Guide to summaries
The Summaries give detailed information on each of the carriers we assessed. They include information on prices, sizes and features and our disabled parents' ratings for ease of use. These are the aspects of using carriers that our parents tested.
Putting carrier on and Getting baby in and out
The ways of putting on each carrier are listed in its summary - the most popular method for our parents first. Putting on and getting the baby in are separately rated but can be related. Generally parents had more difficulty putting the carrier on then lifting the baby in, because the baby has to be lifted high then lowered into a confined space. This could be painful or even impossible if you have limited movement of your arms or shoulders. If part of the carrier is put on then the rest lifted up with the baby, this can be done on your lap and involves no high lifting. For tips on putting on, see framed back carriers and there is information on fastenings.
Comfort for parent
This was a major factor in parents' overall rating of each carrier. Positioning of the baby's weight affected both comfort and balance. Wide and padded shoulder and waist straps were the most comfortable.
How tiring and Weight of carrier
Related but separately rated because weight is not the whole story with tiredness. Many disabled parents, particularly those with walking difficulties, found using the carriers tiring. Distribution of the baby's weight was again important. Carriers in which the baby could move around caused a lot of tiredness.
They varied a lot in size, length and level of detail. Complaints from parents included drawings being difficult to follow, difficulty finding the bit of information they wanted and some instructions not being clearly written. Small print size was a particular problem for partially sighted parents, along with coloured text that was difficult to see. Many testers found instructions given in more than one language confusing.
Comfort for baby
Although rated by parents, babies made clear their feelings about a carrier - sleeping to show approval when very young and smiling and chattering when a little older. Size affects the baby's comfort. The age and/or weight ranges in the Summaries were stated by manufacturers. Our trials suggest that some were overstated - your baby may well grow out of them before they reach the upper limits.
Parents were asked if they felt confident their baby was secure in each carrier.
Only a few mothers tried breast feeding their baby in a carrier - see the Summaries for which manufacturers suggest it is possible. The front carriers needed adjustment and manoeuvring of baby and self. The Huggababy sling was liked best for feeding.
At the end of each assessment we asked parents for their overall rating of the carrier and whether they would be happy to use it regularly. For what influenced their ratings, see the Buying guide.
Framed back carriers
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