We assessed 8 baby carriers: front packs, soft structured carriers, slings and wraps.

Baby carriers are great for soothing a colicky baby, getting a grizzly bub to sleep, managing an outing with 2 kids, or just keeping your hands free around the house. But you need to try before you buy.

Note we didn’t assess backpacks as these are only suitable for older children.

Types of carrier

Front pack
A front pack is a padded carrier with straps over both shoulders, 2 leg holes and a crotch piece to support the baby. A young baby can snuggle up against you in the facing-inwards position. Many of these carriers also allow you to position your baby facing out, which gives an older baby more freedom of movement and more to look at.

Soft structured carrier
A soft structured carrier has a soft body and 4 straps that attach with buckles. Most can be worn on the hip or back, as well as the front.

A sling wraps over one shoulder and around your waist. It lets you carry your baby in front (lying down or sitting up), on your hip or on your back.

A wrap is usually a long cloth strip that’s wrapped and tied off around the body across both shoulders.

Our assessment

10 mums with different heights, builds and baby ages assessed each carrier to find out which ones were most comfortable, secure and easy to use. All the mums were regular users of carriers or slings.

As well, a physiotherapist with expertise in children’s health observed the mums and babies using the carriers and gave her professional opinion on each one.

We haven’t scored the models. But in our product “profiles” we’ve grouped them into “more-popular” and “less-popular” models, based on which ones the mums in our trial would consider buying.

Carriers we assessed

  • Baby First Elite Cruiser (front pack)
  • BabyBjorn Miracle 096065 (front pack)
  • Breeze Baby Ring Sling (ring sling)
  • Ergobaby Performance BCP02500 (soft structured carrier)
  • Hugabub Pocketless Wrap (cloth wrap)
  • Manduca Classic New Style (soft structured carrier)
  • Nature's Sway Organics Sling (cloth sling)
  • Phil & Teds Pepe (front pack)

What we found

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Product comparison table