How to choose baby carriers, slings, reins, selection tips and reviews
Baby carriers are designed for comfortable transportation of the baby in direct contact with the mother. At the same time, mom’s hands remain free. These include slings, kangaroo backpacks, hiking backpacks, hipsters.
Sling scarf – a flap of durable fabric (length 4-6 m), which, tying in various ways, can be used as a baby carrier, both in a horizontal and vertical position. In addition, it is very simple and inexpensive. But tying a sling requires certain skills, and any adjustment is impossible, so you have to re-tie it.
Important: A sling scarf is a versatile option that turns into a kangaroo, cradle or shoulder bag.
- Sling with rings – a kind of sling, equipped with two rings, between which one of the ends of the flap is clamped. This sling allows you to easily adjust the carrying without bandaging. However, the model with rings is less versatile, and besides, it is worn only on one shoulder, which is inconvenient for the parent.
- May sling – the middle option between a sling-scarf and a kangaroo backpack. May-sling has straps – you can carry the baby on two shoulders and easily adjust the carrying. It is designed for the horizontal and vertical position of the baby, and the design itself is simple, light and open, which is convenient in hot weather. However, the May-sling cannot be easily transformed, unlike the scarf.
Kangaroo backpack – a backpack designed to carry a child in front of him on his stomach. Some models also provide the possibility of placing the backpack on the mother’s back. Well suited for short walks, as the spine and legs of the child have an increased load.
Rein – a system of straps that are fixed on the body of the baby. Such reins enable parents to control the movement of the child and prevent him from falling during his first steps.
marching – a backpack designed for hiking long distances. This model is worn only on the back, which makes it possible to carry the child for a long time. The kid is placed in a hiking backpack in the same way as in the “kangaroo”. In addition, this model has a rigid folding frame, with the help of which the backpack turns into a high chair for a child.
Hypsite – a wide belt that fastens around the waist. It allows you to carry the baby on the hip – the most comfortable position for mother and child, while the load is distributed along the entire lower back. Hipsit provides a variety of positions for the child: it can be on the side, behind and in front of the mother.
- Sling scarf
- Kangaroo backpack
This parameter indicates the age of the child for whom a particular carrier is designed.
- Sling scarf and sling with rings can be used for babies from birth;
- may-sling is designed for children aged 3 months;
- the kangaroo backpack is designed for children who already know how to sit (from 6 months), since the child is in an upright position in it;
- hiking backpack is designed for children aged 2 years and over;
- hipsit – like a kangaroo backpack, is designed for children who have begun to sit down – 5-6 months.
Although children of the same age may have different weight and height, this indicator will help the mother to assess how the model will suit the child in a particular period of life. If there is a lower limit of the age group in the characteristics of the carrier, it should be adhered to, otherwise the baby may be harmed.
Important: for children who are not yet able to sit, a kangaroo backpack cannot be used, as this negatively affects the spine that is not yet strong.
Location of the model on the body
Behind (on the back) – the most convenient placement for the carrier, since the load is evenly distributed on the spine and the entire body of the parent. However, the contact between the adult and the baby will be much worse than in the anterior position. Most often found in hiking backpacks.
front (on the stomach) – a less convenient option, but an adult and a baby can see each other. This allows the parent to control the condition of the child, and the child will feel safe. In addition, such an arrangement will not prevent mom from sitting on a bench in the park or on a bus seat. Front placement is found in most slings and baby carriers.
front/rear; front/back/side; front/side – universal options that allow mom to choose the right location based on a specific situation or at will.
position of the child
Face to mother – provides the closest contact between an adult and a baby, and in addition, it loads the child’s back to a lesser extent. However, in this position, the baby’s field of vision is limited and, in order to see the world around him, he will have to turn his head.
Face from mom – gives the child the widest possible view. On the other hand, this position puts extra stress on his spine. Therefore, it is not advisable to carry the baby in this position for a long time.
Facing/back to mother – a universal option that allows mom to choose the right position based on a specific situation or at will.
Next to mom – the most comfortable position for the mother, as it completely frees her hands and at the same time reduces the load on the spine.
This indicator indicates the maximum allowable weight of the child, at which the carrier can be used. Despite the fact that slings and backpacks usually have a certain margin of safety, however, the device can break at any time and the service life in this case is significantly reduced. Also, the maximum weight is associated with the design of the carrying, and if it is exceeded, the child and mother may be uncomfortable.
Cotton – environmentally friendly, durable, pleasant to the touch and “breathable” material. At the same time, it dries for a long time and is quite difficult to clean from dirt. The best option for hot weather.
Cotton fabric – combines the advantages of cotton with ease of cleaning and practicality (wrinkles less, lasts longer).
Polyester – reliable, hypoallergenic, moisture resistant and easy to clean material. On the other hand, it is not very pleasant to the touch and does not “breathe” well, as a result of which the baby will sweat more. Not suitable for hot weather.
Cotton+polyester – a composite material that combines both of the previous ones. Resistant to dirt and moisture, high strength, good air permeability and quite pleasant to the touch. The properties of this material depend on the specific proportions of the two components.
Jersey – knitted material. They are found both in natural form and with synthetic additives. A distinctive feature is high elasticity, due to which it is used for the manufacture of sling scarves.
Lilac – eco-friendly, very light, durable, “breathable” material. Used in slings.
Reticulate – perfectly passes air, which makes it the best solution for the hot season. The most common mesh materials are synthetic materials such as polyester.
The length of the unfolded sling. The longer its length, the more options for its use. However, a sling that is too long is inconvenient, especially for dressing in an inappropriate place, such as on the street. To correctly select the length of the sling, you need to divide the user’s clothing size by 10. For example, with a 50 clothing size, a 5 m long sling would be the best option.
The collar of the baby carrier supports the baby’s spine and head, propping it up from behind and preventing it from tilting to the side. Such a collar must be in models for children under one year old. Yes, and older children, it can be useful: with its help, the child will be able to relax and fall asleep. Most often there are models with an adjustable collar.
Height adjustment – allows you to adjust the height of the placement of the baby, depending on his height. This adjustment ensures maximum comfort for both mother and child. Sometimes you can use this function to change the internal carrying capacity.
Lying position – allows you to place the baby in the “lying” position. Carriers with this function are perfect for the smallest children who still have a weak spine. For older babies, recumbent models can be used as a cradle.
Mom’s back support – special straps or plates that evenly distribute the load on the mother’s back. In this case, carrying the child becomes more convenient, especially when it is located in front. A similar feature is found in may-slings and kangaroo backpacks.
breastfeeding – design that allows you to use the carrier for breastfeeding. Firstly, the baby is in a comfortable position at the level of the mother’s chest, and secondly, the device covers her breasts from prying eyes.
Headrest – protects the baby’s head from strong displacements and maintains it in an optimal position. Sometimes a headrest can protect a child’s head from bad weather or accidental contact with surrounding objects.
shoulder pillow – a pillow made of soft thick material and located on the strap where the shoulder has the greatest load. This pillow promotes even weight distribution, which in turn reduces fatigue. It is usually found in slings.
Back pocket – for carrying baby food jars, documents and other items. Usually found in hiking backpacks and “kangaroos”.
Hood – protects the child from adverse weather conditions of snow, rain and cold wind.
bib – protects the parent’s clothing from contamination and is attached to it (the level of the child’s head). An actual subject when carrying the baby in the position “face to mother”.
When choosing a kangaroo backpack, it is better to give preference to well-known brands specializing in the production of children’s goods: Bertoni, Chicco, Geoby, Inglesina, Jane, Womar. Do not buy unknown models of Chinese brands. With a limited budget, it is better to consider local producers, for example, Vasilinka. The most important thing in kangaroo backpacks is the comfort and safety of the child, as well as the mother. In modern and high-quality models, all straps, belts, the seat itself is designed taking into account all the features of the baby’s body. Thus, subject to the basic requirements for carrying a child, you will not harm his health. Expensive products are usually sewn from strong, breathable materials.
The requirements for slings are not so strict, since a sling can be made from almost any durable fabric. However, if you want to buy slings, pay attention to the material, the reliability of Velcro, if any.