Here is a MomJunction guide on buying a baby carrier and the 15 best baby carriers that help you keep the baby close and safe. Posted by Rohit Garoo. MomJunction is your friend, philosopher, and guide – all rolled into one. We are a place to stop for a while and hang out with likeminded people, a place to learn and to teach. Feature photo is from babybjorn.com
The most comfortable place for your baby is in your arms. But it can be a chore always to hold the baby while managing other errands. Baby carriers make the task easy since they hold the baby for you, thus taking the strain off your arms. There are several types of baby carriers from which you can choose what is best for you.
What Is A Baby Carrier?
You can pick from the following styles of baby carriers.
- Wraps are the conventional baby carriers that have been in use for centuries. A baby wrap is a long piece of fabric with straps that go over the shoulders. Wraps are often made from stretchy material, so they easily stretch and expand. Tying a wrap needs some practice, but you can quickly master it with practice.
- A Sling is similar to a baby wrap with the exception that the fabric is smaller since the strap only goes over one shoulder. It forms a loop on your torso, and the baby usually stays slightly off-centered.
- Soft structured carriers are made with layers of polyester fabric stuffed with some foam or other cushioning material. These carriers have thick shoulder straps as well as waist straps with buckles and tighteners to adjust the carrier’s firmness. The baby stays nestled within the carrying pouch that is also lined with soft material.
- Framed carriers are similar to structured carriers with the difference that the polyester cloth is wrapped around a metal frame, and the baby-carrying pouch is at the back. You wear a framed carrier like a backpack with shoulder and waist straps that keep it in its place. The frame also bears a portion of the baby’s weight thus reducing the strain on the body. The large, rear-positioned baby pouch make these carriers ideal for toddlers.
There are several brands of baby carriers in the market, which is why you must scrutinize all your options to pick the one that is suitable for you and your baby.
How To Choose A Baby Carrier?
The following factors can help you decide the right baby carrier.
- Age of the baby: Carriers can be used for kids aged between 0 and 36 months, although the type of carrier you choose differs based on the age. Newborns and babies less than 12 months old can be more secure in a sling or a wrap since it allows the baby to be most cozy. Toddlers, especially the older ones, are heavier and can be difficult to hold close to the chest. Structured carriers can be an ideal option for them.
- Neck and head support: All carriers provide some form of neck support to the baby. When wearing a wrap or a sling, you must place the infant’s head on your chest. If your baby has inadequate neck control, then you can consider a structured carrier that has a flap on top that provides head and neck support.
- Wearer: Pick a carrier depending on whether it is for mom or dad or both. Dads may find the straps of wraps narrow. Similarly, moms may find a few framed carriers bulky. Therefore, pick a carrier depending on whether one parent or both of them will wear it.
- Nature of use: Do you want a carrier to keep your arms free while shopping or while hiking on a nature trail? How you use the carrier decides the type that works for you. Slings and wraps are ideal for use while running daily errands. Soft structured carriers and framed carriers are suitable when going for long walks or outings.
- Duration of wearing: Structured and framed carriers are comfortable to use for an extended duration. Slings may strain your shoulder if you wear them for too long.
- Weather: If you are outdoors in the cold, then structured carriers are better since the soft padding helps keep the baby warm. Slings can be comfortable during warm weather when you do not want to transfer much of your body heat to the baby.
15 Best Baby Carriers
Best baby wraps
1. Baby K’tan Original
- Comes with two interconnected loops and a sash. There are no loose fabrics to manually tie into a loop, which makes this wrap easy to wear.
- The loops comfortably go over each shoulder. You can extend the fabric of the loops to position the baby better.
- There are six sizes to pick from, depending on the dimensions of the loop.
- The sash is long and can go around the waist twice for a secure fit of the baby. Works for both mom and dad.
- It is made from 100% soft cotton. Is machine-washable and supports up to 35lb (15.8kg) of weight.
2. Boba Wrap
- A traditional-style baby wrap with a long fabric that you wrap around the torso and then place the baby in the pouch at the center.
- You get a photo-filled instructional booklet to wrap and tie it correctly.
- The manufacturer ships the wrap in a color-matching pouch, which makes carrying the wrap easy.
- The wrap is machine-washable and made from 95% cotton and 5% spandex. It brings both softness and stretchability.
- It can even fit babies less than three months old. The wrap supports a maximum weight of 35lb (15.8kg).
3. Keababies Baby Wrap
- An easy-to-use single sheet of fabric to tie around the torso and create a comfortable wrap for your baby.
- The manufacturer ships the wrap with an instruction book for the correct way of tying the wrap. You also get an instructional video via email.
- The fabric is a combination of spandex and cotton and is machine-washable.
- Suitable for newborns and supports a maximum weight of 35lb (15.8kg).
4. Emopeak Baby Carrier
- The single sheet of fabric is made of cotton and spandex, which mixes comfort with elasticity.
- Learn the simple and conventional style of tying the wrap with the help of the instructions given by the manufacturer.
- The fabric is soft and breathable, which makes sitting in a wrap comfortable for the baby and minimizes perspiration.
- The fabric is adjustable to fit men and women of different sizes.
- The baby wrap can hold a maximum weight of 35lb (15.8kg).
Best baby slings
5. Lillebaby Ring Sling
- It is made with 100% natural linen fabric, which is soft and comfortable for both the mother and the baby.
- The carrier comes as sling right out of the box, so you do not have to tie pieces of cloth together.
- The sheet of fabric passes through a pair of zinc alloy rings that are durable and give a premium look to the baby carrier.
- A removable zippered pouch attaches to the ring. You can place your phone or other belongings in the pouch.
- You can use this sling to carry newborns. It can support a maximum weight of 33lb (15kg).
6. Maya Wrap Ring Sling Baby Carrier
- It is made from 100% hand-woven cotton which provides an ideal balance of comfort and durability.
- The cotton fabric provides adequate air circulation for both the parent and the baby, thus making it great for outdoor use during summer.
- The shoulder strap is lightly padded so that you can wear the sling for longer duration without discomfort.
- The sling rings are made from high-quality aluminum and extensively tested for durability.
- There is a small zippered pouch at the end of the sling that lets you store baby wipes or other compact baby essentials.
- Adjusts easily and can hold a maximum weight of 35lb (15.8kg).
7. Baby Womb World Baby Carrier Ring Sling
- Adjustable baby carrier sling in one size that fits all. Easy to adjust over the shoulder even while the baby is wrapped in it.
- It supports various carrying positions and can accommodate babies as they grow.
- High-quality steel rings hold the sheets of fabric together. The ring also works as a handle for older infants.
- It is made from 95% cotton and 5% spandex, which provides an excellent blend of comfort and stretchability.
- The sling supports a maximum weight of 30lb (13.6kg).
- A soft structured carrier that can be worn in the front with the baby facing you, or at the back, like a backpack, with the baby facing your back.
- Wear the carrier right out of the box. No need to tie. You can wear the carrier before you place the baby in it.
- Adequate padded to make it comfortable both for the baby and the mother.
- The exterior fabric is cotton. Machine-washable, even in warm water.
- Secure the baby seat with safety straps. A unique safety buckle prevents the baby from accidentally opening the strap.
- Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA)-certified. Certified safe for baby’s hips by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
- The carrier supports babies from birth to the age of three years. Maximum weight bearing capacity is 33lb (15kg).
9. Ergobaby Omni
- Comfortable baby seat with adjustable height. A pillow on top provides neck support.
- Place the baby facing forward or facing the parent. The seat can be adjusted according to the position you choose.
- A tuck-away hood protects the baby from sun and wind. Hood has a UPF 50+ rating.
- A thick, padded waist strap helps transfer weight evenly to the lower back for maximum comfort of the parent. The parent can also cross the shoulder straps on their back for better distribution of the baby’s weight.
- The external fabric is made from 100% cotton and is machine-washable.
- Certified safe for the baby’s hips by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
- Maximum weight bearing capacity of 45lb (20.4kg).
10. Evenflo Breathable Soft Carrier
- Ergonomically designed with contours for the comfort of both the baby and the parent. Back straps with extra padding make it comfortable for the parent to wear for an extended duration.
- Two positions to carry the baby: facing forward or the parent.
- Breathable mesh fabric allows adequate air circulation to keep the baby comfortable.
- A side buckle makes getting the baby in and out easy. It also helps keep the baby securely locked.
- The machine-washable carrier comes with a removable bib, which is also machine washable.
- It can support a maximum weight of 26lb (11.8kg).
11. Infantino Flip 4-In-1 Convertible Carrier
- The baby can sit in four positions: facing inwards with a narrow seat, facing inwards with a wide seat, facing out in a narrow seat, and backpack-style or rear sitting with a wide seat.
- A wide bib catches all the drool and bits of food that your baby eats so that your clothes stay clean. You can use the bib as a headrest when the baby is facing you.
- The narrow and wide seat adjustment allows you to accommodate older babies easily, without having to cram their legs.
- Padded straps make it comfortable for the parent while the padded seat keeps the infant cushioned.
- Machine-washable with a maximum weight bearing capacity of 32lb (14.5kg).
12. Mother Nest Baby Carrier
- The structured carrier supports three ways of placing the baby, depending on the infant’s age. Rear-facing up to five months, forward facing from five months, and backpack-style carrying after the age of 12 months.
- The mesh-like fabric at the baby’s seat allows air circulation and reduces perspiration for the baby.
- A head protection flap prevents wobbling of the baby’s head especially when they are young and have poor head control.
- Padded lumbar support strap keeps your back cushioned while the straps also help balance the weight correctly across the torso.
- It can hold a maximum weight of 33lb (15kg).
Best baby framed carriers
13. Deuter Kid Comfort 2 Framed Child Carrier
- A backpack-style framed carrier that is designed for parents who hike long distances and would like to carry their toddler along. Made from durable nylon and polyester compounds.
- Adequate pockets on the carrier to store the toddler’s as well as the parent’s items.
- A metal kickstand keeps the carrier in standing position and prevents it from toppling while the toddler is seated in it.
- The carrier contains a toddler seat with a five-point harness to keep the child secure. Adjustable footrests. Wear and remove the carrier safely while the toddler is in the seat.
- The shoulder straps are adjustable, which makes it easy to swap the carrier between mom and dad. Waist straps and chest straps further help make the carrier secure.
- Specialized, ventilated support pads for the toddler help reduce perspiration.
- Supports a maximum weight of 48.5 lbs (22kg). JPMA-certified.
14. Luvdbaby Premium Baby Backpack Carrier
- A complete baby backpack carrier that keeps the child completely snuggled and protected.
- Height adjustable backpack so that the straps fit both mom and dad. The weight is distributed evenly across the backpack, which reduces strain on the back of the wearer.
- A removable mesh hood for the baby’s protection. The carrier ships with rain cover and Stirrups to hold the baby’s feet.
- It has pockets to carry the baby’s toys, along with an insulated one to keep the baby’s bottle. You also get a diaper pad with the bag for when you need to change the baby’s diapers outdoors.
- It is made from high-quality, waterproof polyester that is durable. The kickstand at the base is made from aluminum.
- Maximum weight bearing capacity is 40lb (18 kg).
15. Be Mindful Hiking Child Carrier Backpack
- A rigid external frame holds the substantial weight of the toddler, which reduces the strain on the parent’s back.
- A four-point adjustable harness holds the toddler in place. Side cushions provide ample support and prevent the toddler from wobbling in the seat.
- The bag contains an FDA-approved hydration pouch, which can carry water. Your toddler can have water through a duct attached to the pouch. It lets you keep your little one hydrated on the go.
- The manufacturer ships the carrier with a travel duffle bag, a sunshade for the carrier and a rain guard.
- A kickstand at the base of the carrier allows placing the backpack on the ground without the need of first removing the toddler.
- Maximum weight bearing capacity of 40lb (18kg).
Whichever baby carrier you choose, it is critical that you use it right to ensure the safety of the child.
Safety Tips For Baby Carrier Usage
The use of a baby carrier should be safe for both the infant and the parent. Here is how you can enjoy the convenience of baby carrier without compromising on safety:
- Nose and mouth should be visible: According to pediatric experts, suffocation is the biggest risk for babies in slings and wraps (1). A baby’s nose and mouth can get snuggled to your chest or clothing to cause poor air flow. Always tie your baby in a way that their nose and mouth are visible when the baby is facing you or forward. Avoid putting the baby on your back until they are a year old when they have better neck control.
- Never carry premature or low-birth babies: Preterm infants and babies born with a weight lower than the average are at a significant risk of suffocation while in a baby carrier. It is best to avoid carrying them this way.
- Never use a carrier as a car seat: An infant carrier is meant to be carried on your torso and not designed to function as a car seat. Get a car seat for the car and use the carrier only when carrying the baby yourself.
- Avoid activities that could harm the baby: Do not use a baby carrier during cooking, gardening, or any other activity where you move actively or handle potentially dangerous items (fire, chemicals, etc.).
- Regularly examine carrier for wear and tear: Check the stitching of the infant’s seat in a soft structured carrier. Look for any tears in the wrap and sling fabric. If you spot damage, then discard the carrier and get a new one. Any damage on the carrier can jeopardize the safety of the baby in it.
Baby carriers give you a lot of freedom to move around and bring down the strain of continuously holding the baby. Pick a carrier as per the age and weight of your baby while also considering who will use it. Once you make the right choice, an infant carrier can serve you for a long time, until the baby is ready to walk and explore the world on their feet.