Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Baby Carriers - The Ins and Outs

Like choosing a stroller, finding the right baby carrier for your family can be a daunting task. I know many families, including my own that have gone through a couple of different ones before settling on two that we use frequently and have been life savers on many an occasion.

ERGO Baby Carrier -
 Organic River Rock GreenSherpani Rumba Superlight Baby Carrier - Sunfire RedKelty FC 3.0 
Child Carrier, Blue

We've bought slings, one fitted for me, one for my husband. I used the sling quite often, especially for quick errand. My husband never used his, well maybe once. We had a Baby Bjorn, which my Little Bear quickly out grew. We went through 3 Ergos. The first one I bought used off ebay, the older sport eddition with the sleep hood connectors that had lost their elasticity and way too stretched out to do their job. The second Ergo, an organic cotton one that we love. We also have the performance one that Ergo gave to Taiga Trekkers. We love this one equally as well for different reasons. We've been through two frame packs. We loved the first made by REI, but didn't buy all the accessories for it before they stopped making them and really needed a rain cover for backpacking. REI graciously exchanged it for us with the Sherpani Rumba Superlight. We love this one.

 Padded Baby Ring Sling Carrier (MEDIUM - BRIGHT 
STRIPE)Moby Wrap 100% Cotton UV Protection Baby Carrier, Almond 
BlossomBabybjorn Baby Carrier Original - Black, Classic

This story has been told far too often by parents I know who love being outside with their family and find baby wearing an important part of raising their children. Sometimes, as in my family's case we've made great use out of three of them, but didn't need to go through 8 to figure it out.

If you have a carrier we haven't mention please feel free to email your review along with a picture of it in action. We would love to have a comprehensive listing. Negative reviews are almost more important then positive ones. Save someone the heartache of going down the wrong path.

All reviews, as they are available, can be found under the Baby Carrier Reviews and Gear topics on the left.

Here's a list of considerations for choosing the right carrier for your family:
  • Price is always an important factor. I've also always looked at resale value too when considering a purchase. For example Ergo's tend to hold their value when sold used.
  • Can you find one used?
  • Can you easily adjust the carrier to fit both parents proportions? Some carriers offer extension belts and some frame packs have a ladder system in the back to extend the height for taller parents.
  • Where is your child's supporting their own weight when in the pack? For example Baby Bjorns put the weight on a child's crotch while Ergos, Mai Tais and Moby Wraps distribute the weight on the child's bottom and legs.
  • How is you child's weight distributed on your body?
  • How many ways can you wear your child? Front only? Front, back & hip? Back only? Front & back?
  • How well is your child's head supported when they fall asleep?
  • How much storage do you have? Can you carry a snack, a camera, water, extra clothes?
  • Do you plan of backpacking and overnight hiking trips?
  • Does it come with a mirror so you can see what your child is doing when being worn on the back. (You can buy them separately if it doesn't or just carry a make up compact with you).
  • Does it come with or can you purchase a sun shade or rainshield for it?
  • Does it have stirrups for the your child's feet to be placed in?
  • An especially important consideration in Alaska is how do I keep my child warm in the carrier during the winter. Some companies make jackets and vests specifically tailored to wear over carriers. You can also modify an old fleece to do the same thing.

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