Carrier Types

There are a multitude of different carriers now available on the market, and it can be pretty daunting to try and pick which one may suit your family’s needs best. Below you will find a summary of these.

 

Asian Style Carriers

 

These are carriers inspired by the traditional carriers of Asia. These include:

Mei Tai: A Chinese carrier meaning mei: to carry on the shoulders / tai: strap, band- is a square or nearly square piece of cloth with parallel unpadded straps emerging from the sides of each corner.

Podaegi: A Korean carrier with a medium to large rectangle of fabric hanging from a very long strap.

Obihimu: A Japanese carrier which has long top straps and a rectangular body. At the bottom of the rectangle, loops or rings allow the top straps to be threaded through and tightened, while the straps are tied at the waist.

 

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Suitable from birth to toddler
  • Quick to tie on
  • Usually folds up relatively small
  • Can be used on front, hip and back

Cons

  • Sized, so you will likely need to buy a bigger size as your baby/child grows
  • Long straps can drag on ground when tying on
  • Different carriers may be needed for different wearers in the family (longer/shorter straps)

 

Soft Structured Carriers

     

Modern structured hip carriers, soft structured carriers (known as SSC) which can be used on front or back, structured front packs and hard-framed backpacks are also used. Hip carriers may be closely related to ring slings or they may be more closely related to a mei tai, and several different types of fasteners are used in different models. Most soft structured carriers are loosely based on the traditional mei tai with a main flat panels and four straps which are shortened and fitted with buckles for added convenience.

Pros

  • Usually quick and easy to use
  • No long straps
  • “Daddy friendly”
  • Some can be used from birth
  • Some available up to pre-schooler size
  • Can be used on front or back (some also on hip)

Cons

  • Not always multi-user friendly – some wearers find they need “petite” straps
  • Those suitable from birth usually require additional inserts or adaption
  • Sized – some may adjust from young baby to small toddler, but most are non-adjustable (body height and width) meaning a new carrier is needed when the baby grows out of it
  • Advertised weight ranges usually do not correspond with sizing

 

Stretchy Wraps

     

These are long lengths of fabric, which are generally made of knits such as jersey or interlock. These are wrapped around the baby and wearer and tied off securely.

Pros

  • Perfect for preemies and newborns
  • Can pre-tie, so you can pop baby in and out without further adjustment
  • Multi-user friendly
  • Most provide good width and support of an ergonomical position
  • Soft fabric is especially great for little babies

Cons

  • Unsafe for back carrying
  • Becomes less comfortable to use as your baby gets heavier
  • Lots of fabric to wrap
  • Can be hot to wear in warmer weather

 

Woven Wraps

        

Woven wraps are lengths of fabric that have been designed specifically for carrying babies in. They come in different lengths, for which some are better with specific carries.

Pros

  • Truly birth to toddler (and beyond!)
  • Most versatile option
  • Multi-user friendly
  • Ergonomic
  • Safe to use on front, back and hip
  • Many options for colours and fabric blends
  • Adaptable with the use of sling rings

Cons

  • A long length of fabric can be daunting
  • Steeper learning curve
  • Long ends can dangle on the ground when tying

 

Ring Slings

  

Ring slings are a length of fabric with 2 rings sewn into one end. When the fabric is threaded it creates a pouch for the baby/child to sit in, and is worn over one shoulder.

Pros

  • Quick and easy to use when user knows how to put on comfortably
  • Another true birth-toddler option
  • 2 can be used to create an adjustible 2 shoulder carry
  • Expert users can use for back carries
  • Folds up small

Cons

  • Steeper learning curve – commonly perceived to be an easy option by looks alone
  • Small margin for error comfort-wise
  • Not usually comfortable for use over long periods of time due to being one-shouldered

 

Pouches

A length of fabric sewn together to form a pouch, which baby/child then sits in. One shoulder carrier.

Pros

  • Quick and easy to use
  • Folds up small
  • Adjustible pouches can fit multiple users

Cons

  • Less adjustibility than a ring sling
  • Sized pouches generally fit only one wearer
  • Not suitable for back carries
  • Not usually comfortable for use over long periods of time due to being one-shouldered

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