Team Connecta is present at the Manchester Baby and Toddler show at Event City this weekend! A fabulous opportunity to celebrate International Babywearing Week and for this show we are bringing a Dream Team of trained and experienced Babywearing consultants and trainers, with over 30 years experience in the carrying industry between them do make…
Many of you will have heard of Which? For many they are the first site they check before buying any product: from Cars and Credit Cards to Cots and Carriers. This is where we came in.
In March 2016 I was approached by representatives of Which? who saw the Top Ten Baby Carriers of 2016 research; they were intrigued to know more. It was during these conversations they asked me if I would help them to coordinate parent testing of 14 carriers easily accessible on the high street. This is in order for them to gather data to update their reviews on their website. I jumped at the chance and was excited to hear that Rosie of Sheffield Sling Surgery would be helping too.
At the start of July Rosie and I met with representatives from Which in Durham and they explained what they hope to achieve and explained to us the rationale behind all 14 of the slings we had to test. The main one being they are available on the high street. They want their reviews to be as up to date as possible. Each of the 14 slings would be factory tested for safety and ergonomics (wearer and baby) and be trialed by families.
This is where they needed us. We were tasked to find 14 families who would like to take part. Their babies had to be between 4 weeks and 18 months old, and weigh at least 8lb. We had over 40 emails of interest! They were then to be randomly given 4 carriers to test over a 2 week period (2 slings one week before swapping for 2 more). As part of this test they completed surveys with their feedback. Coordinating this with school holidays, family trips and holidays abroad took a little organisation but I think it will be definitely worth it. I can’t wait to read the results in when they are live. Here is Kirsty using two of the 4 slings she was given to try.
As a ‘thank you’ the 14 carriers will be joining the library shelves. The last 6 carriers are with families now. As soon as they are back I will be listing them on the website. Some will stay here and some will join the mini libraries of Durham City Sling Meet and our Birth and Baby Drop in meet. They include some we don’t have as well as several of our most popular.
As well as helping them with the testing I was also asked if I could help them with providing details on counterfeit carriers. Fake slings are a topic I have written quite a lot about over the last 4 years and the number of fakes continues to grow. I was delighted to be able to help them and am looking forward to what other opportunities arise to assist Which? further.
Last week I shared this post by Morecambe Bay Slings after 16 slings failed to be returned or extended on Saturday. By Sunday this was cut to 6. On Monday and another session brought another bunch of non-returns. My “overdue” list is currently sitting at 7. So what does late mean?
Late (adverb): after the expected, proper, or usual time.
When you hire a sling you do so for a set period of time (2 weeks or 4 weeks usually). The return date is given verbally when you hire and by email the minute we press check out on MyTurn. Your sling is late if it isn’t returned on the date given at booking and at the appropriate drop in session, or it is posted the day sling was due back (should be posted to arrive the day due back).
Slings can be returned “early” 24 hours a day using our drop box. Reminder emails are sent 3 days before your sling is due back. I honesty feel 3 days is sufficient time for you to contact me or post back (special delivery is next day delivery).
- That you want to extend and have paid extension.
- That you can’t make X session can you bring to Y instead.
- You have posted back before day due (and hopefully sent me confirmation that it’s posted).
I am a Mum, I know life sometimes does not work as we planned. If something has come up a quick text/email/Facebook message to let me know is not you can’t make it. But please don’t leave me in the dark. If I text you/ ring/ email please reply. Please don’t reply and say you are going to do something and then not do it. Your 1 sling is one of 320+ slings, it is one of over 150 out on loan at any one time, it is not in isolation. Late returns don’t just cause me extra work they are unfair on other families (especially where the sling is popular or the only one we have in that model).
I will continue to make follow up email/ texts/ Facebook messages / phone calls but there gets a point where I am going to have to do something else. Slings are not worthless pieces of fabric. If I need to I will send final demand letters and begin small claims proceedings for slings not returned. I really don’t want to have to do this but I cannot carry on the way things are: It is not fair on me, on my family and more importantly, it’s not fair on other library users and their children.
Thank you for reading.
Yours an exasperated sling librarian.
Summer might be drawing to a close but memories of holidays and adventures are still fresh in our minds as we begin to focus in on the day to day routine of school and work… Thanks to Rachel from North East Sling Library for sharing hers! This summer my boys and I have been very lucky…
Exhausted by the whole starting school experience Isaac fell asleep on the way to swimming lessons. Thankfully I had a wrap in the car after collecting it from its last hire.
The days when they want carrying are short. Isaac I will do it for as long as you need me. Slings have helped me every step of the way in my parenting journey and I love their versatility. Woven wraps truly birth to preschool and beyond.