How to select the safest baby carrier designed to be most comfortable for mom & baby?
Finding the best and safest baby carrier can be a daunting task for new parents.
How do you decide which carrier to buy when the variety of baby carrier styles is so overwhelming?
With this baby carrier review, we hope to help you find the best, safest and most comfortable baby carrier for your baby.
Parents need to be extra careful when they use a baby carrier for infants aged younger than four months.
Because infants at that age have insufficient neck control they can suffocate within minutes if not correctly positioned in a sling carrier. This can happen when the face is covered with fabric or if the chin is pressed to the chest cutting of baby's breathing.
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Despite all the wonderful advantages of babywearing, parents should be aware of the risks related to these slings and baby carriers. To be precise, between 2003 and 2016, 156 incidents were reported of which 17 were fatal. Most of these incidents happened when:
- Buckles of the carrier detached or broke and the baby fell out of the sling
- Infants slipped through a too large leg opening
- Stitches became loose or detached
- Babies suffocated because their face was covered with the fabric of the sling.
This is why CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) recently released new mandatory standards for infant sling carriers.
In order to prevent other deads and injuries, safety warnings should clearly be visible on the label attached to the sling and included instruction materials. As a parent you can now expect the labels and instructions to show:
- Pictures of how a baby is correctly positioned in the sling
- Warnings of how an infant can suffocate in a sling and how to prevent this.
- How you should check seams, stitches, buckles, and hardware to prevent infants from falling out of a sling.
Photo from Hugabub.com on flickr.
To understand which baby carrier best fits your needs we have a few questions that may help you with this decision..
- Have you decided until when you plan to use the baby carrier?
- Will the baby carrier be used just by mom or shared between caregivers?
- Do you plan to buy one carrier or get different ones as baby grows?
- How much are you willing to spend?
The four most common types of baby carriers are the ring sling, pouch style carrier, wrap carriers and the soft structured carriers. Here is a short description of each carrier.
The ring sling:
A ring sling is a long piece of fabric with two rings at the end. By pulling the material through those rings, a pouch to support your baby is created. There is a choice of padded or unpadded ring slings. Padded slings are made to be more comfortable on the shoulder and the neck.
The wrap carrier:
Wrap Carriers are made of long pieces of fabric of about 5 meters long and 90 cm wide. The fabric can be tied in many ways to form a carrier for your baby. Wraps are suitable for newborn babies to toddlers and preschoolers. They are very comfortable as the fabric helps to distribute the weight evenly over the parent's body.
Pouch baby carriers:
Pouches are types of baby slings where a piece of fabric is sewn in a tubular shape. By pulling the material (pouch) over the head and shoulder a pocket is created that holds the baby. Sizing is important with pouches because they are not adjustable. Pouches are easy to use, affordable and fit conveniently in a diaper bag.
Mei Tai baby carrier:
The well known Mei Tai Asian baby carrier is a soft carrier made of a square piece of material with straps on two or all four corners. Mei Tai's come in many different colors and varieties. You can find various strap lengths and widths, padded or unpadded shoulders and some offer baby head support.
Soft structured or buckle carriers:
The soft structured carrier has buckles, straps and a padded waistband that can be customized to fit you and your partner. Some of these soft structured carriers need an insert to position a newborn properly inside the carrier. A lot of parents prefere this type of carrier as they consider it to be the sturdiest and safest baby carrier.
|Ring Slings||Soft Structured Carriers||Wrap Carriers||Mei Tai Carriers||Pouch Baby Carriers|
|Suitable for newborn||Perfect||Yes (some need insert)||Perfect||OK||Good|
|Weight limit||Up to 30-40 pound||Up to 45 pound||Up to 35 pounds (depends on fabric)||Up to 35 pound||Up to 40 pound|
|Carrying positions||All||Front facing in and out, back carry||All||Front facing in and out, back carry||Front facing in and out, hip carry|
|Difficult to use||Medium (needs some practice)||Low learning curve||Difficult (needs practice)||Medium (needs some practice)||Medium (needs some practice)|
|Fits multiple wearers||Yes||Yes (needs adjustments of straps)||Yes||Yes||No (needs correct size)|
Safest baby carrier for newborns
What to look for?
For newborns, ring slings and wraps are suitable and safe carriers as they let them curl up in the frog-position and provide the necessary neck support. For newborns look for a carrier that is easy to use, so you can quickly get your baby in and out of the carrier if needed.
All these things you will find in the ERGO baby wrap. The stretchy material of this wrap embraces baby's body, making it a perfect choice for when a baby is very little. This wrap is made of 95% cotton and 5% spandex with a lenght of 5 yards. If you take a few minutes to learn how this wrap works (see a video on youtube) you will surely fall in love with this carrier.
Ergo baby wrap by CuddleBug
- Excellent for discreet nursing
- Comes in 8 different styles
- Weight recommendation: 2 to 35 pounds
Best and safest multiple position baby carrier
What to look for?
A multi-position soft structured baby carrier is an excellent choice if you want one carrier that will last from infancy to the toddler years. The BabySteps 6 in 1 Ergonomic Baby Carrier is for moms that want a no hassle but versatile baby carrier. No need to spend over a hundred dollars on a baby carrier, this carrier can easily compete with the more expensive brand name carriers.
Kangarouse Ergonomic Soft Carrier
- Suitable for 7 to 45lbs and allows 6 carrying positions.
- Made of soft but sturdy material.
- Includes a safety harness to ensure baby's safety.
- Comes with hood, neck pillow, drool pads and a handy pocket for your cell phone.
The best baby carrier for hot weather
What to look for?
There are some special features to keep in mind when choosing a baby carrier that's most appropriate for hot weather. Consider protecting baby's delicate skin from the damaging effects of UV radiation. You can choose to buy a carrier that comes with build in UV protection. An example is the Mobi Wrap which is made of 100% natural cotton and has an SPF of 50+ .
Next thing to take into account is that baby doesn't get overheated. Best are carriers made of breathable materials. Choose wraps made of gauze or linen or a soft structured carrier like the Gemini Performance shown below made of breathable mesh and cotton.
Gemini Performance Baby Carrier By Beco
- This Beco carrier is made of 100% cotton with a mesh panel to keep baby cool
- Comes with foldable head support wich can be used for shade when baby faces inward.
- Unbuckling requires both hands to prevent accidental unlocking.
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Safest toddler carrier
What to look for?
As your baby gets heavier and heavier you may start feeling pain in your neck or back. Then maybe the carrier you are using is not supportive enough anymore and you need to look for a carrier with better ergonomic support. The LILLE baby toddler carrier is a roomy baby carrier with a wider and taller torso than the average carrier.
LILLEbaby 3 in 1 CarryOn Toddler Carrier
- Designed to support toddlers with a weight of 20 - 60 lb.
- Great for "bigger" moms as it fits up to a size 22/24
- Machine washable and lightweight carrier (2.1 pounds)
baby carriers for cold weather conditions
What to look for?
To protect your infant from cold weather you do not need a special type of carrier, just any baby carrier will do. All you need is a winter/weather cover to shield your infant from winds, rain and cold. Most practical and the smartest option is the BEBAMOUR universal cover ($27.99) that covers all baby carriers and which can also be used as a stroller cover, nursing cover, blanket and anywhere you need to keep baby dry and warm.
Another option to keep mom and baby warm is the Boba Hoodie shown below. This hoodie is made of super soft, stretchable material and you can wear it two ways, with your baby in the front or back. It will fit over any wrap or soft structured baby carrier.
Safest backpack baby carrier for hiking trips
What to look for?
Backpack carriers are a great solution for parents who like to go for hikes with their kids in tow. Backpack carriers are meant for older babies with proper head and neck control, and toddlers. Look for a carrier with a build in stand, this makes it easy to put your child in the carrier and put it up on your back.
If you plan to use the backpack carrier often make sure you get one with adequate padding and a comfortable fit. The safest baby carrier for hiking has a safety harness and the shoulder straps should be connected to the crotch. Always check how big the leg openings are because several of these backpack carriers have been recalled because children could slip through these holes. Better brands for backpack carriers are Osprey, Deuter and Kelty
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