The 10 Best Baby Carriers
This wiki has been updated 32 times since it was first published in May of 2015. Children love to be held, but you have things to get done. Enter these well-designed baby carriers. Once you try one of these must-have accessories, you won't be able to go a day without it as you run errands, exercise, or simply perform daily chores around the house. They give your little one the attention he or she needs, while providing a smart way for you to multitask. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
July 24, 2019:
In our quest to find the best baby carriers, safety was our number one priority. Even if a particular model was comfortable for the parent or seemed extremely well-made, if it compromised baby safety in any way, it was immediately discounted. Now, while all of the models on our list passed our safety standards, it is still important that they are used properly, so make sure to follow all of the manufacturer's recommendations regarding baby positioning. This is most important in newborns, yet should still be adhered to no matter the age of your child.
If you are looking for a baby carrier that offers the most hassle-free use with an infant, we recommend the Baby Bjorn Original, Beco Gemini, Lillebaby Pursuit All Seasons, or Infantino Flip Advanced, as none of these require a newborn insert. That being said, the Baby Bjorn Original, while more affordable than many other options on the list, isn't designed for use with youngsters over 12 months of age, so if you want a model that will grow with your baby, you may want to forgo this one.
The ErgoBaby 360, Boba 4G, Lillebaby Essentials can all also be used with newborns, but will require an infant insert, which some parents may find inconvenient. Of these, the ErgoBaby 360 is the only one that doesn't come with the insert, though it is very comfortable for both parent and baby, so it is still worth considering.
We realize there are many active parents out there who don't want to forgo some of their favorite past times just because there is a new addition to their family, which is why we included some hiking models, like the Deuter Kid Comfort 2 and Clevr Premium Cross Country. Since this list isn't dedicated to hiking models, we wanted to include models from two opposite ends of the spectrum. The Deuter Kid Comfort 2 is a top-quality model that will last through years of constant use and offers everything you could ever want in one of these, while the Clevr Premium Cross Country is more of a budget-friendly option that gets the job done, but probably wouldn't be ideal for someone who hikes every weekend. If you are looking for something that falls between these two extremes, we recommend you take a look at our list dedicated to baby carriers for hiking. It is important to note that these should never be used with infants, as babies under one year of age should never be carried in a position where they are not in view at all times.
You may notice we did not include any of the popular sling models on our list. This was not an oversight, but rather very intentional and goes back to what we mentioned at the very beginning of this editor's note. While many parents, and even babies, find slings to be comfortable, we believe there have been too many incidents associated with them to recommend any parent use them. This is because they are too easy to use incorrectly, which can result in babies being harmed, either from a traumatic injury or in the way their bodies develop.
On Carrying Kids In Comfort With Ease
If you can order something online instead of going to the store, do it.
Life with children can be filled with joy and satisfaction, but it would be disingenuous to say it is not also often fantastically complicated. The smallest, simplest tasks can take on new layers of difficulty when you have a child to include. That 9-minute trip to the ATM and back can suddenly become an outing when you can't leave the house without a bottle, spare diapers, wipes, a changing pad, a backup change of clothes, a favorite toy, and so forth. It's little wonder that issues of parental stress are getting more and more attention from researchers and psychologists these days.
However, there are ways to mitigate the stresses and frustrations that come with managing everyday life with a small child added into the equation, and the most important step is to simply slow down. It's important to plan your days realistically when you have a child to consider. One should create a much smaller set of goals that they might usually when running errands on their own.
Prioritize necessities first, and then see how much time you will likely have left over before considering additional errands, visits, or activities. Add more time into your assessment of every undertaking, building in a buffer for myriad possible delays, and making sure to leave plenty of extra time if you need to keep a schedule or make an appointment.
Also, consider ways to make the goals you must accomplish easier to meet. If you can order something online instead of going to the store, do it. If you can complete an errand via a drive-through window without getting your child out of his or her carseat, that's another great option. And when you need to be on the move with your child, consider how best to be mobile and flexible at once.
Any parent who has tried to navigate his or her way through a busy airport, down a bustling city street, or around a crowded shop will tell you that it's a lot easier to have their small child strapped to their chest then in their arms, in a stroller, or led by the hand. While your child is still small enough for you to safely and comfortably carry him or her strapped to your torso (and while the child is still young enough not to protest this arrangement), you should take advantage of your core muscles and transport the little one in a baby carrier. A good baby carrier is comfortable for child and adult alike, and many have features such as storage pockets and sun and rain shields that make the mobile experience better for everyone.
Choosing A Baby Carrier For Use Around Town
There are some baby carriers that look like tactical response gear, complete with multiple clips and buckles, straps and adjustment points, and numerous compartments for storing sundry goods. Then there are others that consist of just a few simple straps, a cushioned pad or two, and a sturdy fabric pouch into which your baby can be tucked.
The heavier a child gets, the more strain carrying him or her on the front of your torso will cause to your back and shoulders.
Still others consist of wrapped fabric alone, mirroring the same baby carrying style used all over the world since time immemorial. For those days when your child will be repeatedly strapped onto your person then taken off again, these simpler baby carriers are the best option.
Many baby carriers make it easy for an individual person to secure a child to his or her chest, hip, or back, and you'll greatly appreciate that simplicity of design when you are out and about with a young one. While some of these types of carriers might not offer the same weight distribution of hiking-pack-style baby carriers, they are ideal for shorter trips.
A baby carrier that keeps your infant on your chest is also the ideal choice for use with smaller babies. Newborns especially -- but, in fact, all babies well into their first year -- feel most comfortable and at ease when cradled against a caregiver's chest. The closeness the child feels in this position helps them to remain calm and even to sleep, which makes life easier for the parent (or any caregiver) trying to go about the business of everyday life.
As your child (or the baby you care for) gets older and larger, note that eventually this type of carrier, or at least the front carry position, will become less viable. The heavier a child gets, the more strain carrying him or her on the front of your torso will cause to your back and shoulders.
Toting Your Tot On An All-Day Trek
If you are bringing an infant or toddler on a long hike, or if you and your young one are heading out for an all-day trek around the city or town, you need to be realistic about how much that little one really can weigh you down. A 25 lb. toddler might not feel so heavy during a quick lift for a hug, but that weight will seem to grow over time if you have the child tucked into the wrong carrier.
toddler might not feel so heavy during a quick lift for a hug, but that weight will seem to grow over time if you have the child tucked into the wrong carrier.
Baby hiking backpacks are designed around the same principles as great hiking packs used by mountaineers and trekkers. They put most of the load (aka your child's weight) on your hips using large, broad belts. Your shoulders also carry plenty of weight thanks to shoulder straps, but the entire load is distributed around your torso thanks to a chest strap and the multiple adjustment points these types of packs offer.
This style of backpack might not be suitable for very small infants, but once your child is heavy enough to be a burden in a front carry baby carrier, he or she will almost surely be able to easily keep their head upright and to be safely and securely fitted into these larger units. While baby hiking packs might look larger and more cumbersome than some of the smaller, simpler options, you will appreciate choosing one after the third of fourth mile of the day.