Using a baby carrier is for so much more than just the convenience of having both hands free. Carrying your baby close to your body has been shown to soothe and help baby relax. At the same time, having baby close is strengthening the bond between parent and child.
Today’s infant and toddler baby carriers are available in a vast array of styles, sizes, and price points. It’s a given that choosing one might be a difficult undertaking. To serve as a guide as you sift through all the information available on best baby carrier types and models, here is a list of our top 5 baby carriers:
Top 5 Baby Carriers
Keep reading for detailed top baby carrier reviews so you can see which models and features parents like best.
With over 30 different toddler and infant baby carriers in their line of offerings, Ergobaby is a premium baby product company that started with a mother’s desire to keep her baby close and comfortable. The Ergobaby Four Position 360 Baby Carrier is one of their most popular options, ergonomically designed to cradle baby in a natural seated position while evenly distributing baby’s weight between your shoulders and hips. Other features include:
- Versatility with four comfortable ways to wear baby: front inward-facing, front outward-facing, hip-carrying, and back-carrying positions
- Structured bucket seat that ergonomically seats baby with knees at the same level or above hips, and spine in a curved “C” shape. The seat width can be adjusted for baby’s size.
- Wide Velcro waistband, comfortable whether worn high or low on the parent’s waist, and provides support for the lower back
- Protractible back panel that can be rolled up or down, depending on whether baby is in outward- or inward-facing position, and provides baby with extra head, neck, and back support
- Padded shoulder straps to help distribute baby’s weight and optimize parent comfort
- Can accommodate a 7-12-pound infant (with additional newborn insert) up to a 33-pound child
The Ergobaby Four Position 360 Baby Carrier is versatile and secure, and one of the few carriers that maintain the ergonomic “frog-seated” position in both inward-facing and outward-facing modes. The deep seat is an added bonus for baby’s comfort, while the padded shoulder straps and wide waistband ensure exceptional comfort for parents. Though this carrier is in the upper price range, most parents felt that it was well worth the cost with its high-quality construction, secure hold, ease of use, and sleek look. The snap strap at the back may be a little hard to reach for some, but the overall comfort and support offered by this carrier more than make up for it.
Started in 1961 by Bjorn Jakobson, BABYBJORN has a reputation for high-quality, safe, and innovative baby products. Updated in 2015, the BABYBJORN Baby Carrier One is their latest design, and it features four ergonomic carrying options and exceptional comfort for both baby and parent. This baby carrier also comes with:
- Sturdy waistband to support child’s weight on your hips, and padded shoulder straps to ensure comfort for your back whether you’re carrying a newborn or a toddler
- Four ergonomic carrying modes (infant, front inward-facing, front outward-facing, and back-carrying) which can be used in either the wide-leg or standard position
- 12-inch-wide seat for wide-leg position and maximum comfort for baby
- Quick-release clasps at the front and top of carrier
- Tested and acknowledged by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute as a “hip-healthy” baby carrier, meaning it provides the proper support to baby’s hips and angles the legs outwards, enouraging normal hip joint development
- Can securely accommodate an 8-pound newborn (no infant insert required) and transition with a growing child, up to 3 years old, or 33 pounds. Note that your baby must be at least 5 months old for the front outward-facing position, and at least 12 months old for back carrying.
- Innovative feature that lets you safely move baby from a front carry to a back carry while still in the carrier
- Soft, machine-washable fabric composed of 60% cotton and 40% polyester, with a 100% cotton lining, all of which meet both European and American safety standards and are certified to be free from hazardous substances
An overall high-quality, well-structured carrier, the BABYBJORN Baby Carrier One is easy to use, supports baby exceptionally well, and is comfortable to wear in all positions and for many hours on the go. Though it is priced quite high, and may not have an ideal fit for petite parents, we do love its ergonomic design, durability, and easy-to-use buckles, which allowed us to quickly and quietly remove our sleeping baby undisturbed.
The second Ergobaby carrier in our top 5 list, the Ergobaby Original 3 Position Baby Carrier has the company’s signature comfort and ergonomics, all wrapped up in a reasonable price. Some of the carrier’s standout features:
- Ergonomic design ensures baby is supported in a natural sitting position and promotes proper hip development
- Three carrying positions: front, back, and hip
- Padded shoulder straps and waistband provide equal weight distribution between your hips and shoulders for optimum comfort
- Accommodates infants from 7 pounds (with the ERGObaby infant insert) all the way up to a 45-pound (or 4-year-old) child
- Extendable sleep hood that can be pulled up to support a sleeping baby’s head
Overall, the Ergobaby Original 3 Position Baby Carrier gives you great value for the price, and will provide years of use as your child grows. Though it does not allow an outward-facing position for baby, parents still appreciate that it is comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time, and that, thanks to the attached hood, baby can nurse in it as well.
Infantino has been creating innovative baby products for decades, prioritizing safety, enjoyment, and the use of harm-free materials. Their Infantino Cuddle Up Ergonomic Hoodie Carrier is not only full of features, it’s cute and stylish with its hoodie-inspired design. Its features include:
- Wide, ergonomic seat which supports baby’s hips for correct hip development
- Curved back structure for knee-to-knee support and ultimate comfort
- Removable, teddy-bear-styled canopy hood that protects baby from the sun while keeping him or her in full sight
- Easily-adjustable, padded shoulder straps and wide waistband that helps transfer baby’s weight to parent’s hips
- Two carrying positions: front inward-facing and backpack-style, both of which offer ergonomic support
- Securely and comfortably accommodates a 12-pound baby up to a 40-pound child
- Convenient, hoodie-like pockets for parents to use
A well-made and comfortable carrier, the Infantino Cuddle Up Ergonomic Hoodie Carrier earns bonus points for its budget-friendly price. Although its carrying positions are limited to inward-facing only, parents really like its snug, close fit, its ease of use, and that it can be adjusted to fit petite moms as well.
Another great Infantino carrier in our top 5, the Infantino Flip Front 2 Back Carrier is a light and breatheable carrier with all the safety features you’d expect from this brand. The carrier comes with:
- Three carrying positions: inward-facing front, outward-facing front, and backpack-style
- Adjustable padded shoulder straps and lumbar support belt for comfortable, all-day wear
- Adaptable chest straps for a snug fit
- Airy BreatheMesh fabric for maximum ventilation in warmer weather
- Accommodates an 8-pound infant up to a 32-pound child
- Convenient and removable WonderCover bib, which protects the carrier and your clothing
- Detachable sides so you can easily remove your sleeping baby
- Storage pockets
The Infantino Flip Front 2 Back Carrier is a popular choice at an economical price. Parents comment on how easy it is to put on and to remove, and how comfortable it is even when toting a 30-pound child. Taller parents like the carrier’s fit, but some petite adults may find it not as well-suited for their frame.
Choosing the Best Baby Carrier
What is a Baby Carrier?
There are many ways to transport your baby, but only a baby carrier can give you and your baby those nurturing feelings of warmth and closeness that come with close physical contact. A baby carrier is a secure pouch that cuddles your child against your body, leaving your hands free and allowing you to take care of everyday tasks or stroll through crowded places. Most babies love to be carried this way, as they find your warm presence and the rocking motion of your movements soothing and comforting. Studies have also shown that wearing your baby in a carrier promotes bonding with parents and lowers mom’s risk for postpartum depression.
A baby carrier is a handy additon to your baby gear collection, whether it’s used instead of a stroller or travel system, or in conjunction with other modes of transport for times when strollers are just too bulky or cumbersome, or even when you just want to enjoy the feeling of having your baby close to you.
Most baby carriers offer different carrying positions for each stage of baby’s development. In general, babies 0-5 months old should be facing inward for proper neck and head support, and for the added bonus of parent-infant bonding. Once babies are able to support their own head, usually at 5+ months, they can face outward, giving them an exciting view to enjoy. Children 12 months and older can ride safely and comfortably in the back-carrying position.
Baby Carrier Features to Look For
When shopping for a baby carrier for your infant or toddler, there are several factors to consider that may determine the type of carrier that best suits your needs:
- Front carrying vs. back carrying. A carrier you wear on your front is best suited for newborns and younger babies, as they provide better neck and back support for baby, and allow you to hold your little one against you while keeping a close eye on him or her. Because they are used primarily for the early months, front carriers outgrow their usefulness quicker than back carriers, and can become uncomfortable as baby’s weight increases. In comparison, a back carrier is used for babies who can support their heads and sit up on their own. Because these carriers are stronger and more structured, they can usually accommodate children up to 3 or 4 years of age. Finally, multi-way carriers can transition from front- to back-carrying, or even hip-carrying, as baby grows. They are versatile and convenient, but may not have as much support as conventional back carriers.
- Parental use. It’s important to consider who will be using the baby carrier: just you, or both you and your partner? If you will be the only one, then look for a carrier that fits your frame comfortably and has the shoulder straps and lumber support that meets your requirements. If you both will be using it, then you should opt for a carrier that can be easily adjusted for your different heights and shapes.
- Intended use. Do you plan to use your baby carrier to run quick errands, or to take long walks? Will you be using it in the hot, summer months? Do you need storage to hold your miscellaneous items? Will you nurse your baby in the carrier? Do you plan to use it for several months or years? All of these considerations will determine whether you need a light, breatheable carrier, or a stronger, more structured model; a carrier for younger babies, or one that will fit your child for several years; a few basic features, or a longer list of requirements.
- Many parents choose multi-way carriers that can transition from front-carrying to back-carrying, but some may prefer more specialized carriers that suit specific stages of baby’s growth. For example, structured back carriers are the safest and most comfortable choice for hiking with a toddler.
- Baby’s safety. Probably the most important consideration, your baby’s safety in a carrier is maximized with adequate support (see next point), a high back, a deep seat, and an upright position that ensures baby’s airway is always unobstructed.
- Adequate support. This is particularly important for infants and younger babies. Many baby carriers can be used from birth and include extra head, neck, and back support or an ergonomic seat design, so look for these features if you want to use one for your newborn.
- Parent’s comfort. The most comfortable baby carriers are those that evenly distribute baby’s weight via padded shoulder straps and a wide waistband. Light, breatheable fabric is a contributing factor in comfort as well.
- Ease of use. Will you be able to put the baby carrier on or take it off by yourself? Some models require you to fit your baby into the pouch before you attach it to your harness, while others allow you to wear the harness and pouch before sliding baby in. Either way, there are a variety of straps, loops, clips, and fasteners that you might need to navigate. The best way to find a carrier that works for you is to try some of them on before you purchase one.
- Ease of cleaning. Baby carriers that can be thrown in the washing machine and then the dryer just make life easier for busy, tired parents.
For many parents, baby carriers are an essential item for taking baby with you on the go, while having hands-free convenience and promoting closeness between parent and child. There are so many baby carrier styles, models, and features on the market, so be sure to take your time investigating all the options and reading reviews like ours so you can make the perfect choice for your little one.