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The Baby Carrier Debate - Are they safe?

I am on a mission to find the safest, and most comfortable baby carrier on the market. It was brought to my attention by my mom, that baby carriers could cause problems to the development of your baby’s hips, back and spine, so I decided to look into it a little more.

I am currently researching 3 baby carriers:

  1. Baby Bjorn One

  2. ERGObaby 360

  3. Mountain Buggy Juno

Baby Bjorn One

We actually have this carrier – received it as a gift for Christmas from my mom (as I had asked for it). So far, in terms of comfort, I have not had any problems with it whatsoever. It does not cause any back pains to myself when carrying my baby forward facing in it. (My son, is 5 months old, and 15lbs).

In terms of the safety of this carrier, my understanding is that Baby Bjorn took the advice of the International Hip Dysplasia Institute when designing this specific model. I also believe that although they have taken that advice, they may still lack in some areas, such as how the baby sits/hangs (in what some refer to as “crotch dangling”).

There are two zippers at the bottom of the carrier (where the baby sits) – one zipper for each leg – which can be unzipped to the centre of the carrier. This zipper allows the baby’s legs to “dangle”, rather than their legs spread apart (almost in a wide ‘M’ shape). When we unzipped them, our baby just looked like he fit better in it, so I would highly recommend unzipping this if you’re forward carrying with a young infant.

I know that you’re not supposed to have them forward facing until they’re 6 months old, but I’m still unsure the exact reasoning behind this, other than I know it has to do with their development and their ability to support their head. But if thats the case, our son has been able to hold his head up since about 2 months, and probably didn’t have full control until he was maybe 3 to 3.5 months old which is still sooner than the 5 month age limit the carrier websites require. I’m not sure if its their weight, as some carriers state it is ok to wear them forward facing once they are 15lbs, and others say to wait until the baby is 5 months, and others say until they’re 6 months. So, before you get all over me for wearing my baby forward facing, keep in mind that I don’t wear him in the baby carrier very often. Maybe once a week for about 15 minutes if that, if he’s pretty much done being in a stroller or car seat.

The Bjorn is fairly easy to put on, I normally slide it on from the top, rather than unbuckling everything, and then I lower my son into the front carrier part. The hip strap is a fairly easy (and I use this term lightly) to use hook-clip, which is the only part that I have to fasten. Its kinda like a bra strap if you will, and sometimes it takes a couple attempts before you actually get it hooked on. I just tighten the other straps once I have it on and my son is in it.

From the little time that I have had my son in the baby carrier however, he has seemed to love it. He never cries, or fusses, and generally just enjoys looking around.

ERGObaby 360

Now, I don’t have this carrier yet, but I am interested in getting my hands on one to review it and compare it to the Baby Bjorn One. Also, mainly because I’ve heard very good things about not only the ERGObaby company, but also for this specific carrier.

My understanding with ERGObaby, was that they wanted to stay away from the forward facing carriers, because they didn’t believe it was a safe way to wear your baby. However, they were faced with the reality that whether they liked it or not, people were using their carriers (and other carriers) to wear their babies forward facing whether it was safe or not. So, their solution was to come up with a carrier that would address the safety issues.

In comes the ERGObaby 360. Its the first and only baby carrier from ERGObaby that has taken into account the forward facing option, and has approved the carrier for that form of baby wearing.

I’ve heard people complain about the hip strap on the ERGObaby carriers because they are full velcro, which can be loud if your baby happens to fall asleep while in it. When you need to take your baby out of it, the only way to take the carrier off is to undo the velcro, which may wake your baby up. However, I see the velcro as a pro, rather than a con, as its so incredibly easy to get it nice and tight without having to struggle with pulling on straps behind your back, almost at your butt (which is actually more challenging than one may expect). Also, generally if my baby has fallen asleep in the baby carrier, once I take him out, I can remove the velcro hip strap away from him so as not to wake him – either in another room, or if I’m putting him in the car, I can just close the door before I remove it.

I think the biggest selling feature that I have read about the ERGObaby 360, is that the baby “sits” in the carrier, rather than is being dangled, or hung by the crotch area. (See pictures below to see the difference).

You can see from the photos above, that in the Baby Bjorn One (photo on the right), the baby seems to hang, rather than properly sit in the carrier (shown on the ERGObaby 360 on the left).

Mountain Buggy Juno

I don’t know a whole lot about this carrier, but I love the fact that it has pockets in it, like a hoodie. For those who know me, I LOVE hoodies. Like, its kinda weird how much I love hoodies. So this, for me is a selling feature. I wear hoodies all the time. So I feel really awkward when I don’t have somewhere to put my hands (since I always put them in that front pocket).

An excerpt taken from the Mountain Buggy website about their Juno baby carrier states that it was “designed to deliver the very best ergonomics in all carrying modes, for both [the parent] and child, [and that it was] developed in collaboration with medical professionals, parents and children”.

Their website provides an image that shows the optimal posture of your baby when he/she is in the carrier, in the 4 carrying modes (front, forward facing; front, parent facing; hip wearing; and back wearing).

Other than this information, I don’t know a whole lot else about this carrier. They seem to be fairly difficult to find in stores as well, so I’m not sure that I will get a chance to actually review this product.

Comparison Chart

*This is from my research, directly from the product’s website* I’ve just put it in a easy to read/compare chart.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get my hands on the ERGObaby 360, and see the difference between the way my 5 month old sits in it, versus our current Baby Bjorn One, and I’ll be able to get a more detailed and accurate review to you. If you have any questions or comments, or if you have your own review that you would like to share, post them in the comments below!

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