Comfortable, safe and secure – the child carrier allows you to take your kids on any outdoor adventure.
The baby should sit upright and all straps should be adjustable to ensure there is no chafing. Side compression will keep baby secure and should be padded to prevent the frame digging in. The child will no doubt fall asleep at some stage, so check if there is somewhere for them to rest their head.
It should have an adjustable back-length to accommodate both mum and dad, padded shoulder straps, chest straps and hip belts. Do everything up while your child is in the carrier and ensure the fit is good: hipbelts should be sitting on your hip bone and the shoulder straps shouldn’t be digging into your neck or under your arms.
Both parents need to be comfortable with the carrier, so it’s important mum and dad do the buying together. Take baby too, and try on the various models with it fully loaded. How easy is it to put the carrier on your back with your child inside? How stable is the carrier and is it easy to maintain your balance? A good harness will be adjustable and should have padding in the lumbar region. A padded hipbelt will help support the load and transfer much of the weight to your hips.
You don’t want to expose your child’s sensitive skin to harmful UV rays, so it is essential the baby carrier has a sun-shade accessory. A rain cover is another important item because your child, sitting in the carrier, won’t be able to generate warmth like you can as you stomp through the bush.
Not all child carriers come with these accessories as standard, so budget for these essentials.
The carrier should have a kickstand that enables it to remain upright on the ground. This is useful when loading the carrier and adjusting the straps for the baby and when you’re putting it down. Before buying, try putting your child in the carrier and sitting it on the floor to see how well balanced it is. If you can’t put the carrier down without it toppling over, don’t even consider it.
Look for a carrier that has enough room for the baby gear – nappies, bottles, food, clothing – as well as some essentials for mum and dad. If both parents are on the trip, then one can carry gear for the adults and the other can load up on baby kit.
Now you know what to look for, it’s time to choose a child carrier.