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Best Baby Carriers of 2017
Parents owe it to themselves to take advantage of any product that adds convenience to the busy (and wonderful!) life that is – parenting. The best baby carrier for your lifestyle is an important tool that does just that. Carriers make it possible for parents to take on tasks requiring both hands while keeping their baby close and under their watchful eye. Whether you’re anticipating your first bundle of joy or already have young children, consider adding a carrier to your life!
Choosing the best baby carrier for you may seem overwhelming. Seriously, there are so many choices out there. We have selected nine of our favorite carriers, scoured baby sling reviews, researched safety features and compiled our findings into one neat little bundle for you. Before we take an in-depth look at these different models, let us show you a little more about how awesome a baby carrier can be for you!
According to the Meriam-Webster dictionary, babywearing, is defined as “the art or practice of keeping an infant close to an adult’s torso using a supporting device that straps to the front of the adult’s body.” Newborns are used to feeling comfort from being so close to their mothers during pregnancy. Once your newborn makes their debut, it can be a terrifying experience which leaves them feeling vulnerable and insecure. By babywearing, we grant our infant with the security they felt in utero and allows your baby to bond with you at a whole other level!
The important benefits that both children and parents gain by babywearing (and toddler-wearing!) are exceptional, here are a few from the experts at The Natural Child Project.
- Baby slings and carriers are safe! These amazing childcare products offer older children a secure place to enjoy public places without the risks of becoming lost. Most of the times, a toddler carrier will allow your child plenty of their own space to feel independent.
- They provide exercise for busy parents. With a newborn at home, it can be easy to forget about taking care of yourself. Babywearing while taking walks or practicing other gentle cardio exercises gives parents a chance to burn a few calories and calm down a fussy baby at the same time.
- Slings and other styles of carriers allow babies to become familiar with people other than mom. Mothers tend to get a head start in bonding with their child during the pregnancy process. The NCP says that fathers, grandparents and even babysitters can benefit from using a baby sling, as it gives babies a chance to become comfortable with them.
Experts have also found that the closeness children experience through babywearing releases a hormone production of Oxytocin that creates a more intimate parental bond. This bond even helps parents become accustomed to their children’s cues. You will become familiar with their different movements and gestures they make when they are hungry, wet or need entertainment before they cry. Providing relief from any discomfort before the tears begin flowing, gives your baby a great amount of trust in you.
Choosing the Right Style
Baby carriers come in many different designs and each require a different understanding on how they should be used. The best baby carrier for you and your family will depend on how you plan to incorporate it into your lives. Here is our detailed guide on the unique styles you will encounter and which one will serve you the best!
- Baby Ring Slings – We feel this type of carrier is the best baby carrier for infants. It is typically a piece of fabric that threads through two rings. It is a basic type of carrier which uses the rings to adjust to your growing child! The fabric creates a comfortable seat and fastens your baby close to your body.
The incredible closeness an infant sling provides creates a great bond-building experience between you and your baby. You will not find a more suitable carrier when breastfeeding. They are also great for light activities like walking around the neighborhood, grocery stores or just keeping your baby close when navigating your home!
Most baby ring slings are capable of supporting the weights of toddlers (be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations) but they will be more comfortable on your hip rather than supported by your shoulders. The only real downsides to this type of carrier is the limited positions they support. Most wrap slings only support front carry and hip carry. Back carry is typically a no-no for older children with a ring sling carrier.
- Best Baby Wrap – A baby wrap is a length of fabric that ties your baby and yourself together. They are safe for infants but will generally support older children as well. They are versatile in positioning and support front, hip and even back carry in most cases. Be sure your carrier is tight before utilizing back carry, a stretchy fabric can be dangerous in this position.
Parents love these types of carriers due to their incredible ability to adjust to different sizes, that means moms, dads or other caregivers can easily use the same model. You can achieve virtually any activity with a baby wrap. They provide the important closeness during your child’s infant stages and adapt to their growing bodies.
Some parents don’t like this type due to the learning curve you must cross to use it efficiently. There are no buckles or clips to secure your child. Instead, parents must rely on sufficient knot tying to create a safe housing for baby to relax in. With a little practice and patience, you can introduce the best baby wrap carrier to your growing family!
- Buckle Carriers – These incredibly versatile carriers are great for rigorous activities with older children! They create a safe and comfortable seat during hiking, camping or visits to the zoo. Be sure to check with your manufacturer’s recommendation for newborn usage as sometimes an insert must be purchased separately to be a safe option.
Some parents prefer these because the security features that keep your baby safe are more like those in a traditional car seat or swing. Rather than relying on knots or rings, these carriers use conventional clips or buckles that parents are used to. They are also often favored by dads, as they are usually feature a more unisex appearance. These are the best carriers to provide comfort for you and baby for long-carrying trips. Most are designed with weight-distributing straps which can ease the strain from your body.
Depending on which buckle carrier you choose, it may not be the best for transporting baby around the home. While you can find carriers suitable for everyday use, some may be purposed for the great outdoors. These are generally quite bulky as they feature extra storage room that may go unused during shorter trips. Another downside is the lack of intimacy you may feel when carrying a newborn.
Truly, the best baby carrier for you will depend on preference and what you wish to gain from its use. These three different styles of carriers are all incredibly safe. If used properly, they can add a new level of convenience to parenthood!
Best Baby Carrier – Safety First
Babywearing is viewed as a safe and beneficial bond-building experience for parents and children. However, anytime a child is present, extreme caution should be utilized. Of course, weight recommendations from the manufacturers should always be followed but there are other responsibilities you should keep in mind.
- Always have your eyes on an infant! During your baby’s infant stage, it is crucial to monitor their behaviors when they are in their carrier. They should always be in an upright position to make sure their airways are open. Ensuring their chin is off their chest is a great way to make sure they are receiving proper air levels.
It is also important to make sure your child’s developing neck and back muscles are being supported. Slings or wraps usually offer great levels of support without the use of an additional infant insert.
- Inspect your carrier! It is your responsibility to ensure your carrier’s integrity is in good working order. Weakening fabric or loose stitching can create disastrous effects when carrying a baby. Be sure to inspect your carrier before your baby enters.
- Act like you’re still pregnant! While using a carrier for an infant, try and behave with the same caution you did while you were carrying. This means, limiting rigorous activities while baby is in tow. This is a great way to get used to carrying your baby on the outside of your body and becoming familiar with your baby’s movements in the carrier.
- Stay alert! Cuddling while your child is in their carrier can be extremely comfortable for both you and your baby, make sure to stay awake. It is extremely dangerous to fall asleep with a baby strapped to you. If you feel like you may be getting sleepy, either transport your baby to their crib or do something to keep yourself alert.
- Keep steady! Always know where you will be walking and watch for obstructions that may cause falling. Tripping with a baby strapped to you can cause devastating results. Safety measures should also be considered when bending over. If you must pick something up, bend at the knee so your baby remains upright. Always keep one hand on your baby when bending to add additional support.
We can’t stress enough how important the manufacturer’s weight recommendations are when using a baby carrier. ALWAYS make sure your child is the appropriate weight or age when trying different carrying positions! Utilizing these safety tips and common sense will provide you with a safe experience while babywearing! See below for reviews on the best baby carriers of 2017.
ERGObaby Four-Position 360 Baby Carrier
To begin our list, we chose this superior newborn baby carrier due to its comfortability, ergonomic positioning and its several wearing positions. ERGObaby was recognized by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute for the Four Position 360 Carrier designs. They were acknowledged for designing “hip healthy” products that support hip development during infancy, and keeping parent’s hips comfortable!
This child carrier features four comfortable positions to carry your child. These include: front-inward, front-outward, a hip carry position and a back carry position. Each position provides correct baby ergonomic posture. ERGObaby defines it as a frog-leg, seated position with knees even to or above hips and spine in a curved “C” positon. This posture is maintained by the structured bucket seat featured on this baby holder.
You won’t have to worry about your child using this for only a few months before they outgrow it. By using an infant insert (sold separately for usually under $40) this impressive carrier supports children from seven pounds all the way until 33 lbs! Keep in mind that if you forego the infant insert, it isn’t recommended until children reach at least 12 pounds. The weight limits become even more incredible, when you consider the unit weighs less than two pounds!
This particular baby holder comes with several other awesome features that parents love! The extra wide Velcro waistband gives parents the option to wear the carrier either high or low, depending on which position is more comfortable. It is also long enough to support many different sizes of adults. Another aspect of comfortability that ERGObaby used to design this model are the padded shoulder straps. Working together with the wide waistband, your baby’s weight is evenly distributed, providing ultimate comfort for parents!
We are also big fans of the large hood for sunny days. The sun’s warm rays are incredibly dangerous to a baby’s fragile skin and this hood keeps them safe in a shady spot. After scouring number baby carriers reviews, we found that parents were thrilled about their purchase of this model. Overall, most are excited about the different carrying positions that are possible, how easy the adjustments are made for different sized caretakers and its chic style.
One disadvantage parents found with this carrier is the lack of pockets. Even a small pocket for a pacifier would have made a huge difference to parents who are often hard pressed to find room for all their children’s necessities. Some parents mentioned that the Velcro strap makes quite a bit of noise when being disengaged.
At an average price point of about $170, we think this carrier is well worth the investment. We would have liked to see the ERGObaby infant insert be included as a standard for this model. But even purchasing the insert separately provides you with an awesome baby carrier for under $200.
Phil & Ted’s Escape Baby Carrier
The name Escape is fitting for this unique baby hiking carrier. It allows you to take a break from the busy hustle of your ordinary routine and make a comfortable getaway to the great outdoors! Hiking with your children is a great way to make lifelong memories and get in touch with nature.
Before we get into the incredible features the Escape offers, let’s look at the most important aspect – safety. The manufacturers have created this carrier with the safety of your young one’s head and neck in mind. A snug shoulder cradle and moldable headrest makes it easy to keep your child’s developing head and neck muscles still, even while sleeping! There are even foot stirrups that keep feet secure and assist in proper blood circulation.
We love the loading technology the Escape features. While it’s freestanding, you can safely secure your child into the cradle’s harness before you put on the carrier. The two helpful handles make it simple to lift (reviews show parents loving the grips!) and putting down is a piece of cake thanks to the pop-out stand.
The Escape also promotes comfort and safety for the parents who are carrying their children. It is easy to adjust the carrier’s body harness to fit most body styles. The dual-core waist belt works with a lumbar support to evenly distribute weight, keeping a lot of the strain off you. Extra strain has no place on a relaxing hiking trip!
Your child’s harness is also adjustable to fit their growing bodies. It is covered in a premium, soft fleece that boasts comfort and security. We love the innovative body-tech Fit System that Phil & Ted have created. It is basically a padded, breathable support system for both you and your child. The tough, waterproof fabrics used on this model give it a sleek and attractive appearance.
Now that you know about all the excellent safety features, let’s talk about the fun stuff! The extra features the Escape has are amazing but they are also a reason this unit sells for an average price of about $250. It may seem like a steep price but for what you’re getting, we think it is absolutely worth it!
Finding a proper place to change a child’s diaper can be a tough job when you’re out for a hike. The Escape features a changing pad that attaches directly to the carrier. No more trying to find a clear spot of land or digging around for a blanket in your hiking bag to lay your baby on. We are also big on the storage room built into this carrier. There is plenty of room for all the necessary items you need for a young child.
You may be excited to learn about how compact this baby carrier is when it is not in use. It easily folds to a size that makes storage possible almost everywhere. This is super convenient for keeping it out of your way in-between hikes or packing it along for a road trip.
The carrier itself weighs a little over six pounds and has a strict 5-45-pound weight limit. Your child should be able to ride along safely for years. That’s another reason we feel the higher price is justified. Looking through many rave reviews from men, we think this one may be the best baby carrier for dads! Phil & Ted did a great job designing this unique carrier!
Kelty Tour 1.0 Child Carrier
This carrier is admittedly light on features. Instead, Kelty focused on a premium adjustable suspension system and exceptional safety and comfort. This baby hiking carrier is an ideal candidate for those who love the outdoors!
This model isn’t suitable for a newborn. In fact, the recommended weight limit for your child ranges from 16-40 pounds, with a maximum weight load of 50 lbs. That means, as your child grows, you will have less weight allowance for your hiking gear. Being cautious of the manufacturer’s weight restrictions is crucial in keeping your child safe.
A few great safety features we feel Kelty nailed are the five-point harness and an innovative leg-secure system. This new system makes getting your baby in and out an incredible convenience. There is also a secure cockpit that ensures your child sits upright, maintaining great posture and comfortability. Keeping your infant comfortable will make the hiking trip much more enjoyable for everyone!
We are also very impressed by the lightweight aluminum chassis. It features a no-pinch hinge to keep your child and yourself safe from ever being harmed by the folding frame. While this model is light on bells and whistles, there is one feature we are really excited about. Kelty uses an incredible technology called, Auto-Deploy. A kickstand is automatically utilized when the shoulder straps are loosened. This amazing feature creates a safe platform when loading or unloading your precious cargo.
Anyone who has hiked with a young child knows how important it is to keep their necessities handy. Extra snacks, sunscreen, diapers and plenty of water are crucial to keeping your child happy and healthy. Kelty has provided parents with a large storage pocket, allowing plenty of room for supplies.
Before using this child backpack carrier, Kelty states your child must be capable of holding their head upright without assistance. Typically, a child over six months old will be ready. Because of this, we feel the Tour 1.0 is a great baby carrier for babies that are 6 months and up in age.
Expect to find this carrier at an average price of $179. Considering the many years of use you’ll get and the outdoor memories you can create, we feel this price is right on point. This model is receiving great applause from actual users. It seems that it’s as sturdy as Kelty claims and promotes comfortability for both children and parents.
BABYBJORN Baby Carrier One
Let’s step away from the baby hiking carriers and take a look at a carrier that suits everyday situations. The Baby Carrier One is a carrier you can introduce to your child at their infant stage. A weight range from 8-33 pounds and four different position options, this one takes the prize for the best baby carrier for newborns.
We love that this carrier comes with a built-in infant insert. Some manufacturers insist you make a separate purchase to get the most usage out of their models. Baby Carrier One is actually designed to adjust to your infant’s growing body. At a relatively low price of about $155, we wouldn’t mind paying a little extra for the insert but it’s awesome that BABYBJORN built a carrier that is shaped for an infant, not just one that can accommodate one.
The Baby Carrier One was developed with the help of pediatricians and their medical advice was used to ensure this model is entirely safe for your child. The unit is built with safe and tested textiles. It is easy for babies (and sometimes toddlers!) to be fascinated with putting anything and everything in their mouths. Rest assured that this top-rated baby carrier is free from hazardous substances and allergens, just in case your baby decides to try and make a snack of it!
The manufacturer recommends using this as a front facing baby carrier for your infant’s first five months. Only if your child’s neck, back and hips are strong enough after this point, should you begin using the other exciting positions.
Parents love the small amount of space the Carrier One needs for storage. Some can even roll the carrier up and store it in their diaper bags when on the go! Parents often mention that it is very comfortable and doesn’t create any strain when in use. It is also recognized as “hip healthy” by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
Some parents complained that adjusting while the baby is contained seemed to cause them some discomfort. If you’re new to baby carriers, make sure to get familiar with how yours operates before placing your child in it. The Carrier One can make a great addition to a family who is expecting or adding more children! Practice makes perfect!
ERGObaby Four Position 360 Cool Air Mesh Baby Carrier
Much like the traditional ERGObaby 360 baby carrier, this model is a success due to its great weight supports, sleek style and praise from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. What makes this model different is the material. It features 3D air mesh technology to keep babies cool all year round!
The breathable material used on this carrier makes it a must for those who often engage in outdoor activities. Allowing the cool air to flow into your baby’s carrier will keep them from overheating, it can be a huge advantage when dealing with hot temperatures.
The Cool Air 360 carrier can support a child weighing 12-33 pounds. Again, ERGObaby offers an infant insert (sold separately) for this model to accommodate infants beginning at just seven pounds. You can also utilize all four popular carrying positions: front-inward, front-outward, hip & back.
For moms who experienced a C-section, the double-adjustment waist belt works with lumbar support and can be worn high or low alleviating pain caused from the procedure. Its large padded shoulder straps also distribute your baby’s weight evenly to add extra comfort for both of you. This model features a sleeping hood in order to support your child’s head while they snooze. Parents love utilizing the hood to gain privacy during breastfeeding and providing shade on sunny days.
Most parents love the addition of the 3D air mesh as it keeps their children cooler during extended outdoor stays. However, a few parents believe that the new material is rough and itchy compared to the original model. We definitely recommend keeping an eye on your baby’s delicate skin whenever you introduce them to a carrier. Any visible skin irritation should be inspected by a professional to ensure there are no allergies present.
Deuter Kid Comfort III Child Carrier
This carrier is definitely for the outdoor adventurer! It is absolutely packed with useful features for both parents and children. At an average price point of $299, you should make sure this carrier will get plenty of use!
From rough terrains to smooth pavement, the VariFlex pivoting hip belt helps keep your balance and allows for a comfortable walk. It also features an adjustable shoulder harness to accommodate different sized caretakers. The carrier alone weighs over seven pounds but can support a total of 48.5 lbs. That’s an average weight capacity for these rugged, outdoor style carriers.
Deuter didn’t skip any safety features when they designed this carrier. The implemented five-point safety harness is a great addition to use in outdoor travel. It is easily adjustable to keep your child safe and secure. We also love the chin pad which supports your baby while they take a much-deserved nap under the protective sun roof. There are even flexible footrests to provide ultimate comfort levels for your little one!
Loading your child in this carrier is incredibly easy thanks to the side-loading option. This can be a much safer than top loading, especially when your child gets old enough to start playing the “avoid the leg holes” game!
This model is great for active families. The seat is safe and comfortable for your baby and parents feel this model is extremely comfortable for them. The only downside we see to this unique carrier is its hefty price tag. If you don’t plan to spend a lot of time camping, hiking or spending days outdoor sightseeing, you can find other suitable models that better meet your needs. However, if you are an avid outdoor person and plan to show your child the beauty of nature, we think this is a worthy investment!
Beco Baby Carrier Sling
This wrap sling features premium fabric and large aluminum rings to adjust the cradle size for your child. One useful feature for this model is the colored rail guide – it makes adjustments simple! As with other slings, there are not a lot of bells and whistles, just an intimate closeness with your baby.
Beco offers their best carrier sling in two colors – Ocean & Cloud. Ocean is a deep, vibrant blue that is sure to catch attention and inspire people to ask where you bought it! Cloud is much more reserved and imitates the sky during an overcast. It is still a beautiful shade of grey, just not as eye-popping as the Ocean option.
The Beco sling begins supporting weights of just seven pounds. Its durable fabric holds up to 35 pounds, meaning you can get plenty of use out of this one.
While most parents loved the beautiful, heavy-duty fabric, some complained that it was too hot and uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. However, it’s important to remember that the fabric needs to be heavy so that it can safely carry your child. At an affordable price of $119, we think this sling should be considered!
ERGObaby Four Position 360 Bundle of Joy Baby Carrier
Another entry by ERGObaby, the Bundle of Joy is one awesome carrier! It is a “hip healthy” option that promotes comfort for you and your child. This was ERGObaby’s first attempt at a 360 carrier which utilized the facing-out position.
We are huge fans of the included infant insert that allows this carrier to be used with infants of at least seven pounds. If you remember the other ERGObaby options on this list, this insert was sold separately. For the Bundle of Joy 360 carriers, you can plan to spend around $180. We think it is a fair price as this model supports up to 33 pounds without any additional gear.
The ultra-comfortable structured bucket seat keeps children sitting in the recommended ergonomic seated position. You can also take advantage of the adjustable hood to keep your baby’s head supported while sleeping. Parents love how easy this unit is to adjust and how comfortable it is to them and their baby. They felt a sense of closeness that is sometimes lost on buckle carriers and found it easy to wear for long lengths of time.
Some parents have expressed frustration with adjusting the different positions. If the manual is too difficult to understand, ERGObaby also includes an instructional DVD showing exactly how to operate this unique model. We recommend becoming as familiar as possible with your new tool as it will give you the advantage of keeping your precious baby safe.
Infanito Flip Advanced 4 in 1 Convertible Carrier
Easily the most affordable carrier on our list, the Flip Advanced is incredible. It features built-in conversion flaps to adjust the seat to fit your baby as they grow. and is supportive of weights from 8-32 pounds. There are various reasons why this items is on the list of the best baby carriers of 2017.
We had to do a double take to make sure we read the average pricing of this model – $30. So, how does Infanito offer a four-position carrier at a fraction of the price as other manufacturers? One thing is for sure – they didn’t skimp on quality. Consumers find this carrier to hold up very well with daily use. The material used feels durable and of a sufficient grade to last. It even comes equipped with a wonder cover bib to protect its material and your clothing!
Perhaps they ignored comfortability? This has mixed reviews. Parents love the adjustable waist band and well-padded shoulder harnesses. There were a few complaints about discomfort when wearing this carrier for long periods of time but the majority of users didn’t have trouble. They also find their children resting easy in the soft seat provided.
This efficient, affordable carrier lets children experience the world in most of the popular positions offered by models that cost way more. When facing-in, you can adjust the seat for a narrow or wide fit to accommodate their growing bodies. Once they are able to hold their head up on their own, they can be switched to facing out and eventually go into a comfortable back carry. At the incredibly low price, this one should be added to every diaper bag even if it is only intended to be a spare!
We hope this article gets you one step closer to purchasing the best baby carrier for your family. They really add a whole new level of convenience to parenting!