by Meg Deresti
Photo courtesy of Kate Martikainen
Beachfront Baby donated this One Size Ring Sling, in the colour Golden Sand, for our lending library. The fabric is an airy 100% polyester jersey mesh which has very little stretch and is very quick drying. The sling is recommended for babies 8 to 30 pounds, and fits most adults. I am about 5’4 and a medium shirt size, and the tail for me falls to about my hip. Personally, the tail feels like a lot of excess but since it is so light it didn’t get in my way at all, and allows for a lot of adjustability. I can share this sling with my husband, no problem.
The sling is machine washable on warm and can be hung to dry, or tumbled dry. Like most ring slings, it is a good idea to secure the rings in a sock with an elastic band so that they don’t bounce around too much and damage your machines. The rings are the well trusted SlingRings brand, and I think they are made with a small ring. The shoulder is gathered, and very securely sewn. The fabric is made in China, but the sewing is done in the USA. It’s a small company and I feel great supporting the family who makes this product.
The Sling does not contain SPF/UV protection as the chemicals used in that process may not be safe for babies. Use sun smarts recommended for the age of your baby including a wide hat, long clothing and shade.
Helen (12 months) and I took the wrap to the public pool alone. We splashed around in the kiddie pool for a while, but she was super clingy today, probably because there was more noise than usual. I grabbed the RS. Helen loves being wrapped, and it was no problem popping her into the RS quickly, creating a nice deep knee to knee seat, and adjusting the sling to sit her snugly on my hip, with her head close enough to kiss. I love how quick it is. There are no tails to drag on the floor (or in the sand if you were on a beach) and the RS felt very comfortable and secure, which I was kind of surprised about given the slickness and thinness of the fabric. We went into the small lap pool with a water depth just below my chest. I was rewarded with a huge toothy grin and some kisses from my girl. She absolutely loved it!
We walked back and forth a few times, and then I couldn’t help but try a few lengths of eggbeater (treading water). I used to be a lifeguard and swim quite regularly, but it’s been years! It felt amazing. There was no drag whatsoever from the fabric. Helen had moved from my hip to more on my front and she was grinning, and sitting there saying duck, duck, duck and pointing at things. Her shoulders were well out of the water, and I was getting a great workout. After a few lengths, I grabbed a pool noodle for under my arms, and we did a few more lengths of flutter kick on my back. I felt totally secure with her. I could keep one arm around her, though I felt like it wasn’t absolutely necessary, and I stayed in a water depth where I could stand up at any time. I felt like I might get some trouble from the lifeguards for swimming with my babe, but I got only compliments about how great the sling was, and how much my baby loved the water. It was nice to be able to go into cooler water too - we kept each other warm, and I could easily tell if she would have started to get cold.
The RS did not slip at all, and Helen maintained a secure seat the entire time. It was a little awkward climbing up the short ladder to get out of the pool, but we did it. I could always take her out in the pool and sit her up on the deck if needed. I would feel totally comfortable bringing 2 kids to the pool on my own with this sling.
We continued to wear the sling into the shower, and we were able to soap up right through the sling and rinse thoroughly. It’s pretty awesome to be able to wash my hair with two hands while wearing my baby! Even with the soap, Helen squirming or leaning to look at things was not at all alarming - she was very secure.
I would definitely recommend this water ring sling to anyone planning pool or beach trips this summer. Helen absolutely loved being in the sling - it was by far her favourite part of our swim today. I loved that I got a bit of exercise - I could also see us doing a few well chosen, low impact aquabics exercises in water no deeper than chest height. The RS is quick to adjust, very secure and comfortable both in and out of the water, and is very easy to care for.
If you are interested in purchasing your own Beachfront Baby Water Ring Sling, check out their website at beachfrontbabywraps.com. They also have wraps, and they all come in 10 different colours. I would say that for the price, the carrier is very well worth the investment. They are a member of the BCIA (Baby Carrier Industry Alliance) and have plenty of info if you have any questions. Their customer service is excellent - they were one of the first to respond to my request for donations and were thrilled to be able to support our library. They have very fast shipping and are very pleasant to work with.