How the test was made
We carry out all of the tests ourselves and test everything in real conditions. Our baby carriers have been tested by several different families with both men and women of varying sizes and heights carrying their children. We have asked families with newborn infants to use the carriers, but also to carry children of pre-school age, as long as they do not exceed the maximum weight of the carrier. We have looked closely at the following aspects of each baby carrier:
Wearing comfort for the adult: how well is the load distributed over the body, is most of the weight on the hip/stomach or shoulders and are the carrier straps padded?
Sitting comfort for the child: is the child in a good position, is there support for the head and neck and space enough for a bigger child to sit comfortably?
Functions: how easy are the carrier’s straps and buckles to use, is it easy to understand how to put on and take off the carrier, and is there sun protection, storage pockets or any other useful details?
In our scoring of the baby carriers, we have also weighted in the choice of material, price, maximum weight and the wearing positions in which the carrier can be used.
In the ERGObaby 360, you can carry your child in four different ergonomic ways. Towards your stomach, facing forwards, on your back or hip. And that’s probably the record for a single baby carrier. The carrier also works for infants if you buy a special insert. The seat the child sits in is shell-shaped and supports an ergonomic C-shaped spine, regardless of how the child is carried. Make sure that the child’s bottom is in the shell and not on the upper edge of the hip belt, which can be uncomfortable. The child has a good view, even when the neck support is in use. The neck support can be folded down and can be fastened out of the way in this position.
You put the baby carrier on by attaching the hip belt with velcro around the hips, and then fastening the safety strap. Then you place the child into the carrier and put on the shoulder straps, then buckle them behind your neck. If you have a stiff neck it can be difficult to reach this buckle. By adjusting the length of the shoulder straps, you can decide how close to your body you want the child, which is a useful feature. Because the child sits in the frog position, it’s easy to sit down without the child’s legs getting in the way. It’s easy to place the child against your chest – a little more difficult to put the baby carrier against your back. We recommend that you watch ERGObaby’s instruction videos online and practice.
The wide velcro band of the hip belt gives the test’s best weight distribution. Because the seat is attached across the whole of the front of the hip belt, the child’s weight is effectively distributed around the hips. The disadvantage with velcro is that it can be difficult to adjust the hip belt with the child in, and it’s very noisy when you take off the belt, which can wake a sleeping child. The velcro can also damage clothes if you aren’t careful. The baby carrier has a sun and nursing hood which also gives some protection so that you don’t spill things on the child, but it doesn’t provide any protection against hot liquid. The hood can be packed away into a neat pocket when it’s not being used, which keeps the baby carrier looking tidy. The ERGObaby 360 can be adjusted well to the height of the person carrying it. However, it’s a little more difficult to adjust the neck buckle height. In summary, this is one of our favourite baby carriers. There are a number of additional accessories you can buy, such as a wind and rain hood, a fleece lining and shoulder strap protection.
ERGObaby’s baby carriers are quite rightly very popular and have become known for their ergonomics and top class carrying comfort. With Adapt, the brand has listened to users’ desires for a carrier which can be used from birth without a separate infant insert. The disadvantage would then have been that a baby carrier for a newborn of 3 kg would quickly be outgrown when the child got older. But Adapt works just as well for a one-year-old and has a maximum weight of 20 kg. This means that the potential period of use is very long. The ERGObaby Adapt has an adjustable waist belt with a backplate that distributes the weight well. The straps are long and the Adapt works well for bodies of different sizes. Using the Adapt, you can carry the child in three positions: on your stomach, on your hip and on your back.
The shoulder straps can be attached parallel or crossed. When worn crossed, the straps give good weight distribution. This particularly applies when carrying smaller children, as the crossed shoulder straps give better support and an excellent fit for the baby’s body. And of course the Adapt’s panel is soft enough for the child to sit with the spine in the desired C-shape and to allow the baby’s bottom to sink down so that the body is in an ergonomically correct frog position. The base of the panel can be adapted to the child’s length by attaching velcro at different points. The instructions are very helpful. The width of the panel can also be adjusted with snap fasteners. This means that it's easy to get the Adapt to grow with the child, without a big step between one size position and the next. The clever upper edge can be folded and attached in a number of different ways. This works very well both for letting the child see out and for providing good neck support when the child is sleeping and the neck isn’t yet stable.
Even if you're used to a baby carrier, you may feel that the Adapt needs to be broken in during the initial period. The shoulder straps initially feel a bit stiff and have a tendency to slip. But with use the carrier softens up and with a newborn it also helps when the child gets a little heavier. One tip can be to wash the baby carrier to speed up the process. Once it’s worn in, the Adapt is a fantastic baby carrier which allows you to carry your child for a whole day without feeling it either in your shoulders or back. Compared with the ERGObaby 360, some users may wish it was possible to carry the child facing forward, but if you don’t need that function the ERGObaby Adapt is one of the very best baby carriers, and it’s a purchase that new parents won’t regret.
An updated version of one of our favourites, the BabyBjörn One, was released in autumn 2015, with many of the issues fixed for which the previous One had received criticism – both from us and others. The new One is a little better all round and feels even more well designed. The shoulder straps have reinforced padding, the buckles are angled differently to make it easier to use them when you're inserting the child into the carrier, and the hip belt is more stable. The zips on the BabyBjörn One can now be locked in different positions, so it’s easier to adjust the baby carrier on the basis of the child’s needs and size. The child can sit facing you, facing forwards or on your back in this flexible baby carrier. The carrier is suitable for all conceivable situations – both inside and outside the home. It’s extremely easy to adjust for people of different heights and widths. The waist belt and the padded shoulder straps provide extremely good weight distribution to counteract aches in the shoulders and back. The carrier also has a practical, easily adjusted built-in infant insert for newborns. No fiddling about with removable inserts required – you can quickly get the baby positioned against your body. However, a child who has just outgrown the infant position ends up relatively low down in the carrier, in the normal carrying position. When you remove the child from the carrier, you don’t need to lift them up to open the buckles, which is useful if the child has fallen asleep.
The BabyBjörn One has a number of clever functions, such as silk on the inside of the belt, which makes it easy to rotate the carrier if you want the child on your back instead. It’s safe to move the child to your back because the neck buckle means that you can’t drop the child as you rotate the carrier. Overall the baby carrier is extremely well sewn, with a high quality feel in all details. There is a neck protector which can be folded down when it’s not required. However, it does ride up by itself on occasion, as there’s no way of fastening it down. Buttons for this would have been useful. We would also have liked to see some kind of protection for the plastic buckles on the shoulder straps, as the child’s head can come to rest against them if you sit down while the child is asleep.
You put on the BabyBjörn One baby carrier by climbing into it with one side buckle done up. After this you tighten the hip buckle, place the child in the carrier and then do up the remaining buckles. The hip belt fastens simply behind your back with a hook, and you can easily tighten it by pulling forwards. This is all very quick and makes the BabyBjörn One the first choice when you want to quickly get the child into place close to your body. If the baby carrier gets dirty you can wash it at 40 degrees. A number of accessories are available for the baby carrier, such as a wind and water resistant fleece cover and a bib. This is a fantastic baby carrier which is well worth its price.
The BabyBjörn We is a simplified and lighter version of the BabyBjörn One. The major difference is that the BabyBjörn We doesn’t allow you to carry your baby facing forward, and that you can only open the baby carrier from the right-hand side. If you don’t need these functions, this is a very good and affordable alternative to the BabyBjörn One
You put on the baby carrier by climbing into it and then tightening the hip belt. The child is inserted from the right and you fasten the buckle on the right-hand side, followed by the chest strap. The side buckle can be tricky to find, so better guidance would have been nice. The hip belt is fastened behind your back with a hook, which makes it very easy to both fasten and open. However, the buckle is very safe and also quiet. It’s easy to tighten the hip belt as it requires a forward movement. The belt has silk on the inside, which makes it easy to rotate the carrier if you want the child on your back instead. If you want to use the carrier for an infant, you can easily adjust the size of the bucket seat with a zip. The neck protection can’t be folded down, although this isn’t important as the child can only be carried facing you.
When you take the child out of the baby carrier, you press the child against yourself to open the buckles. This movement is least disruptive if the child has fallen asleep. If you want the child on your back, it’s easy and safe to move the carrier. The back strap ensures that you don’t drop the child during the process. The carrier is pleasant to wear as a result of its broad, soft padded shoulder straps. The back strap can be adjusted both vertically and widthways so the baby carrier is easy to fit for different wearers. The BabyBjörn We is also equipped with loops into which you can insert the straps. The material of the baby carrier is soft and gentle and the carrier is suitable for hot days as the child can sit in it in just a nappy without coming into contact with sharp seams or edges. There are a number of accessories you can buy, such as a wind and water resistant fleece cover and bib.
The BabyBjörn Original is our budget favourite. It’s also the lightest and most compact baby carrier in the test, which makes it perfect if you’re planning a trip. The fabric is soft and gentle on the child’s skin and the baby carrier doesn’t lose its shape even if you squash it up. The child has a very good view of the surrounding world and the neck protection gives good support for sleeping babies. If you have a sleeping child in the baby carrier it’s really easy to lay them down as you can unbutton the entire seating part and lay it down together with the child. In the test, we found that this was actually the best baby carrier for this manoeuvre, which is a lifesaver for many parents of small children.
You put on the baby carrier by putting on the back straps and then tightening it over your stomach. You can insert the child from any direction and then you tighten up the chest straps. You can adjust the seating height against your body using buckles under the armpits. We think that the baby carrier is easy to put on and adjust. However, it hasn’t many different position options. The child sits in the baby carrier with hanging legs, either facing forwards or towards your chest. If you want to sit down with the child in the carrier, you have to fold the child’s legs to the side. The manual with the baby carrier is the best in test with clear images and instructions, which makes it easy to understand how the baby carrier should be used. The baby carrier also has two reflectors on the seat, which is useful if you’re using it in the dark.
There are a number of accessories you can buy, such as a wind and water resistant fleece cover and bib. In summary, the price is low, the quality is high and the baby carrier has been well designed. However, if you’re going to use the baby carrier for long periods we recommend a model with a hip belt. In addition, the BabyBjörn Original is only suitable for children up to 11 kg, which limits how long you can use it. The attractive price and simplicity mean that we think this is absolutely ideal as a travel carrier or extra carrier.
The ERGObaby Performance Baby Carrier is a very light baby carrier that can be used for children up to 20 kg. It’s the most compact baby carrier with a waist belt in the test and is only slightly more bulky than the BabyBjörn Original (which doesn’t have a waist belt). The baby carrier is available in different materials, with the mesh version being our favourite as it’s fantastically flexible. The model is extremely well sewn and has reinforced seams and edges that softly follow the anatomy of the child. However, the actual fabric can feel slightly rough if the baby is naked. The material breathes well and the ERGObaby Performance is therefore good for hot days. It’s also very effective in the winter as the carrier’s thin, flexible material works well with thick clothes on both child and parents.
You put on the baby carrier by attaching the hip belt around your hips. You then insert the child into the carrier and put on the shoulder straps, which you then attach around your neck. Unlike the other ERGObaby models in the test, it’s very easy to adjust the neck support vertically, which is very practical if the carriers are different heights. However, it can be difficult to fasten the neck buckle if you are at all stiff. The hip belt is wide and stable. All of the straps have loops so that they can be fastened out of the way when the baby carrier has been adjusted. It’s easy to put the child in the carrier on your chest, but slightly more difficult if the carrier is going on your back. We recommend that you watch the instruction videos online and practice.
The baby carrier has no neck support, which means that you need to support the child’s head, for example if you are moving forwards quickly while bent over. The seat has a clever pocket for keys, your wallet or phone together with a pocket for the sun and nursing hood. You can buy a number of different accessories, for example a wind and rain hood. For small babies, you have to buy an infant insert, but as you can carry children up to 20 kg, this baby carrier is likely to be used for a long time, which is a major plus point.
In this well sewn baby carrier, the child sits with hanging legs. The carrier has a useful backplate that distributes the weight across the back. In many ways, this carrier is similar to the BabyBjörn Original, with the Miracles backplate and waist belt being the major differences. Out of the baby carriers where the child sits with hanging legs, this one has the best distribution of weight despite the fact that it has a waist belt rather than a hip belt. The shoulder straps are broad and thin, which means that you carry the child comfortably without getting too hot. It’s easy to move in the baby carrier without any chafing and the child will be comfortable even if you are active at home or in the garden.
To put on the BabyBjörn Miracle, you put on the back plate and then fasten it across the stomach. The child can then be inserted from any direction. You then fasten up the chest buckles and tighten the straps under the armpits. You can choose whether to have the neck support up or down. If the child falls asleep, you can easily lay them down as the entire seating part can be unfastened and laid down with the child. However, the buckles over the stomach are rather tough and some of our testers found it difficult to open them. If you’re going to sit down with the child, you must always remember to fold the child’s legs out of the way when they are hanging.
A measuring tape shows that you have the right position for the child’s height, which makes it easy and intuitive to get it exactly right. If you are tall, you should adjust the back length so that you have the crossed part of the back further down. It can be awkward to adjust this crossed part with a child in the carrier, so it’s easiest to do this before you insert the child. You can buy a number of accessories, such as a wind and water resistant fleece cover and bib. If you’re going to carry the child for longer periods, we don’t think that the waist belt is enough to distribute the weight comfortably, so we recommend instead a baby carrier with a hip belt, such as the BabyBjörn We.
ERGObaby, which originates in Hawaii, has long been one of the leading manufacturers of baby carriers where the baby sits in the frog position. The Original Bundle Of Joy is the original model and has now been on the market for 10 years. In comparison with ERGObaby’s later models, it’s clear that the original is a few years old, primarily in terms of finish and choice of materials. The shoulder straps feel a little clumsy, but are comfortable when carrying a heavy weight. There is a sun and nursing hood that also protects the child against spills. However, it does not provide protection against hot liquids. The nursing hood can be partially concealed in a simple pocket when it is not in use. However, it doesn’t look as neat as on the ERGObaby Performance or 360, as the pocket has a zip.
To carry small children you need an infant insert, which is the same for all ERGObaby models. However, the baby carrier has a number of intelligent functions like a large pocket for storage and loops on the straps so that they can be fastened out of the way. The fabric is 100% cotton and is gentle and soft on the baby’s skin. The hip belt is wide and comfortable at the front but can be too wide when you bend over or sit down. It would also have been easier to tighten the belt if this was done using a forward movement, instead of a backward movement which requires more strength.
You put on the baby carrier by tightening the hip belt, inserting the child into the seat and then putting on the shoulder straps, which are fastened around the neck. You can adapt the baby carrier to the wearer’s height, but the neck buckle is a little bit tough to adjust vertically. It can also be difficult to get at the neck buckle if you have stiff shoulders. It’s very easy to put the child on your chest. The child has a good view once in the carrier. However, remember that the carrier has no neck support, so if for example you are moving fast you must support the child’s head with a hand. If you intend to put the carrier on your back, we recommend that you look at the instruction films online. You can use the baby carrier for a long time because it can cope with a weight of up to 20 kg. A number of accessories are available, such as a wind and rain hood, fleece lining and shoulder strap protectors.
This is the simplest baby carrier in the test, with few different position options, which means that it’s very quick to put on. In principle, you put on the baby carrier as if it was a vest. Simplicity is practical if more than one person in the family will be carrying the child. However, this also means that you lose the adjustment opportunities which mean that you can wear the carrier for a long time, and it is primarily in the upper back that this functionality is lacking. The Britax Baby Carrier is similar to the BabyBjörn Original in design, although it lacks side buckles and back adjustment, but has been supplemented with a hip belt. If the child falls asleep in the carrier, it is difficult to remove the child without them waking due to the absence of side buckles.
You put the baby carrier on over your head before tightening the hip belt around your body and then inserting the child from above and doing up the chest buckles. The child can be carried facing you or facing forwards, with a good view in either position. It’s easy to adjust the shoulder straps so that the child is in a comfortable position. However, the hip belt doesn’t relieve the weight as well as several of the other models in the test because it sags somewhat when it’s under load. It would have been even easier to tighten the hip belt if this involved pulling forwards. The shoulder straps are solid and thin, which means that the carrier is comfortable to wear with only a thin top beneath. A towelling bib is included, and this can easily be removed for washing. We would like to see this generosity from other manufacturers. You can also buy extra bibs.
When the child is sitting with their legs hanging, you must remember to fold them out of the way before sitting down. For larger children you can purchase a seat insert so that the child can also sit in the frog position. Overall, this is an attractive baby carrier at a low price. However, we think that there are other baby carriers where you get more for the money as this one really lacks the option to adjust the carrier at the neck and open it at the side.
Carrying a child in a baby carrier
When you carry your child in a baby carrier, there are a few useful things to think about. For the security of the child, you should never drink hot drinks while you have the baby resting on your stomach. Also, be sure to always follow the height recommendations for the baby carrier, otherwise you risk the child getting uncomfortable pins and needles in their legs.
In many of the baby carriers, you can turn the child to face forward when it gets a little bigger, but you should never turn the child before they have a strong, stable neck. A good tip if you have a child who often vomits is to fasten a cloth or towel between you and the baby carrier to minimise unexpected accidents.
Position in the baby carrier
Baby carriers allow you to carry your child in different positions. One position is called the “frog position”, and this means that the baby sits with the hips angled forwards and with the knees at the same height as the hips. The child’s spine should be slightly bent into a C-shape. Another way for the child to sit is with their legs hanging free. Different baby carriers give you different opportunities to carry the child in the various positions.
You can often resell a baby carrier in good condition when you no longer need it. The amount you receive will depend on the condition and model. It’s usual to get more for a well-known brand. The second-hand value for a baby carrier can be up to about £50.
All baby carriers in our test can be washed in a machine. However, the wash temperature varies. If you know that your child vomits often, it may be useful to be able to wash the carrier at a slightly higher temperature. And of course the fact that the baby carrier can be cleaned completely is also relevant for the second-hand value.
There are a number of different standards for baby carriers, such as ASTM, JPMA, CPSIA and the European standard, EN13209-2:2005. These standardisations indicate that the products fulfil certain safety requirements and have been certified after having undergone safety tests.