In Depth Baby Product Reviews Led by a Pediatrician

How We Tested Baby Carriers

Tuesday April 2, 2024
baby carrier - finding a carrier that is cozy for your baby is key to finding a...
Finding a carrier that is cozy for your baby is key to finding a good product for long-term use.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

To determine the absolute best in baby carriers, we researched the top-rated and most popular models on the market. From those, we selected the top options to test and compare side-by-side. Over several months, we used the carriers in all types of situations, from walking the dog, roaming the grocery store, and doing chores around the house. We used each option in all of the carry positions they offer with little ones of different sizes and ages and wearers of both sexes and sizes. We stowed them in our favorite diaper bags like most families use in the real world.

When it comes to baby carriers, there are some common complaints that can really put a damper on your babywearing experience. We focused our testing on the main trouble spots a carrier can present, such as comfort and ease of use, and then gave each a score of one to ten based on their performance. Using the carriers interchangeably and comparing them side-by-side gives a clear perspective on each performance.

Baby's Comfort

An uncomfortable baby equals an unpleasant experience for both baby and wearer. A tell-tale sign of a baby's comfort is whether they fall asleep and stays asleep in a carrier or are fussing and struggle to settle. We considered this, along with additional features such as support, softness, and breathability of the fabric, when assessing how comfortable each carrier is for babies.

baby carrier - the tula ring sling is a comfortable carrier made of soft material...
The Tula Ring Sling is a comfortable carrier made of soft material and good for little ones from 8-35 lbs.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Parent's Comfort

One of the biggest complaints when wearing a baby is shoulder and back strain. We considered how the carriers distributed the baby's weight and the type of support they provide for comfort. We also compared the materials for features like breathability, softness, and padding. Some carriers were uncomfortable from the get-go, while others were comfortable enough for long outings and repeated use. The main differences were insufficient padding in the shoulders, back, and waistband or a poor design that didn't distribute the baby's weight over a wide enough area.

baby carrier - the overall scores for the carriers emphasized performance for ease...
The overall scores for the carriers emphasized performance for ease of use and comfort. It is no wonder that the award-winning products are all easier to use.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use

How easy a carrier is to put on, take off, and adjust regularly can play a big part in your babywearing experience. The ability to put the carrier on and adjust it before putting the baby inside is also a factor, as it is far easier than those you put on while holding the baby in place. We like instruction manuals with clear pictures and simple instructions. Carriers that offer more carry positions that are easy to change are better than products with complicated buckles or a steep learning curve. Other factors in ease of use are out-of-the-box use, hoods and pockets, and whether or not you can use the carrier in all positions without another person's help.

baby carrier - th easiest carriers to clean can be put in the washer and dryer for...
Th easiest carriers to clean can be put in the washer and dryer for little downtime and in-depth deep cleaning.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Cleaning

The machine-washable products you can toss into the dryer afterward are rated the highest in this category. On the opposite end of the spectrum, carriers that can only be spot cleaned or must be hung to dry scored lower. Excessive downtime while a carrier air dries, impacts its score in ease of cleaning.