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News.

30 May 2022

Which? safety tests uncover dangerous baby carriers and slings on Amazon, eBay and Aliexpress

Ripped seams, slipping straps and suffocation risks were just some of the hazards found in our tests

We put 11 cheap baby carriers and slings bought from Amazon, eBay or Aliexpress through British safety standard tests. Ten had at least one serious failure and nine could be potentially lethal if used to carry a real baby.

The safety and durability issues we uncovered could cause serious injury to your baby or toddler, and include falling out of a broken carrier, trapping fingers in a tight mesh and even suffocation.

The one product that passed our testing was later found to be a counterfeit version of a popular Ergobaby Omni 360 carrier.

All of the carriers and slings from these online marketplaces cost less than £30, which is extremely cheap considering they typically cost more than £100 at most major retailers.

Find out more about what we discovered in our tests, which carriers and slings to avoid and why you should be careful when buying cheap baby products from online marketplaces.


Head over to our baby carrier and sling reviews to find a product from a well known brand that's passed our tests and you can rely on.


Which baby carriers and slings did not pass our tests? 

The products in the gallery below didn't pass at least one element of either the baby carriers or baby slings safety standard, and the tables underneath show which tests they failed.

Failed baby carriers and slings

A large collection of images displayed on this page are available at https://www.which.co.uk/news/article/which-tests-uncover-dangerous-baby-carriers-online-ajsof3e3jY0b

Avoid these unsafe baby carriers

Name of product
Where it was boughtAttachment systemsDurabilityFalling hazardSuffocation hazardPurchase information, markings and instruction
Newborn baby carrier 2022AliexpressFailFailFailFailFail
Sonarin 2021 baby carrierAmazonFailFailFailFailFail
Tomaibaby baby carrierAmazonFailFail
FailFail
Iulonee baby wrap carrierAmazon

Fail
Fail
Ergonomic adjustable baby carriereBay

Fail
Fail
Ergonomic carrier with hip seateBay



Fail
Aiebao ergonomic hip seat carriereBay

Fail
Fail

All baby carriers were tested to the mechanical requirements section of BS EN 13209-2:2015 baby carriers standard

Don't buy these baby slings and pouches

Name of productWhere it was boughtStructural integrityEntrapment hazards for fingers in meshSuffocation hazardsPurchase information, markings and instruction
Baby wrap newborn sling dual use infant nursing cover carrierAliexpressFailFailFailFail
Cuby sling wrap carrierAmazonFail

Fail
Baby newborn infant sling wrap breastfeeding nursing poucheBayFail

Fail

All baby slings or pouches were tested to the mechanical requirements section of PD CEN/TR 16512:2015 baby slings standard

What were the individual safety issues?

Attachment system failures explained

The buckles and methods of attachment for a baby carrier and sling need to be secure to prevent them from coming loose and your baby slipping out and injuring themselves.

To test this, a carrier is strapped to a mechanical moving torso with a weight in it (depending on the maximum weight limit for the carrier) for 10 cycles of movement. 

The straps are marked to check if they’ve slipped through the buckles during the movement. We repeat this for a further 90 cycles and measure any slippage of the straps. 

These six carriers and slings did not pass the attachment system test because the straps slipped more than 20mm:

  • Tomaibaby baby carrier (Amazon)
  • Sonarin 2021 simple and lightweight baby carrier (Amazon)
  • Newborn baby carriers 2022 (Aliexpress)
  • Cuby sling wrap carrier (Amazon)
  • Baby wrap newborn sling dual use infant nursing cover carrier mesh fabric (Aliexpress)
  • Baby carriers newborn infant sling wrap breastfeeding papoose nursing pouch (eBay)

Durability and structural integrity failures explained

The baby carrier or sling is strapped to a mechanical moving torso with a weight inserted (depending on the maximum weight limit for the carrier) and the torso moved up and down for a total of 50,000 cycles. 

This assesses the durability of the carrier or sling and lab experts check for rips, tears or if any of the buckles or ties have come loose and which could potentially cause your baby to fall out.

In the worst cases, carriers fell apart at the seams and had shoulder straps tear and detach themselves.

These six carriers and slings did not pass the durability and structural integrity test:

  • Tomaibaby baby carrier (Amazon)
  • Sonarin 2021 simple and lightweight baby carrier (Amazon)
  • Newborn baby carriers 2022 (Aliexpress)
  • Cuby sling wrap carrier (Amazon)
  • Baby wrap newborn sling dual use infant nursing cover carrier mesh fabric (Aliexpress)
  • Baby carriers newborn infant sling wrap breastfeeding papoose nursing pouch (eBay)

In the gallery below you can see the carriers and slings that failed this test:

Durability and structural integrity fails

A large collection of images displayed on this page are available at https://www.which.co.uk/news/article/which-tests-uncover-dangerous-baby-carriers-online-ajsof3e3jY0b

Falling hazard failures explained

Baby carriers are checked so that any leg openings are not large enough for your baby to slip through and fall out. 

This is investigated using a special test sphere measuring 120mm in diameter.

These five carriers did not pass the falling hazard test:

  • Sonarin 2021 simple and lightweight baby carrier (Amazon)
  • Iulonee baby wrap carrier (Amazon)
  • Newborn baby carriers 2022 (Aliexpress)
  • New ergonomic strong breathable adjustable infant newborn baby carrier backpack (Aliexpress)
  • Aiebao ergonomic strong breathable adjustable infant new-born hip seat baby carrier (eBay)

Entrapment hazard failures explained

In the slings safety standard, it states that carriers with mesh material should not allow a 7mm finger probe (a specially designed metal probe) to pass through the material with a force of 30 Newtons or less. 

This is checked because if a child can force their finger through the material, it may get caught around the finger, cutting off circulation, which in serious cases could lead to amputation.

This sling did not pass the entrapment hazard test:

  • Baby wrap newborn sling dual use infant nursing cover carrier mesh fabric (Aliexpress) - pictured below.

Suffocation hazard failures explained

In both the baby carriers and the slings standard, there are clauses to prevent the risk of suffocation for both the product and the packaging it comes in. 

Any plastic packaging needs to be a certain thickness or have holes in it to prevent a child suffocating if they put it over their head.

And if a product comes in a bag with a drawstring, then the opening should not be bigger than 360mm, as there’s a risk a child could put the bag over their head, pull the cord and strangle themselves.

These four carriers and slings did not pass the suffocation hazard test:

  • Tomaibaby baby carrier (Amazon)
  • Sonarin 2021 simple and lightweight baby carrier (Amazon)
  • Newborn baby carriers 2022 (Aliexpress)
  • Baby wrap newborn sling dual use infant nursing cover carrier mesh fabric (Aliexpress)

In the gallery below you can see the four products that failed this test:

Baby carrier suffocation hazards

A large collection of images displayed on this page are available at https://www.which.co.uk/news/article/which-tests-uncover-dangerous-baby-carriers-online-ajsof3e3jY0b

Purchase information, markings and instruction failures explained

Carriers and slings must include instructions, warnings and markings to ensure the products are used safely and correctly. 

Many of the carriers and slings we purchased came with no instructions and minimal packaging (often just a plain, transparent plastic bag) without warnings on it.

These ten carriers and slings did not pass the purchase information, markings and instructions test:

  • Tomaibaby baby carrier (Amazon)
  • Sonarin 2021 simple and lightweight baby carrier (Amazon)
  • Iulonee baby wrap carrier (Amazon)
  • Newborn baby carriers 2022 (Aliexpress)
  • New ergonomic strong breathable adjustable infant newborn baby carrier backpack (Aliexpress)
  • Ergonomic infant baby carrier with hip seat stool adjustable wrap sling backpack (eBay)
  • Aiebao ergonomic strong breathable adjustable infant new-born hip seat baby carrier (eBay)
  • Cuby sling wrap carrier (Amazon)
  • Baby wrap newborn sling dual use infant nursing cover carrier mesh fabric (Aliexpress)
  • Baby carriers newborn infant sling wrap breastfeeding papoose nursing pouch (eBay)

In the gallery below are some of the products that failed this test:

Purchase information/markings/instructions failures

A large collection of images displayed on this page are available at https://www.which.co.uk/news/article/which-tests-uncover-dangerous-baby-carriers-online-ajsof3e3jY0b

Which carrier is a counterfeit product?

The only product that passed our safety testing was a carrier listed on Aliexpress as the Ego Baby Carrier Omni Breeze, which we bought for £27.

However after purchasing the product we realised that it was a fake copy of the Ergobaby Omni 360, which normally retails for £165. It's very convincing, with nearly identical name, logo and branding.

We reported our concerns to Ergobaby, who confirmed that it was a counterfeit product and advised us to not use it, and dispose of it.

Cheap carriers and slings provide a dangerous lack of ergonomic support for your baby

Many of the baby carriers and slings sold via online marketplaces are claimed to be suitable for newborns up to the age of three but provide little (if any) ergonomic support for your baby.

In our regular carriers and slings test, ergonomic experts at our test lab check to see whether the carriers hold your baby’s legs in a supportive ‘M’ shape, so their thighs and knees aren’t dangling down. Also whether their back and head are well supported so you won’t need to hold them in place.

But many of the carriers we tested had a very narrow seat base, which would fail to hold your baby’s legs ergonomically. Below is a diagram of how a baby carrier should hold babies of different ages.

If the baby’s thighs are not supported to the knee joint the stress on the hip joints could increase the risk of hip dysplasia in babies prone to this. It is also an uncomfortable position for a baby to be carried in.

Other carriers had no head support, and in the photos on the listings you can see that the person modelling the product is having to hold the baby’s head upright to stop it falling backwards.

Kamisha Darroux, principal scientific advisor at Which? says:

‘We’re really shocked and disappointed about the poor quality of these baby carriers. They’re flimsy and offer very little ergonomic support for your baby.

‘If you’re buying a baby carrier, you should follow the T.I.C.K.S rules for safe baby carrying. This stands for Tight, In view at all times, Close enough to kiss, Keeping chin off the chest, and Supported back.

‘If a baby carrier or sling is unable to do this, for example, it doesn’t hold your baby high or tight enough on your chest, or it holds your baby in a position where their chin is forced down into their chest, then you should avoid using the product.’

We also have concerns about one of the slings we tested - the Papoose Nursing Pouch from eBay - as it’s very similar in design to the Infantino Slingrider pouch. There was a recall of nearly 1 million of these slings in 2010 following the death of three infants from suffocation.

What did the online marketplaces say?

Aliexpress

A spokesperson for Aliexpress told us:

‘AliExpress takes product safety very seriously and we work hard to ensure that consumers are protected on our platform. The items identified as part of Which?'s investigation have been removed. We further identified and swiftly removed a small number of similar product listings. As a third-party marketplace, AliExpress does not take possession of the goods in transactions, we have policies in place that all sellers must comply with, in order to help create a safe shopping environment.’

Amazon

An Amazon spokesperson told us:

‘Safety is extremely important to us. As soon as we were informed about the safety concerns we removed the products from our store and notified the relevant third party sellers. We have systems in place to monitor our stores for product safety concern and if customers have concerns about an item they’ve purchased, we encourage them to contact our Customer Service directly. We will then investigate and take appropriate action.’

eBay

An eBay spokesperson told us:

‘We welcome the information provided to us by Which? and we have removed the relevant listings. Our close working relationships with stakeholders, including Trading Standards and the Office for Product Safety and Standards, are an important part of our global product safety strategy for keeping our platform safe. Our Regulatory Portal enables authorities from around the world to remove listings of unsafe products within two hours.

‘We also have automatic block filters in place, aimed at preventing unsafe listings. These filters blocked 7.4 million listings in 2021 and are updated on a regular basis. On the rare occasion that an unsafe product does make it onto site, we swiftly remove it and provide product safety education to the sellers to prevent relisting.’

What did the online sellers say?

We approached the sellers of the slings and carriers in our test. Many didn't respond, or there was no way of contacting them directly. 

We received the following five responses:

New ergonomic strong breathable adjustable infant newborn baby carrier backpack (orange) - Raajjshop - eBay

A spokesperson from the online shop stated that changes have been made to the product and it’s been retested and passed to all sections of the standard. We’re still investigating this as the testing report they sent to us shows a picture of a product that doesn’t match the carrier we tested.

Tomaibaby baby carrier with breathable mesh - toddler backpack carrier - newborn infant front and back holder carrier (navy) - Calloway Pagan - Amazon

‘We are very sorry, this product has been removed. Thank you for reminding. We will pay attention to corrections in the future. [sic]’ 

Newborn baby carriers 2022 new thin infant toddler carriers multicolor waist stool kids carriers childrens labor-saving carriers (dark red) - LZH Baby Clotes Store - Aliexpress

'[Smiley emoji] [Rose emoji] OK’

Baby wrap newborn sling dual use infant nursing cover carrier mesh fabric breastfeeding carriers up to 130 Lbs (0-36M) (colour A breathable) - Baby Daily Supplies Factory Store - Aliexpress

'[Confused emoji] You can choose not to buy. [sic]’

Aiebao ergonomic strong breathable adjustable infant new-born hip seat baby carrier UK (orange/peach) - Ukonlinebargainltd - eBay

Kazz from ukonlinebargainltd store replied:

‘Its sad to know this. There are people still selling these on amazon with different names but same product. suggest you please get in touch with them as well. [sic]’