What's Important When Choosing a Baby Carrier?
Baby carriers come in all shapes, sizes, colours, fabrics and styles. There are also dozens of different methods for tying or buckling each type of carrier.
The annual Fertile Mind Babywearing in Australia survey in 2017 asked the 1600 participants what type of baby carrier they owned.
- Front pack carrier – such as BabyBjorn, Snuggli, Infantino and Stokke
- Soft structured carrier (SSC) – such as manduca, Ergo, Beco, Tula
- Woven wrap – such as Didymos, ,Girasol, Oscha
- Stretchy wrap – such as Hug-a-Bub, Moby, JPMBB
- Ring sling – such as Hug-a-Bub ring sling, Ellaroo, Maya and handmade
- Mei Tai – such as ABA mei tai, Didy Tai, Mysol
- Hip Seat carrier
The most popular carrier type chosen was the SSC (68.23%) followed by the Stretchy Wrap (50%) and then the Front Pack (31%) carrier. Obviously, some parents own more than one type of baby carrier.
These popular choices can be found in any large baby store such as Australia’s Baby Bunting and Babies R Us, as well as smaller chains and independents such as Baby Kingdom, Baby Village, Babyography, Baby Gallery etc.
Online stores such as Bellas Little Ones, Nurture Nest, Carry My Baby, Brooke Maree Babywearing and Baby Carriers Australia offer a wider choice of the less popular types of carrier.
Parents were asked to specify which brands they had purchased when they’d selected “Other”.
Their answers were wide-ranging (and cost-conscious at times, note answers such as “a borrowed Hug-a-Bub” and “handmade fabric loop”). Many brands would fall under the product categories listed, however parents might be confused about what type of carrier their brand fell into.
So, “Other” included Kapuchi, Mac pack, hiking carrier, Onbuhimo, Mini Monkey sling, not sure, K’tan carrier, hybrid – a stretchy with woven qualities, Twingo, Bubba Moe, Childcare, cheap Target one, Half buckle, Sling without a ring, Peanut sling, Soft hip carrier, Lillebaby, Snugli, iAngel, Close carrier, Chekoh, Sling bought from market in Noosa, Mountain Buggy, Beachbabe water wrap, Custom conversion, Maccas framed carrier, Ankalia, papoose, Mothers Choice, Phil and Ted’s, Aldi, Marsupi, Sakura Bloom, Kokadi Flip, DIY.
It’s clear that what’s important about choosing a baby carrier obviously means different things to different people. So, how did they make their choice?
Our survey showed that online research is key, with 34% saying that was how they chose their carrier. 27% said it was recommended by a family member, friend or mothers group.
And, 23% said they received their carrier as a gift.
Price was a consideration for many, some wanted a solid seat, others said it “was the best I tried.”
Here’s a snapshot of the reasons given: to climb mountains, able to use it in many positions, all I knew about at the time, available at the baby expo, on special and I hated it, liked the pattern, cheap, organic cotton was a health decision for material to be close to my baby, organic, comfy and good for beginners, loved the look, saw on Instagram, babywearing group suggested it, received it secondhand from a friend, screaming son fell asleep in the Hug-a-Bub in the baby store, stretchy good for newborns and easy to learn, seemed the easiest to work out, German made, approved by the Hip Dysplasia institute, had a daughter with hip dysplasia, my husband wanted that one, special edition fabric, hip healthy, special offer price, tried with a babywearing consultant, available through Flybuys, too hot to wear one with an insert, looked good in the shop, saw it on Facebook, my husband’s a big guy and we needed one that could fit him, endorsement from the ABA, couldn’t afford a pricier brand, a mum looked comfy in it, the weight limit was the highest, suited my 137 cm height, saw it at BigW, don’t have one yet.
The most important FEATURES in a baby carrier were listed in descending order as:
Comfort, encourages correct posture, hip healthy, fabric and weight limit, endorsed by health organisation, recommended by friends and family.
Some surveyed parents emphasised the importance of: adjustability, versatility for various people to use comfortably, ease of use, convenience, padding under the ring of any ring sling, support for the back, machine washable, good for hot weather and cool fabric.
Given that most survey respondents said they’d carried their baby in a baby carrier or sling for more than an hour (and 4% over 5 hours) at a time, it’s no wonder comfort is high on the list of important features in a baby carrier.