Last updated: August 4, 2021

Our method

29Products analysed

46Hours spent

41Evaluated articles

157User reviews

Our method

29Products analysed

46Hours spent

41Evaluated articles

157User reviews

Welcome to our big child carrier test 2021. Here we present all the child carriers that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best child carrier for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of if you want to buy a child carrier.




Summary

  • Baby carriers make everyday life with your child easier. They ensure that you have your arms free while maintaining close proximity to your child.
  • There is a basic difference between carriers without buckles - slings, ring slings, mei tais - and those with buckles, such as comfort carriers and walking back carriers.
  • There are two main things to consider when deciding which carrier is right for you. Firstly, the age and size of your child and secondly, the type of use: short-term indoor activities, medium-term errands on the go or longer outdoor activities.

The Best Child Carrier: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a baby carrier

The days and months after birth are considered very precious and important. Everything is new, one milestone after the other is announced and there is a lot to learn for parents and child! Your child spends the intense early days very close to you - usually you carry him or her directly in your arms.

With a baby carrier, you also have the option of having your arms free to do the shopping, read a book or travel.

Why do I need a baby carrier?

Not sure why you should buy a baby carrier? No problem, we provide you with the most important reasons:

Practical aspects

A baby carrier makes everyday life with your child much easier. Especially in the first months, your baby needs your attention almost all the time. In order to optimally take care of your child and to do other activities at the same time, you should not do without a baby carrier.

Compared to a bulky pram or buggy, a baby carrier has the advantage that you not only remain mobile, but also flexible.

Psychological aspects

An unbeatable argument for buying a baby carrier is the psychological component. Just put yourself in your child's place: it comes from a warm world, optimally adapted to its needs, directly into your care.

The smoother this transition is, the more pleasant the child will experience its first months on earth. Especially in the beginning, it needs your physical closeness and warmth to feel safe and secure.

Did you know that there is an educational theory called Attachment Parenting?

The method is aimed at promoting the mother-child bond. If the mother not only behaves in a maximally responsive way towards the child, i.e. reacts as much as possible to the infant's signals, but also spends as much time as possible in close physical proximity with the child, then the mother-child bond is best built up. It is recommended to carry the child on the body as much as possible. A baby carrier is the best way to bring up the child.

Eye contact with you and your protective arms and hands promote the early child-parent relationship and bond. The better you can maintain this bond, the more comfortable your baby will feel. And if your child is happy, you are also strengthened in your abilities. So babywearing lays a foundation for happy parent-child relationships.

Physiological aspects

The baby carrier also helps your child to maintain a healthy posture. Ergonomic comfort carriers, for example, are specially designed to ensure the tuck-and-spread position. This is the natural position that the child assumes from birth.

The rhythmic movement on the parents' stomach or back ensures that the organ of balance is stimulated to compensate for the movement. Baby carriers thus contribute to the healthy development of your baby.

Last but not least, regular carrying helps you to train your own trunk muscles. From a physiological point of view, baby carriers are a win-win for everyone.

From what age and up to what age can a child carrier be used?

Basically, you can use a baby carrier from the time the child is born. Many mothers and fathers swear by the direct body contact with the child. For the first days and weeks, the sling is therefore usually the first choice.

Did you know that even 200 years ago babies and toddlers were usually always carried by their mothers?

With the first pram in the 19th century, the tradition of carrying declined more and more. Today, the trend is back to baby carriers and slings.

After a few months, a mei tai or comfort carrier can be used, and from about one year, you can use a walking carrier.

Depending on the model and your physical fitness, you can then carry your child in a baby carrier up to the age of 3.

What does a child carrier cost?

The prices for a child carrier start at less than 30.00 Euros for a sling and go up to 300.00 Euros for a fully equipped hiking backpack. The quality of the carrier, as well as included accessories, make for quite large price ranges in the individual categories.

A very clear criterion should always be the safety and health of your child and yourself. Of course, you can buy a baby carrier very cheaply. But let's be honest: Isn't your child the first one for whom it is worth investing in quality?

So here's a tip from us: take the time to do a good product comparison (we've already made it easier for you to choose - use our comparison table) and consider the price as a secondary matter. Of course, this does not mean that the most expensive product is also the best. You can expect the following prices:

Type Price
Sling Approx. €21.00 to €152.00
Ring Sling Approx. €31.00 to €120.00
Mei Tai Approx. €34.00 to €130.00
Comfort Carrier Approx. €54.00 to €150.00
Hiking Back Carrier Approx. €120.00 to €300.00

Are there special child carriers for men?

You are not alone with this question. One thing is certain: child carriers are generally suitable for fathers and mothers. Most manufacturers offer models in classic, neutral colours. If you don't mind patterns, you're sure to find the right one.

For very tall men with wide backs, we recommend a personal consultation with a specialist retailer. Otherwise, it remains to be said that many men are now discovering the advantages of a sling for themselves and enjoy the closeness to the baby very much.

What accessories are available and could be useful for me?

Depending on the manufacturer and model, there are many add-ons available for your baby carrier. Especially if you are on the road a lot and enjoy outdoor activities, it is worthwhile to buy good accessories. This way you can go outdoors with peace of mind and your child will have just as much fun as you do!

The following products are particularly worth mentioning:

  • Head or neck support
  • Chin pad
  • Sun canopy or a fixable hood with UV sun protection
  • Waterproof rain cover
  • Winter fleece cover
  • Foot loops or foot rests to be retrofitted for somewhat larger children who need more support

Decision: What types of child carriers are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between the following variants:

  • Sling
  • Ring Sling
  • Mei Tai
  • Comfort carrier
  • Hiking back carrier

In the following we explain the advantages and disadvantages of the different types.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a baby sling?

Slings have a long history and have been used to carry babies for centuries. Because they are made entirely of fabric, they adapt perfectly to the body shape of both the newborn and the parent.

Different tying techniques allow you to wear the baby on the stomach, on the hip or on the back.

The classic baby sling is 2.7 metres to 5.7 metres long and is made of linen, cotton or a mix of both. Its skin-friendly material prevents allergic reactions.

The elastic baby sling is usually a little shorter. It is made of a jersey fabric or a mixture of cotton and spandex, which provides better stretch. This means even greater wearing comfort for you.

Advantages
  • Skin-friendly/ suitable for allergy sufferers
  • High wearing comfort
  • Easy to use
  • Very stable
  • Easy to carry
Disadvantages
  • No extra storage space
  • Sweating in summer
  • Tying techniques have to be learned

The big advantage of the sling is that it is easy to use once you have mastered the tying techniques. It is easy to stow away and you can take it with you wherever you go. In addition, quality slings are extremely stable and can hold up to 20 kilograms of body weight.

The disadvantage of a baby sling is that it has no extra storage space. In addition, you can easily get sweaty in the summer because it is tied tightly to your body.

Slings are the best type of baby carrier for newborns. They can be tied tightly to the mother's or father's body and thus assume a secure position. In this photo you can also see how close the newborn is to the mother's body. (Photo source: pixabay.com / neslinglibrary)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a ring sling?

Ring slings are a variation of baby slings. They work in a similar way to classic slings.

A ring sling is up to 2.20 metres shorter and is attached to a ring. Both make handling easier and faster: you simply pull the end of the sling through the ring, tie it in a knot and you're good-to-go.

Advantages
  • Easy, practical handling
  • High wearing comfort
  • Stable
  • Easy to carry
Disadvantages
  • One-sided strain
  • Sweating in summer
  • Aluminium ring can cause allergies

In a ring sling, you usually carry your baby on your hip. The disadvantage here is that you only put weight on one shoulder. However, this should not be a problem until your baby has reached a certain body weight.

It is important to remember that the ring, which is often made of aluminium, can cause skin irritation. You should consider a nylon ring as an alternative.

The ring sling is easy to handle - the key here is a ring where the cloth is attached. This ensures a high degree of stability.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a mei tai?

Another alternative to the sling is the mei tai, which originated in Asia. These carriers are made of skin-friendly, rectangular fabrics that have already been made into a carrier with straps.

They are tied like a sling and have a bar for sitting. Depending on the width of the bar, they are only suitable for children who are already a few weeks or months old.

Advantages
  • Skin-friendly/suitable for allergy sufferers
  • Low weight
Disadvantages
  • Can only be used after a few weeks
  • Arms and legs not covered

Mei Tais do not cover the child's arms and legs, which can be uncomfortable for newborns. If your child loves this freedom and already likes to sit well, the mei tai is a great option for you. Its advantage over other child carriers is that the fabric is very gentle on the skin and, at around 700 grams, it also weighs less.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a comfort carrier?

Comfort carriers are also known as ergonomic carriers. They are ready-made and can be put on in just a few steps. The choice of comfort carriers is now very large - they are available for children from about 6 months and up to a maximum weight of 18 kg.

What are their biggest advantages over slings? They do not have to be tied and offer extra storage space.

Their disadvantage is the less flexible material. If possible, the child should already be able to sit and hold its own head. Many suppliers offer suitable accessories that are geared to the child's anatomical development and enable optimal carrying comfort.

Advantages
  • Easy to put on
  • Ergonomically designed
  • Seat height adjustable
  • Additional storage space
Disadvantages
  • Can only be used after a few weeks
  • Needs more space when transported

The seat height is also adjustable on many models. This means that the carrier can grow with the child and you can enjoy it for a long time.

This baby is sitting in a comfort carrier. This carrier allows you as a mother to do many things while looking after your baby. You can run errands and still keep an eye on your little one. (Photo source: 123rf.com / 74044593)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a walking back carrier?

As a robust carrier with an integrated backpack, the hiking back carrier - also called a Kraxe - is well suited for hiking and other outdoor activities with your child.

The main advantage of a child's Kraxe is that it has enough space to store all the essentials such as food, nappies and spare clothes. The latest models have a high degree of safety and flexibility. For example, you can adjust the seat height.

Practical accessories such as a sun canopy, rain cover or chin pad for the child are often part of the standard equipment or can be purchased separately.

Advantages
  • Robust
  • Integrated backpack with lots of storage space
  • Adjustable seat height
  • Expandable
Disadvantages
  • Bulky
  • High own weight

The Kraxe's own weight of up to 3 kilograms and its size, which makes it bulkier than other carrying aids, are disadvantages. It is also the most expensive type of child carrier, with a price starting at 120.00 euros.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate child carriers

Your baby carrier will accompany you every day in the months after the birth. It will help you to cope with everyday life with your child. To make the right choice, first be aware of your preferences.

A cumbersome handling, skin-irritating elements or poor workmanship of the baby carrier should not steal your nerves in the first, wonderful weeks. And later on, you want to feel comfortable when carrying your baby.

And that's exactly why we've done a lot of research for you. So here's our checklist to help you make the right choice:

  • Carrying capacity
  • Quality and material origin
  • Safety and comfort
  • Size and weight
  • Types of use
  • Lifestyle and design
  • Handling
  • Acquisition costs
  • Cleaning

Load capacity

One of the most important buying criteria for you is the carrying capacity. Which carrier is right for you depends on how old your child is and how much he or she currently weighs.

You can use a sling, ring sling or mei tai from birth and up to a weight of 15-18 kilos. Comfort carriers, on the other hand, are designed differently: Your baby is in a sitting, upright position.

To prevent your small child from sinking into it, many manufacturers offer newborn inserts that you can also use to carry an infant.

A hiking stretcher is definitely only suitable from the age of 6 months at the earliest. It is not possible to say in general what the minimum weight of your child should be - a good guideline is 6-8 kilos. However, you will then be able to use the carrier for a few years, as most hiking carriers can withstand a weight of up to 25 kilograms.

Quality and material origin

Another important criterion is the quality of the carrier. You should not compromise on quality and never be tempted to buy a cheap product. Find out in advance and ask the retailer where the carrier was produced and what material was used.

The Oeko-Tex 100 standard guarantees that the sling material does not contain any allergenic dyes. Many slings are made with BIO cotton or a mix of skin-friendly materials. In the case of ring slings, the ring should be surface-treated if it is made of aluminium.

A sling should not wear out after weeks of use. You can avoid breaking buckles, detaching threads or torn seams by asking the manufacturer for a guarantee of perfect quality.

If something does happen, you can refer to a guarantee certificate and have the carrier repaired or exchanged free of charge.

Safety and comfort

When it comes to safety, the most important thing is to protect your child. Remember that babywearing is a time of constant physical growth. Your baby grows from week to week and it is your job to support this growth in the best possible way.

This means: Make sure that your child grows naturally. It should not be forced into a position too early for which the body is not yet prepared.

Test whether the carrier optimally provides for an ergonomic spread-squat position, which the child assumes after birth. The carrier should be able to support this position until the child's spine, back and legs gradually straighten up.

You should also make sure that your child is not at risk of falling out of the carrier. Look for TÜV certification.

This is a good indicator of an extensively tested product.
Comfort is also a consideration. A wide shoulder strap with good padding will increase your comfort. It is important that you have the best possible range of movement so that you can actually use your hands for other activities.

There should be no straps or fabric hanging in your child's face. His or her head needs adequate support. If you test the carrier and you and your child still feel comfortable in it after 1-2 hours, it is probably the right one for you.

Size and weight

The size and weight of the carrier are also important. If you want to be able to take it everywhere and store it easily, this rules out very large, somewhat bulky products.

The weight of the carrier adds to the weight load. At the very beginning, your child weighs so little that you don't necessarily consider this point. However, as soon as your child has reached its proud 7-8 kilos, every extra kilo literally "adds to the weight".

Types of use

The way the carrier is used is another important purchase criterion. The most common types of carrier are: Belly, hip and back.

Some carriers even offer a fourth option, where the child is carried on the tummy facing forward. However, as explained in more detail in our trivia section below, we generally advise against this type of carrier.

With a sling you have the most options for use - with a walking sling the fewest. A ring sling is also limited, as you can only carry the child on your hip. Think about whether you want variety in carrying or whether you are happy with just a few options.

Lifestyle and design

You are as unique as your child! Find the carrier that suits you from the wide range of colours, patterns and accessories. Your everyday life and general lifestyle are also points that you should take into account when buying.

Do you like to be outdoors or on the go a lot? Then consider a carrier that offers you extra storage space and weather protection. Ask about any add-ons that the retailer offers so that you can still optimise afterwards.

On the other hand, a product may contain too many "bells and whistles" that will unnecessarily slow you down in your minimalist everyday life.

Perhaps you will ultimately decide on a combination of sling and comfort carrier, because you appreciate both the closeness to your child and the very quick handling (more on this in a moment). The main thing is that you and your child get along fine.

Handling

Make sure it is easy to use. A beautiful carrier with an ethnic pattern is of no use if you struggle every time you put it on. The decisive keyword is: flexibility.

You want to be able to put the carrier on as quickly as possible and give it to your partner or a friend on the way, without having to completely rearrange everything. This is often the case with carriers that close with a lot of buckles or straps.

The sling is an exception to this rule. It just takes a few minutes until you have tied it around. With practice, of course, you will get better and better and after a few weeks you will hardly spend any time at all.

Be aware that it still takes longer than putting on a comfort sling. However, the effect the sling has on you and your baby can make up for this time lag.

If easy handling is important to you without having to spend a lot of time setting up and closing the sling, you should pay close attention to this when buying or go for a sling.

Acquisition costs

The cost is a purchase criterion that we do not want to leave unmentioned - even if we think that you are allowed to spend a little more on your baby carrier.

This does not mean that expensive products are definitely better. There are always exceptional cases where an inexpensive product performs much better than the expensive version. But this is not the moment to buy, to hope for a lucky strike.

Find out enough about all the important criteria from the dealer and consider whether you are prepared to compromise for the sake of a cheaper price.

Cleaning options

Finally, the cleaning method can be an important factor for you. Generally, the handling is quite simple.

Most slings and ring slings can be washed in the washing machine at a low temperature. You will then need to air dry some of them. Mei Tai, comfort carriers and walking back carriers are not always machine washable and should be wiped with a damp cloth instead.

Facts worth knowing about baby carriers

How do I tie a baby sling?

The most common tying techniques are kangaroo tying and cross tying. Because we can only explain it half as well with words, here are some useful videos:

  • Kangaroo binding
  • Cross-binding

It is best to internalise the safety rules for carrying with a sling, also called Safe Babywearing T.I.C.K.S.:

  • Tight
  • In view at all times
  • Close enough to kiss
  • Keep chin off the chest
  • Supported back

Will I get back pain from babywearing?

If you already have specific problems with your back, it is best to consult a physiotherapist or your doctor for advice.

On the other hand, babywearing can eliminate minor back pain that occurs from time to time, because your muscles are stimulated and trained.

Does the baby carrier count as hand luggage at the airport?

A small comfort carrier will certainly pass as hand luggage, but with a Kraxe it depends on the length.

Often you have the option of handing in the baby carrier at boarding, it will then be taken into the aircraft as delivery at aircraft and given back to you when you disembark. As the hand luggage regulations of the airlines are very different, it is worth calling.

Why you should not carry your children on your stomach facing forward

In theory, it seems beneficial to allow your child to look ahead, out into the world around them. But beware! Most child carriers are not designed for this purpose.
If you disregard this fact, your child can develop a bad posture or a hollow back because the optimal support in the back is missing.

In your baby's perception, the lack of eye contact with you can also create insecurity. He or she simply feels overwhelmed by the mass of impressions. A simple exchange of glances between you and your child assures him or her that everything is fine.
Read the psychological aspects of this topic in our guide above. Don't worry, your child will soon be old enough to sit on his or her own and get a better understanding of the environment. Then there is nothing to be said against carrying your child on your back, where it can also see the world from your perspective.
Picture source: 123rf.com / 86443005

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