In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Chicco SmartSupport Review

A bare-bones carrier that functions well for a quick errand or some cleaning around the house, as it does not offer any storage compartments for longer outings.
Chicco SmartSupport
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Price:   $130 List
Pros:  Low price-point, simple design, included sunshade
Cons:  Minimal padding, no hydration reservoir, no storage
Manufacturer:   Chicco
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team  ⋅  Dec 10, 2014
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30
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Parent Comfort - 30% 3
  • Storage - 25% 0
  • Child Comfort - 20% 4
  • Ease of Use - 15% 5
  • Safety - 10% 5

The Skinny

The Chicco SmartSupport has been discontinued.

The Chicco SmartSupport is the only baby backpack offered by the company. Although this backpack can support up to a 40-pound child, we found it's simplistic design to be a little too simple. With it's lack of storage and sun/rain protection, we feel it would be best to use this backpack for shorter amounts of time, especially if outdoors and exposed to the elements. The padding for mom and dad was not the most lush, but it gets the job done. If you are looking for a simple, short-term use backpack, consider this pack. If you'd like a backpack with more features at a similar price point, be sure to check out our review of the Kelty Junction 2.0.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Chicco is an Italian baby care brand established in 1958. They are a one-stop-shop, manufacturing everything from socks to complete travel systems. Their products are sold in over 120 countries worldwide.

The SmartSupport is a value-priced, aluminum-framed backpack carrier that can hold a child from 17-40 pounds. It was one of our most lightweight backpacks, weighing in at just about 6 ½ pounds. It offers a kickstand for easy loading and unloading, as well as a neutral black and grey color pallette. Read on to see what we really thought of this pack.

Performance Comparison



Parent Comfort


The waist belt of the Chicco was much narrower than most  and adjusted to one side  causing the buckle to be off center on the torso.
The waist belt of the Chicco was much narrower than most, and adjusted to one side, causing the buckle to be off center on the torso.
This pack earned a 3 of 10 for Parent Comfort. Although the SmartSupport does have some padding in the shoulders and lumbar region, it is minimal compared to the other packs we tested and just didn't offer us the most comfortable carry. For a backpack with great padding, check out the Kelty Journey 2.0. Also, there is no torso adjustment, and the waist band adjustment was one-sided, giving us a very off-center feel once it was tightened.

Storage


Really in a class by itself for this rating metric, the SmartSupport scored a rare 0 of 10 for storage. This backpack literally offered no storage of any kind. Now, that being said, technically there was a space behind baby's seat where you could potentially slide the owner's manual into. We would not recommend storing anything in this space, however, as it may interfere with baby's safety while in the carrier. With other backpacks offering every type of storage from hydration bladder pockets, to cell phone pockets, to zip-off packs, we feel that Chicco really missed the boat on this metric.

Child Comfort


The low  wide seat offered excellent hip ergonomics  but placed baby's feet towards mom's arms and torso  getting in the way.
The low, wide seat offered excellent hip ergonomics, but placed baby's feet towards mom's arms and torso, getting in the way.
Considering padding, support, and footrests for baby, the SmartSupport earned a 4 of 10 in Child Comfort. There were no footrests available for baby, and really no where for baby's foot or leg in general, but at least there was sufficient padding around the area where baby's head would be. Additionally, the seat ergonomics were similar to that of a high chair, so we do feel that there was enough support for baby's bottom. If your kid is comfortable sitting in a high chair, they should be comfortable enough sitting in this pack.

Ease of Use


Considering the lack of bells and whistles the SmartSupport offers, it was fairly easy to figure out where to adjust, but due to rough strap material, it was not so easy to actually adjust, earning it a 5 of 10 for Ease of Use. This backpack uses all push-and-pull straps, however, they required some elbow grease to get into the right position, causing some frustration for our reviewer. We also didn't care for the overly complicated three-part five-point harness. However, one nice feature was how flat it folded for storage while not in use.

Safety


The Chicco, like all our other backpacks we tested, was certified for safety by the JPMA. However, we looked at some additional features like an effective sunshade, hip dysplasia ergonomics, and the 5-point harness system. The SmartSupport earned a 5 of 10 for Safety, the lowest scoring backpack in our bunch. In our opinion, the sunshade was not always effective, as it only covered about half of the cockpit, and we could not remove it once installed. Additionally, the five-point harness was actually three separate buckles with three separate adjustments, something we found a bit cumbersome. Chicco did earn points, however, for creating a baby seat with great hip dysplasia ergonomics.

Best Applications


Due to the low score Chicco earned in Storage and Parent Comfort in comparison with the other packs we tested, we can only recommend this pack for short term, around-the-house use. Taking it on an extended outing would just not be practical in our opinion. However, we think it's great for soothing a baby that just wants to be held while you putt around the house.

Value


Major retailers sell this backpack for $130, putting it at the lowest price point of all the backpacks we tested. If you're looking to stay under $200, we suggest you also check out our review of the Kelty Junction 2.0 before making any purchases.

Conclusion


This is a functional baby backpack that will meet your most basic needs in a backpack carrier. It's five-point harness and wide seat will keep baby comfortable while allowing you to get those household chores completed. When you're done, it conveniently folds nice and flat to allow for easy storage.

Other Versions and Accessories


The SmartSupport is currently the only baby backpack sold by Chicco. However, they offer several baby carriers for purchase through major retailers. To learn more about baby carriers, check out our Best Baby Carrier Review.


Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team