Common questions we get here in the shop and online is ‘’How do I know which size carrier to get?’’ or ‘’How long will this carrier last us?’’ Here we will answer those questions and give you some tips to help you find the right fit for you and your baby.
First lets start with “How do I know what size carrier to get?”
Most carriers give a weight range somewhere between 3.5-20kg depending on the brand, for standard size. Or between 11-27kg for a toddler size again depending on the brand. While that is a great place to start, weight only gives you half of the picture as babies of the same weight can vary greatly in physical size. In a group of babies that all weight 10kg you will find some with long legs, some with long torsos, some with long legs and a short torso and visa versa. So we can’t just use weight to determine if a carrier will fit we also have to look at the physical size of the baby.
So how do you know if the carrier is the right fit for your baby? We can look at a few things to determine if a carrier fits properly.
- Does the body panel of the carrier support your baby knee to knee?
A carrier should support your baby from the back of one knee, across their bottom and up to the opposite knee. Giving them a supported spread squat position. While it is not as important for a older child to be supported fully in a knee to knee position as they likely won’t be carried for long periods, it is important for a younger child as they will more than likely be in the carrier for longer periods of time.
- Can your baby get a deep seat and does the body panel support their back?
The body panel should support your baby in a deep seat so they can get into a spread squat, or M shape, position. It should also support their back so they don’t slump in the carrier.
- Does the body panel come up to a developmentally appropriate height?
The body panel of the carrier should come up to a developmentally appropriate height for your baby. From the newborn to when baby has full head control the panel should come up to the back of baby’s neck and fully support their back and neck at all times. Babys face should never be fully enclosed in the carrier and they should be well supported to avoid slumping and ensure their airways are protected at all times.
When your baby has full head control to when they are a toddler the body panel should come up to their shoulders. They don’t need the full head support from the body panel at this stage as they can control their own head and neck, but you may want to add additional support by using the hood when they fall asleep.
From toddler and beyond the body panel should come at least up to their armpits and support their back. At this stage your child may want to have his or her arms out over the top of the carrier which is perfectly fine as long as the carrier still reaches the armpits and is supporting the child’s back. Once you hit this stage with your child you can assess as a family if it is worthwhile to move on to a bigger carrier.
Another question we get quite often is “ How long will this last us?”
Carriers are not something that you want to ‘size up’ to try and make them last longer. A carrier that is too big will be uncomfortable and hard to use successfully. If you are trying to find a carrier that will work for more than one child always try to size for the smallest child.
Also please keep in mind these are general guideline based on what we have seen with our clients, as with everything there will always be exceptions to the rule. If you are unsure about what size carrier to buy, you can rent then from a local or national sling library and give them a trial run before deciding what size will suit you best.
Below is a comparison chart of all the slings we currently carry at Knee to Knee Slings.