Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Goodbye, Hotslings

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Babywearers recently said a sad farewell to Hotslings after seven years, causing many to wonder about the future of the babywearing market and whether upcoming safety regulations and testing requirements, as well as the after effects of the Infantino recall, would force us to lose other baby carrier businesses.

Diana from puts it well in her post... as she says, "the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA) was formed by the mothers and fathers behind some of the most innovative and well-loved baby carriers available, to set the standards for babywearing devices before the companies that are home-based, and which started out home-based (like Hotslings) can be edged out of the market..."

As the BCIA says,
"The closure of Hotslings highlights the important work to be done in the baby carrier industry to ensure its health and stability. The BCIA is working hard to develop safe and achievable standards for all sling carriers through the ASTM and to help the baby carrier industry grow.  Additionally, the BCIA is working to bring accurate information about the importance of baby slings for the well-being of infants and families to the general public, media, and medical communities."
The BCIA is needed to make sure that safety regulations take into account the needs of small businesses.  Safe babywearing is a beautiful goal, but losing all of our work at home mom babywearing businesses, losing Etsy sellers with unique products, or even losing larger companies like Hotslings, that started out as a mom at a kitchen table, is not the answer.  What baby carriers are truly unsafe?

The recalled Infantino SlingRider wasn't made or sold by a mother who loved babywearing and had a passion for it.  It was made and sold by a BIG COMPANY that wanted to make a profit and ignored babywearing advocates concerns about it's safety and bad design.  I don't know about you, but I would rather put my confidence in mothers who love babywearing, and are doing all they can to promote it and spread it, than in big, impersonal corporations with an eye on profits.


Beth said...

Well said! Excellent post.

natalie said...

Thank you, Beth... I had you, and businesses like yours, in mind especially as I wrote the end.

Funky Mama Bird said...

So sad. I loved our Hotsling. I'm loaning it to someone right now because she can't get her own. Sad.

hearwritenow said...

That's such a shame! I cringe every time I see parents carrying their babies in a Baby Bjorn. They have no idea.

Thanks for following me on Twitter.


natalie said...

Funky Mama Bird -- aww. :( I've never tried one, but they look super cute. Glad that yours is getting loved right now! :)

Elle - I know. :( I kind of cringe when I see Bjorn babies, but on the other hand babywearing of ANY stripe is so rare in our area I am usually kind of happy to see it in any form. So much more common to see babies in their bucket seats being swung along at knee level or in their bucket seats in the cart.