There are plenty of baby carriers that are marketed as ‘stay-cool’ summer essentials. But which ones are really up to the job? And which are the best for all seasons?
In fact, you may not need to buy an entirely new sling or carrier specifically for use in hot weather. It might just be a question of following good advice on safe, comfortable summer babywearing to make your current sling work for you.
But if you’re already feeling a bit too warm, here are our tried and tested top recommendations.
TOP RECOMMENDED ULTRA-LIGHTWEIGHT BABY CARRIERS
IZMI BABY AND TODDLER CARRIERS
Izmi Baby is a British brand that makes fabulous lightweight, adjustable carriers for babies and toddlers (from £80) alongside their stretchy wraps (see below). The Breeze versions of the baby newborn to 6/12 months) and toddler carriers (9 months to 3 years) are even more ventilated thanks to their airy mesh body panels. Though to be honest, even their regular versions are wonderfully lightweight.
They have wrap-style shoulder straps which help spread babies weight – and shield your shoulders from the sun. They have open sides to help with airflow. Plus they have hardly any padding, so you will feel cooler and transfer less heat to your baby.
A removable hood and handy pocket are also available, for some extra shade and somewhere to keep your keys and phone. They are great for front, back and hip carrying, and at £80 they are astonishingly good value.
TULA LITE BABY CARRIER
New from Tula Baby, the Tula Lite an ultra-compact foldable carrier and hip pouch in one! The carrier panel and straps pack neatly into the attached waistband pouch, perfect for your baby’s ‘on demand’ carrying stage. The pouch will still have room for all your daily essentials even when the carrier is packed away.
Made from lightweight and quick-drying ripstop fabric in three of Tula’s bestselling prints, the Tula Lite supports two ergonomic carrying positions – a parent-facing front carry, and a back carry. It doesn’t have any of Tula’s characteristic thick, squishing padding – so while you might not want to carry a heavy child in it for 8 hours a day (as you certainly could in most Tulas!) it is AMAZING for shorter trips on hot days.
- Tula Lite Baby Carrier£79.90
MINI MONKEY MINI SLING
The Minimonkey Mini Sling is a super-compact front and hip carrier suitable from newborn to (small) toddler. It basically works like a ring sling, but its easier for most people to get the hang of and is more lightweight. This neat, quick-drying mesh sling allows you to carry your baby in a natural, ergonomic position.
Perfect for on the beach, by the pool AND around the house and quick-up-and-downs. It weighs the same as a mobile phone at just 175g and is absurdly good value at just £39. It’s a great just-in-case carrier to accompany your more structured everyday baby or toddler carrier.
- Minimonkey Mini Sling£39.95
Note: Other more flimsy mesh and ‘water’ pouches, worn over one shoulder like a ring sling and that you may have seen on Amazon, can be handy as carrying aids for very short periods of time, but are not generally a hands-free carrying option. Some are suitable for (very careful, never submerged) use in and near water.
INTEGRA SOLAR CARRIERS
An increasing number of brands now offer ‘cool’ versions, with mesh panels in the body of the carrier and other adaptations to make them more suitable for hotter climates. Do bear in mind, all of these carriers come with a fair amount of padding on the waistband, making for a somewhat sticky middle for you if it’s really hot.
The enormously popular and completely brilliant Integra Solar Baby Carrier (identical to the now-discontinued Connecta Solar Carrier that preceded it, just a different brand name) is fantastically lightweight and one of our favourite summer slings. And believe us, they have some stiff competition.
Integra Baby Carriers are very light and have minimal padding, so are ideal for all seasons. The Solar version is made from even thinner, lighter, quick-drying fabric. It’s also sun-protective, protecting baby from the sun’s UV rays, and folds down small enough to pop in your bag.
Made by a small British brand, they are so popular that they sell out quickly in the spring and summer months. But fear not, a standard model of Integra carriers will serve you very perfectly well, too. For toddlers aged 1.5 to 3years, get yourself a Solar Integra size 2.
TOP RECOMMENDED ALL-SEASONS BABY CARRIERS FOR ALL-DAY COMFORT
ERGOBABY OMNI 360 COOL AIR MESH & ERGOBABY OMNI BREEZE
Our bestselling ‘cool’ carrier is the Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh It’s a much-loved, all singing, all dancing, does-it-all baby carrier: It’s suitable from baby’s first weeks until 2 years+. It suits mums and dads equally well. Its ideal for carrying your baby world-facing (from 4-10/12 months), as well as parent-facing and on your back. Its mesh fabric and integrated hood means extra ventilation and shade for your little one. Summer 2021 has seen the launch of a newer, sleeker and more streamlined version: the Ergobaby Omni Breeze. It has all the same features and functions, but more lightweight.
It features a super supportive lumbar support panel and a handy pocket to keep your keys, phone and wallet in. It comes in a huge range of sleek and classy colours. You’ll be able to wear it for HOURS, all year round – and you can get a handy lightweight rain cover to go with is, so your baby will be protected against ALL the elements.
THE OTHER ‘COOL AIR MESH’ VERSIONS!
The Ergobaby Omni 360 isn’t the only carrier with a cool mesh version. Having tried a LOT, our other favourites in this category are the Tula Free To Grown Coast (from £119.90), Beco Gemini Cool (£105), and the Coast version of the Tula Explore (£154.90) and the mesh edition ofthe Lenny Lamb Upgrade (£160) carrier. For bigger toddlers aged 2.5yrs and up, we love the Beco Toddler Cool and the Toddler Tula Coast.
All these carriers feature thickly padded and supportive waistband and shoudler straps – meaning you’ll still be warm on a hot day (and so will your baby) – BUT your baby will benefit from greater ventilation built into the mesh body panels. All these carriers really are great for long-lasting comfort in all-seasons. Your baby won’t get cold in these during winter; just pop an extra layer of clothing on them, or invest in a brilliant Bundlebean cover.
LIGHTWEIGHT STRETCHY WRAPS FOR SUMMER NEWBORNS
FREERIDER SLING, ERGOBABY AURA WRAP & IZMI BABY WRAP
For summer, and all through the year, we love the bamboo & organic cotton Hana Baby Organic Wrap and the bamboo Izmi Baby Wrap (£44). Bamboo fabric is incredibly soft, lightweight, anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic and offers natural UV protection, all helping to regulate your body temperature. It’s lovely to wear and, if you’re hot, it feels almost cool to the touch.
But for truly feather-like lightness, the Freerider Sling (from £50), made from sustainable 100% Tencel fabric, and the Ergobaby Aura wrap (£49, 100% plant-based viscose) are pretty much unbeatable for summer. The Freerider is THE lightest wrap on the market, with the Aura following close behind, so you’ll stay (almost) as cool as a cucumber. They’re more firm and less stretchy than the Izmi and most other stretchy wraps, so they will feel a bit less ‘bouncy’ but will give a more robust level of support. (If the Izmi wrap feels like wearing a pair of leggings, the Freerider and Aura are a bit more like wearing jeggings!)
RING SLINGS FOR QUICK UP-AND-DOWNS
With just one layer of fabric worn over one shoulder, ring slings are a great summer option. They’re super easy to put on and take off – once you’ve got the hang of them, as there is a bit of a learning curve involved. A super light 100% cotton or linen can help you keep your cool. The cool cotton ring slings from Little Frog (from £49.95) make a perfect ‘and/also’ carrier for newborns and toddlers alike. They’re great value, make a great breastfeeding and are ideal for little ones who want to come up and down frequently. For a more luxurious feel and a truly stunning range of designs, take a look at the Didysling from Didymos.
No matter what the time of year, it’s always a good idea to try a few slings and carriers to see what works for you. Check out our guide to the different types of slings or get in touch if you’d like more help.
Be sure to check out Part 1 of our “It’s getting hot in here!” blog mini-series: How to stay safe and cool when babywearing this summer.
Blog updated June 2021.