Buckled carriers – Great for ‘out and about’ and very practical.
Baby carriers with buckles, or ‘soft structured carriers (SSCs),’ are very popular and easy to get the hang of.
Most have padded shoulder straps and waistbands, and plastic buckles, to securely distribute your baby’s weight across your body. Some are highly adjustable for different sized babies. Other come in a fixed size, may require special inserts to ensure a good, snug fit. Toddler and Preschool size buckled carriers are a great option for carrying bigger toddlers and children. They very supportive and practical when wearing your baby out and about for the whole day.
These carriers can be worn on the front or back. Most have hoods and some have extra features like zipped pockets.
The more structured shape means you may need to try a few before you find one that fits you best. They may require some fiddling with initially to get the various straps to fit you, but then won’t need much adjustment. Prices generally range from around £60 to £135.
Our top choices: Ergobaby Omni 360, Connecta, Izmi, Sleepy Nico, JPMBB PhysioCarrier, Boba 4G, LILLEbaby Complete All Seasons, Ergobaby Adapt, TwinGo Twin Carrier, Beco 8, Beco Gemini, Isara, Hana Baby Carrier.
Other brands include: Tula, Manduca, Soul Slings, Madame Googoo, Rose and Rebellion, Mamaruga, Lenny Lamb, Emeibaby, Action Baby Carrier, Babybjorn, Scootababy, Kokadi Flip, Kibi Carrier, Wompat.
A word on forward facing carriers:
Some buckled carriers can be worn so that the baby faces outwards away from the parent (‘world-facing’), once they are 4-5 months+ and have full head control and some upper body control. It is only advised that you do this for a short period of time. When baby faces outwards their weight tends to be pulled down and forwards, away from the wearer, affecting the wearer’s posture and putting potential strain on their back, neck and shoulders.
If babies aged 4-5 months+ want to look around then they can still so in a parent-facing carrier, especially if one or both of their arms are above the top of the carrier allowing them a wider view and greater freedom of movement. Otherwise, hip or back carries are a great option for those babies who are able to sit up unaided (usually from around 6 months if using a soft structured carrier).
Buckled carriers with a narrow base are readily available on the high street. Many people find them very easy to use, especially for short periods. Many can be worn so that the baby faces outwards away from the parent. However, many people begin to find these carriers uncomfortable when their babies get bigger.
Their narrow base does not support baby's weight along the whole width of their seated body, from knee pit to knee pit. This means baby's hips are not supported in an optimum position for their development. Their legs dangle downwards, baby's pelvis is not tucked in, and their weight is not distributed around the wearer’s body. This can lead to a sore back, neck or shoulders for you.
There is nothing inherently wrong with these carriers, and so long as your baby has no underlying hip problems you should not damage your baby by wearing one in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. But with so may other comfortable, supportive and 'ergonomic' carriers available, it’s a great idea to try out some other slings and carriers if you are able to.