From newborns to toddlers, how you carry your children is of enormous importance. Prams and pushchairs are the obvious choice and are staples of every parent but what about the times when these are not practical or you wish to have a bit more freedom than lugging around a heavy pram?
Baby carriers come in a variety of forms and are a popular way of carrying your baby. Back carriers are particularly popular for older babies and there is a wide variety on the market being used by parents, grandparents, and carers across the UK.
What is a Back Carrier?
A back carrier is simply a product that enables you to carry your child on your back. Unlike baby slings, which are generally one piece of material that is tied in such a way to form a sling for your baby to lie in, a back carrier offers a more structured environment that lets your baby sit upright, safely and securely on your back. Back carriers can be made out of a variety of fabrics and often have adjustable straps to enable you to cope with the growing size of your baby.
When Are Back Carriers Suitable to Use?
Unlike some other forms of baby carrier, which can be used from just a few weeks old, back carriers should only really be used once your baby is old enough to sit upright unaided. However, unlike some other forms of baby carrier, you can carry on using some back carriers until your child is three or four years old. That is, if your child still wants to be carried at that age and, of course, only if your back can take the weight!
Advantages of Back Carriers
Back carriers are one of the most popular ways that people like to carry their baby and they have several key advantages highlighted below.
Physically Easy to Carry Your Child
Of all the different types of baby carrier, back carriers are perhaps the easiest to use physically. Slings and front carriers are comfortable for a while, but carrying your child on your front or on your hip isn’t really a natural position and after long periods of time can place a strain on your neck, shoulders and back. Wearing your baby on a back carrier is just like wearing a rucksack and is comfortable for both you and your baby.
Practical for Travelling Longer Distances
Thanks to their comfort, back carriers are perfect if you need to travel by foot for a long distance but don’t want to take a pram with you. Your hands are free if you want to go shopping and they don’t put a lot of strain on your back, neck or spine.
Excellent for Getting Out into the Countryside
Because back carriers are really comfortable to use and they are perfect if you want to get out and about in the countryside and give you and baby some fresh air. As well as being great at keeping you fit after the birth, the fresh country air is really good for your child.
Your Baby is Free to Take in All that Surrounds Them
Wherever you go with your baby, unlike most slings and front carriers that face your body, with a back carrier, your child is free to take in their surroundings at their leisure. Taking your child into interesting new environments is excellent for them developmentally and a back carrier is an excellent way to do this.
Excellent Value for Money
Back carriers represent excellent value for money, as they can be used longer than other types of carrier with some being suitable to be used with three and four year old children even. Because they are comfortable too, you’re bound to get lots of use out of your back carrier week-in-week-out.
Disadvantages of Back Carriers
Like any product though, there can be some downsides to using a back carrier to carry your baby, which we discuss in greater detail below.
You Can’t Use Them from Birth
Unlike some baby carriers, you can’t use back carriers from birth and you have to wait until your baby can sit up straight on their own before you can safely use one.
You Can’t See Your Baby
Unlike a baby sling or a front carrier, you cannot see your baby whilst you are carrying them. For many people, this can be uncomfortable and can ruin the experience of using one as they are constantly looking over their shoulder to ensure that their baby is comfortable and OK.
It Can Be Difficult at First to Get Your Baby In and Out
Because the baby is effectively sitting on your back, at first it can take some getting used to getting your baby in and out. However, if you are using a good quality product and are following the manufacturer's guidelines, you will soon get used to it. And, it is especially easy if you have another person to help you get the baby in and out of the carrier.
Using a Back Carrier Safely
- You should only buy a quality back carrier from a reputable manufacturer that conforms to all of the relevant UK safety laws. This will ensure that you have a safe product that is effective and safe to use.
- Always read the manufacturer's instruction carefully and follow them to the letter. This will ensure that you are using your back carrier correctly and as safely as possible.
- Have a few practice runs at using your back carrier inside the house. This will ensure you are completely happy with it before you take it outside for the first ever time.
- Only use a back carrier when it is suitable for your child in terms of height and weight. Do so outside of the guidelines and you could be putting your child’s safety at risk.
- Because your baby is on your back, check on a regular basis that they are okay, safe, and happy.
- When walking, you should be careful that you do not trip and fall. However, because the baby is on your back, unlike other sorts of carriers, there is less chance that you will fall on your baby.
Where To Buy a Back Carrier:
As with any product for your child, back carriers should only be bought from reputable retailers, such as the ones listed below: