Babies love and need close contact, and back carriers are ideal for nestling them against their parents. Most injuries that occur with carriers result from falls. Two types of carriers are available: one is pouch-like, and the other has a frame.
What to look for:
- The carrier should have straps that prevent your baby from falling or crawling out. Look for firm, padded head support. Try to match your baby's size and weight and make sure there is enough depth to support the back and that the leg openings are small enough to prevent your baby from slipping out.
- Check for ease of use. Some of the soft ones are difficult to put on because of numerous straps.
- A framed carrier should have a kickstand that locks in the open position. The folding mechanism should be free of pinch points that could catch your baby's fingers. Look for padding on the metal frame around the infant's face.
- Try the pack on for comfort, both with the baby in it and without.
- Ideally, the fabric should be durable with strong stitching or large heavy fasteners to prevent slippage.
- Pockets or zippered compartments are handy for storing frequently needed items.
- Never use a framed carrier before your infant is 4 to 5 months old, and don't use it as an infant seat. It can tip over without warning.
- Use restraining straps at all times if your carrier has them.
- If you need to lean over, bend from the knees rather than the waist to prevent the baby from falling out of the carrier.
- Check the carrier periodically to look for loose fasteners or ripped seams.
Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: February 2010
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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.