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The Best Baby Carriers of 2015: A Physical Therapist’s Take on the Debate

Purchasing a baby carrier for your child can be a daunting process. Parents have to take into account a myriad of factors including: safety, price, reviews, materials used. As a physical therapist, I am able to provide a unique perspective to the debate.  So I took a look “Best Lists” at parents.com and thebump.com to determine best baby carriers on the market today. Here’s the complied list, ranked based on safety for the child throughout the use of the carrier, ergonomics for the parents, and length of use (without purchasing additional accessories).

The Best Baby Carriers of 2015:

  1. Boba 4G Baby CarrierThis carrier provides great hip positioning for the child from birth to toddler. Thethe best baby carriers of 2015 optional foot strap to ensure hip flexion and external rotation is what sets this carrier apart from the others. It allows for both front and back child carrying. This carrier also provides great ergonomic support for caregiver in the form of both a waist belt and padded shoulder straps to equally distribute the load.
  2. Baby Bjorn Carrier OneThis carrier also provides great hip positioning from birth to toddler. It allows for both front and back child carrying, as well as provides great ergonomic support for the parent. The head support allows for easy adjustments to support the child’s neck from newborn to toddler. This carrier has the added feature of using fabrics that are safe for the child place in their mouth, earning it the number 2 spot on this list.
  3. Becco GeminiThis carrier allows for great hip positioning in 3 different carrying positions: front carrying, back carrying, and over the hip carrying. This carrier also provides easily adjustable head support and caregiver ergonomics.
  4. Tuba Baby Carrier – This carrier requires separately purchased infant insert for use with newborns. However, this insert does provide adequate support for good hip alignment. Can be worn on the back or the front, and provides good ergonomic support for the parent.
  5. Boba Air Baby CarrierLightweight alternative to other carriers on this list, but this translates to less ergonomic support for the parent. Designed to be worn on back or front, and promotes hip external rotation and flexion of the child.
  6. Britax Baby Carrier This carrier requires a separate infacing insert. With infacing insert, child maintain good alignment and is given good support. However, when child is placed in intended out-facing position, excessive pressure is placed on the pelvis and with hips in minimal flexion.
  7. Ergo Baby Original This carrier requires a separate infant insert, which must be purchased separately. This insert, does not provide the hips to be placed in hip flexion and external rotation (the recommended infant position to limit the development of hip dysplasia – See Judy Wang’s blog on the topic). It should be noted that the insert has a built in “seat” for the child to promote optimal position, the nature of the insert does not ensure it.
  8. Moby WrapWraps were not assessed in this blog.
  9. Maya WrapSee Above.

Have more questions about baby carriers? Our pediatric physical therapists have the answers.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today! 

the anatomy of a good baby carrier

The Anatomy of a Great Baby Carrier

 

 

 

One question I get from my clients or friends who are having babies for the first time is this: what do physical therapists think about baby carriers such as the BabyBjorn, slings, or wraps? They also wonder if baby carriers really lead to hip problems.

There are now more carrier choices than ever before, which makes the decision of which carrier to choose that much harder.

Here are the things physical therapists look out for when it comes to choosing baby carriers:

1)    Baby Position – Does the carrier let your baby keep her joints in a natural position? For example, young babies have a naturally flexed position, meaning their back is round, their hips and knees bent, and their heads need to be supported. When she is a little older and can hold her head up on her own, she can face outward and interact with the world a little more. A carrier that lets her do that is optimal. Just like with any other baby equipment (crib, boppy, car seat, bouncer, etc), pay close attention to any asymmetries when your baby is in any sort of carrier. Babies aren’t meant to be in the same position for a long period of time. If the carrier only allows them to face to the right or left, then be sure to switch them in and out of that position frequently.

2)    Parent Posture – The same thought of proper positioning goes for parents as well. The point of baby carriers is to make life easier for you, not create unnecessary back strain, shoulder soreness, or neck cramps. Carriers with asymmetrical, off to the side, designs should be used with care, and the sides should be alternated frequently. Carriers that do not offer enough adult back support to accommodate for growing babies will do more harm than good in the long run.

3)    Carrier Material – Along the same lines, baby carriers should focus on one thing: comfort, for parent and baby. Soft padding is essential to protect the parent’s shoulders and back. Ultra-soft material should be in contact with baby’s skin. Avoid hard fabrics, buckles, or insertions that place pressure on your trunk or rubs on the baby’s limbs.

For everything else, it really is based on your needs and what you want to get out of your baby carrier; whether it’s for hiking outdoors or just getting things done around the house. While there is no medical research indicating one type of carrier contributing to hip dysplasia in babies more than others, certain positions are better for hip alignment.

See below for some helpful websites to discover the perfect baby carrier for you and your baby: