I have always loved to swim; even when I was really young I would take any chance I got to get into a pool or the ocean, and I would stay there until my lips turned blue! So it didn’t surprise us at all when our daughter showed the same love of the water; bath time is her favorite time of the day, and she splashes and plays in the dog’s water bowl anytime she’s in the kitchen. This summer I made a simple DIY water ring sling to help keep her close and warm while we both enjoyed the water. It was super easy to make, and it makes our pool adventures much more comfortable and worry-free for both of us!
This water ring sling is the perfect solution for anyone who wants to get in the water with their baby or toddler! It keeps them close (which is great for babies because it allows your body heat to help regulate their temperature if the water is cool) and you can still have your hands free. Plus, if your child is scared of the water, it can help them feel more calm and safe since they are securely “attached” to you.
DIY Water Ring Sling
- 15 minutes (time spent doing stuff)
- 0 minutes (time spent waiting around)
- 15 minutes (total project time)
- fabric scissors
- sewing machine (optional, but if you have one, it’s helpful to keep your fabric from fraying!)
NOTE ABOUT FABRIC: You’re going to cut your fabric in half to make this sling, so 2.5 yards is actually enough fabric to make two water ring slings! But you need the full 2.5 yard length, so you don’t want to only buy 1.25 yards unless you want to have to cut the fabric in half and sew it together to get the full 2.5 yards length. This fabric is pretty inexpensive, so I think it’s worth it to buy the 2.5 yards and have extra so that you don’t have to thread a seam through your rings, and so that you know the fabric is all one piece and there’s no chance of a seam failing with the added weight of your baby or toddler. (You can always get two sets of sling rings and make a second sling as a gift for a friend!)
NOTE ABOUT RINGS: I suggest you use nylon rings instead of metal so that you don’t have to worry about rust. Sling rings come in a couple of different sizes, but the sizes don’t matter too much. The larger the ring, the easier the fabric will slide through as you adjust the sling. But a smaller ring is a little more secure, especially with a smooth fabric like athletic fabric, because the fabric won’t slip through unintentionally.
The first thing you need to do is cut your fabric in half, lengthwise, so that you have two skinny lengths of fabric that are both 2.5 yards long. If you have a sewing machine, sew a quick hem around all four edges of one piece of fabric to keep it from fraying.
If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can sew a hem by hand with a needle and thread, or you can skip the hem entirely. If you don’t hem the fabric, just be sure you’re really vigilant about inspecting the fabric for fraying every time you plan to use the sling.
All that’s left is to thread the fabric through the rings! For many ring slings you only have to thread one end of the fabric through the rings, because the rings are permanently sewn into the other end. But I think it’s easier to just thread both ends of the fabric through the rings every time; it saves me the trouble of more sewing, plus it’s a lot more adjustable that way, and I don’t have to worry about a seam failing while my baby is in the sling. This is a great video that shows you how to thread a traditional ring sling that already has the rings attached to one end. But you can just follow her steps to thread the first end of the fabric through the rings, then place the sling on your shoulder as she shows in the video and follow the steps a second time to get the ring sling properly wrapped around your body and threaded.
Remember to always check that the sling is threaded nice and tight before you put your baby in the sling. And after the baby is in the sling, their weight can make the fabric stretch and move around, so always check that everything is still secure after they’re in the sling!
I love that this sling allows me to take the baby in the water with me, but still have my hands free!
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