Babies love and need close contact, and infant carriers are ideal for nestling them against their parents. Most injuries that happen with these carriers are from falls. The two types of carriers are soft, pouch-like ones for young babies, and structured frame carriers for older babies.
What to look for:
- The carrier should have straps that prevent your baby from falling or crawling out. Look for firm, padded head support. Find one that fits your baby's size and weight, and make sure that the carrier is deep enough to support the back and that the leg openings are small enough to prevent your baby from slipping out.
- Check for ease of use. Some of the soft wrap styles are hard to put on because of numerous straps.
- A framed carrier should have a kickstand that locks in the open position. The folding mechanism should be free of pinch points that could catch your baby's fingers. Look for padding on the metal frame around the infant's face.
- Try the pack on for comfort, both with the baby in it and without.
- Ideally, the fabric should be durable with strong stitching or large heavy fasteners to prevent slippage.
- Pockets or zippered compartments are handy for storing frequently needed items.
- Never use a framed carrier before your infant is 4 to 5 months old, and don't use it as an infant seat. It can tip over without warning.
- Use restraining straps at all times if your carrier has them.
- If you need to lean over, bend from the knees rather than the waist to prevent the baby from falling out of the carrier.
- Check the carrier periodically to look for loose fasteners or ripped seams.
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