Do you hate pushing your pram through crowds? How about over uneven surfaces?
How many times have you had to carry your baby or toddler and push a pram and a nappy bag?
There’s a reason that Baby & Toddler Carrier Backpacks (sometimes called Child Carriers) are the hottest product this year. They’re a great way to take your baby or toddler on adventures with you without needing to worry about pushing a pram or stroller or even taking a nappy bag with you.
They’re perfect for hiking, going to the beach, or even just taking the dog for a walk. Pretty much anything you want to do that’s either difficult with a pram or where you need to keep your little one under control.
They’re also great for giving your little one an elevated view at locations like the zoo. Not to mention not pushing a pram around crowded areas.
Keep in mind that these products are for babies and toddlers who can support their own head and neck. Most carriers have a minimum age of around 6 months. They're not for newborns.
Here are the items to consider when buying a Baby Carrier Backpack;
- What activity do you want to use it for?
- Carry weight
- Padding and comfort features (for child and for parent)
- Accessories and add-ons
- Check standards testing
I’ll run you through each of these;
1. What activity do you want to use it for?
This is the first question to ask, as there are a couple of different types of carriers around.
a) The first are the Hiking carriers.
These are generally the larger carriers, with lots of features and intended for use when hiking or trekking.
Here are a couple of the best ones;
b) The second type are the Compact carriers.
Also sometimes known as ‘urban’ carriers. These are the smaller models, which usually have a few less features but are also less expensive. They’re more for taking on a day trip to the zoo, the shops or just for walking the dog.
Here are a couple of the best ones;
So, once you’ve decided on which carrier type suits you and your lifestyle, as well as your budget, you can start looking at the features of each carrier.
2. How much weight can it carry?
Each carrier will have a maximum allowable carry weight. So make sure to check your baby or toddler’s weight and take into account how long they will be able to ride in the carrier.
As this varies greatly with little ones, you might find that one carrier is more suitable than another due to it’s allowable carry weight.
Do keep in mind though that once toddlers start to get too heavy for the carry limits, physically carrying them on your back does become very hard. Not to mention, when they’re getting older they may not want to ride in the carrier as much either.
3. What padding and comfort features does it have? (for both child and for parent)
This one can be a function of price. The more expensive carriers are generally the ones with the most padding and have additional comfort features like a pillow for baby.
We recommend checking the padding both for the wearer and for the passenger (baby). The padding on the shoulder and waist straps is what will ultimately dictate how long you can comfortably wear your carrier.
You’ll just have to check each product for the amount of padding they have.
4. How much storage does it have?
This one is very subjective depending on what you want to use your carrier for. Many of the hiking carriers have very minimal storage pockets/sections to keep their weight down. This means thought, that you may need to take another bag with you.
Check each product for their storage solutions. The solution we find the most helpful are waist belt pockets for easy access.
5. Does it come with accessories and add-ons
Most of the carriers on the market have accessories that can be bought separately. Some have them included.
In our opinion, a sun shade for baby is an absolute must-have.
Rain covers can also be very handy if you’re planning on taking your little one out for a long period of time.
BONUS: make sure that it complies with international standards testing
Check to make sure that the carrier is tested and certified to international standard IS EN 13209-1:2004. This means that it has undergone testing and is compliant with international safety standards.
So now that you know what to look for, off you go to buy your perfect carrier.
When you do get yours home though, here are the 7 things you need to know before you start in order to get the most enjoyment and comfort out of it.
Our top tips when using a Baby Carrier Backpack;
- Make sure you read the instructions! These products can be a bit complicated as there are a number of points to adjust. Both for baby and for you. Not to mention making sure that everyone is safe when using it.
- Have someone help you put baby in the carrier and then on your back for the first few uses. When you know how everything works and how to balance yourself you can try doing it yourself.
- Check that the straps are tight and not damaged prior to every use.
- When walking with the carrier on, be extra careful of your footing so you don’t slip. You’re carrying a lot of extra weight, so your balance will be different than you are used to.
- Take extra care when putting the carrier on and taking it off. This is how most falls happen using these types of products.
- Be conscious of overhead hazards and how high up your baby’s head is when in the carrier.
- Consider the strain of carrying your baby. Make you’re in good physical shape and start with short trips to get used to the weight.
NEVER use these products when running, playing sport or anything other than walking. These things can be very dangerous for the baby.
Here's our snapshot of the features of each model mentioned above.