing and inadequate stitching.
Another important visual inspection point is the carrier fabric itself.  Sun fading, bleached fabric, and holes are a cause for concern.

Second, TEST your carrier.

Place a heavy weight (the BCIA recommends 50lbs) into the body of your carrier while wearing the carrier to see how it stands up to the weight.  If you hear or feel any threads breaking loose, tearing, or notice a carrier failure, do not use it.

*These are general guidelines for testing handmade carriers as recommended by the BCIA. It is is not meant to be an all-inclusive guide to testing for carrier safety.
You can read more about carrier testing and safety from the BCIA here.