The Best Baby Carriers for Comfort and Safety

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Best Baby Carriers

Parents / Marcus Millan

Whether you have a baby who never wants to stop snuggling, or you just need to get around without a stroller, a baby carrier is one of the most helpful tools a parent or caregiver can have. Baby carriers are so useful for travel, to wear around the house, or anytime you want two hands free. Baby carriers also help in bonding as they enable you to hold your baby close to your body. 

Carriers come in a wide range of styles including wraps, slings, backpack carriers, convertible, hybrid, and much more. Pediatrician Meghan Schlitt, M.D. FAAP, tells Parents that caregivers should shop with both comfort and safety in mind. But you’ll have to do some trial and error to find which baby carrier will fit the bill for you.

As baby carriers can cost anywhere between $20 and $200, you should consider your budget and lifestyle when you purchase a baby carrier. Some are suitable for just a few months, while others will last through the toddler years. Always follow weight limits and specifications for each carrier, too. These criteria, as well as ease of use and care, materials, and adjustability, are what we kept in mind when coming up with this list.

Our Favorite Baby Carriers 

How to Use Baby Carriers Safely 

Safety should always be a top concern with baby carriers. Follow these tips and guidelines: 

  • Breathing: Always make sure that your baby’s head and neck are positioned safely in the carrier. This is especially important in sling type carriers. Dr. Schlitt tells Parents, “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend using a baby carrier for infants born prematurely or with respiratory problems because they are at higher risk for being positioned improperly and at risk for suffocation.” She reminds parents that to find the right fit, “the baby should be positioned upright and the baby’s mouth and nose should not be blocked by fabric.”
  • Body and Hip Position: According to Dr. Schlitt carriers should support the baby’s back, and any leg holes should be small enough so that the baby doesn’t slip through. The baby should be positioned upright and the baby’s mouth and nose should not be blocked by fabric. Another consideration, to promote proper hip development and prevent hip dysplasia, is that the baby’s legs should be positioned in an “M” shape with their knees bent and higher than their hips, especially before they reach 6 months of age. The International Hip Dysplasia Institute has a list of recommended baby carriers, as well as diagrams of hip-healthy holds.
  • Secure Hold: Find a carrier that feels safe and secure, with sturdy material that doesn’t loosen or lose its shape while you’re wearing it. This prevents slumping and unsafe positioning of your baby.

Best Overall: Ergobaby Omni 360

Ergobaby Omni 360 All-Position Baby Carrier


Why We Like It: This carrier is known for adjustable features, like the waistband that can expand from 25.5 inches to 55.25 inches. 

But Take Note: Some parents find the shoulder strap padding bulky, especially if you’re wearing it under a coat or other layers.

If you’re looking for one baby carrier to do it all, the Ergobaby Omni 360 should be your top pick. Made of durable and breathable mesh with extra padding on the shoulders, the carrier is safe for babies from 7 pounds up to 45 pounds, so it'll likely be the only carrier you need. We love that it’s fully convertible and can easily hold your baby facing inward, outward, on the hip, or on the back (once they’ve safely reached each weight milestone). 

“I love the Ergo Omni 360 because of its comfort, ease of use, and versatility,” mom Sara Elsasser told us. “I have used the Ergo during travel, hikes, and around the house, and it has worked well in all situations. I also love that my baby can grow with it.”

This carrier has so many adjustable features that it’s a very comfortable option and can easily move from vastly different sized caregivers and still be comfortable. The waistband, for example, can expand from 25.5 inches to 55.25 inches. The durable, machine-washable 100% cotton fabric lasts for years, and it’s available in a Cool Air Mesh version for extra ventilation for grown-ups and babies (but they’ll need to weigh at least 12 pounds first). This carrier also comes with a UPF 50+ hood for sun protection and breastfeeding privacy. Plus, the detachable storage pouch is large enough to hold your essentials, making the carrier all you need for an excursion. 

Price at time of publication: $180

The Details:

  • Type of carrier: Convertible 
  • Weight range: 7-45 pounds (12-45 pounds for Cool Air Mesh version)
  • Positions: Inward, outward (front), hip, and back
  • Materials: Cotton
  • Care: Machine washable

Best Budget: Infantino Flip 4 in 1 Convertible Carrier

Infantino Flip Advanced 4-in-1 Carrier


Why We Like It: The affordable price tag makes this a great option for testing carriers, stashing in the car, or using only on vacation. 

But Take Note: It has a lower weight limit than many other carriers. 

This affordable baby carrier is a great option if you want to test the baby-carrier life without committing to an expensive carrier. Two of its four carrying positions are facing in, with the difference being the width of the seat: folded in for newborns and expanded for older babies. Babies that can hold their heads up can face outward, and those that can sit up independently can sit in a back carry position. There are padded shoulder straps and an adjustable waist strap to make carrying comfortable. We’ve heard that adjusting the carrier to fit two adults of drastically different sizes can be difficult, but at this price, you can afford to buy one for each caregiver and never adjust them again. 

This carrier’s weight limit is just 32 pounds, so it won’t last with a heavier toddler. Since it maxes out at a lower weight limit than others, consider your child's age and size before you purchase this carrier.

Price at time of publication: $38

The Details:

  • Type of carrier: Convertible
  • Weight range: 8-32 pounds
  • Positions: Inward, outward (front), and back 
  • Materials: Not listed 
  • Care: Machine washable

Best for Summer: Baby Tula Lite

Tula Lite Compact Baby Carrier


Why We Like It: The entire carrier packs into the attached waistband, with room to spare for other essentials, so it’s easy to take on any summer excursion. 

But Take Note: Facing out is not an option for this carrier. 

Summer adventures with your baby will be less of a sweaty mess with this amazing carrier. Made of ripstop nylon, the entire carrier packs into its waistband, becoming like a fanny pack. Added bonus: There’s still extra room for your essentials in the pack, so you’ll be ready to hit the summer scene without any extra gear. 

Keep in mind that this carrier does have a smaller weight range than other options, meaning there’s a limited timeframe of usability. The other limitation is that your kiddo has to be facing in, either in the front or the back. This could be fine for some babies, but others may be eventually too eager to see the world stay tucked inside. 

Price at time of publication: $89

The Details:

  • Type of carrier: Packable
  • Weight range: 12-30 pounds
  • Positions: Inward front and back
  • Materials: Ripstop nylon
  • Care: Machine washable

Best Wrap: Moby Classic Wrap

Moby Wrap Baby Carrier


Why We Like It: As one long piece of fabric, the wrap is easy to store, adjust, and take anywhere.

But Take Note: Using wraps is not always an intuitive experience and will take some trial and error to get the positioning right. 

Wrap style carriers are wonderful for some parents and a confusing hassle for others. If you’re wrap-curious, the Moby Classic Wrap is an affordable option to try. The wrap is essentially one long piece of cotton fabric that wraps around the caregiver’s body in a specific way, creating a pouch for the baby. Some parents prefer the portability of the wrap, as well as its lack of clips and straps, and the way you can customize its fit. It’s also extra snuggly. Others may find it confusing and a less secure feeling. 

While a wrap may be a wonderful way to stay close to a newborn baby, the Moby Classic maxes out at 33 pounds. Since there aren’t padded straps, some parents may find it uncomfortable to hold bigger babies in this type of carrier. Wraps are a personal preference, so it may be helpful to test out a friend’s wrap in person before you commit. 

Price at time of publication: $45

The Details:

  • Type of carrier: Wrap
  • Weight range: 8-33 pounds 
  • Positions: Front and hip
  • Materials: Cotton
  • Care: Machine washable

Best Hybrid: Boppy ComfyFit Baby Carrier

Boppy Comfy Fit Baby Carrier


Why We Like It: It’s got the look and feel of a wrap with the structure of a carrier, plus the zippered pocket in the waist belt is a perfect spot to stash essentials.

But Take Note: There are no back or hip carry options on this carrier. 

A hybrid carrier is the perfect answer to parents who love the portability, flexibility, and Earth mama look of a wrap carrier but are perplexed by how to use it securely. The ComfyFit is the best of both worlds, providing the structure of a carrier with the comfort of a wrap. 

The padded waist belt features a clip closure, so it’s secure and provides plenty of support. Even better, there’s a zippered pocket on the belt that’s big enough for a phone, keys, or other personal items. Once the waist belt is secure, the semi-structured wrap is easy to put on. There are shoulder straps made of loose fabric that you tighten when tying the fabric around the body. With this carrier, the baby can face in or out on the front, but there are no back or hip carry options. 

Price at time of publication: $50

The Details:

  • Type of carrier: Hybrid
  • Weight range: 8-35 pounds
  • Positions: Inward and outward (front)
  • Materials: Polyester spandex blend
  • Care: Machine washable

Best Sling: Wildbird Sling

Wildbird Ring Sling Baby Carrier


Why We Like It: The fabric sling is portable and supportive for newborns, once you get the hang of using it safely. 

But Take Note: All of the weight is carried on one shoulder, so it may not be the best option for heavy babies or certain people. 

Like other fabric baby carriers, baby slings are a personal preference some parents love and others don’t. This sling is made from a large piece of linen that is securely threaded through two attached metal rings, making a pouch to hold the baby. Caregivers position the sling on one shoulder and place the baby in the pouch. There’s no padding and all the weight is held on one shoulder, so this may not be the most comfortable option for some adults, especially if you have any shoulder or upper body mobility issues. 

Dr. Schlitt reminds parents that safety is a top concern with sling carriers. “Some sling carriers may curl the baby’s body into a C-shape and press the baby’s chin to the chest which can obstruct the airway,” Dr. Schlitt says. “Make sure to position the baby in a way that the face is always visible and that the chin is away from the chest.” 

Like other unstructured carriers, there can be a learning curve in getting a comfortable carry. There are video tutorials and lots of online help on the Wildbird site.

Price at time of publication: $70

The Details:

  • Type of carrier: Sling
  • Weight range: 8-35 pounds 
  • Positions: Front, hip, or back
  • Materials: Linen
  • Care: Machine washable

Best for Newborns: Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier Mini

BabyBjorn Baby Carrier Mini


Why We Like It: This mini carrier is supportive and a good size for most newborns.

But Take Note: There’s a lower weight limit and not tons of padding, so your bigger baby will age out of this carrier. 

Some newborns just love, love, love to be held and are fussy any time you put them down in a crib or bassinet. If this situation feels familiar, this mini carrier could be a helpful solution and a salve for tired arms. The smaller sized carrier is suitable for newborns from 7 pounds and up. It has an adjustable head support, so it’s perfect for the littlest babies who are still developing their neck strength.  

While the shoulder and waist straps are not super padded, for carrying smaller and lighter babies, that’s usually just fine. Its structure makes it easier to put on and take off than a wrap or sling, so caregivers can quickly switch from carrying to feeding or changing dirty diapers. Because it maxes out at 24 pounds, your baby may outgrow this carrier within months, but for newborns who love to be held and busy caregivers who appreciate having two free hands, this carrier can be crucial during that time. 

Price at time of publication: $100

The Details:

  • Type of carrier: Front carrier
  • Weight range: 7-24 pounds
  • Positions: Inward or Outward (front) 
  • Materials: Available in cotton, 3D jersey (polyester-cotton blend), and 3D mesh (polyester)
  • Care: Machine washable

Best for Toddlers: Beco Toddler Carrier

Beco Toddler Carrier


Why We Like It: The 60 pound weight limit means this carrier is made for heavy toddlers and will help distribute their weight across the caregiver’s back and shoulders. 

But Take Note: There’s no facing-out front carry option. 

Even after the baby stage, you may decide to carry your toddler when they tire of walking or you don’t want the bulk of a stroller. Made specifically for the toddler set, this carrier has a wider, ergonomic seat and a tall, supportive back, so it’s comfortable for both the growing kid and the adult carrying them. 

Since it’s made to hold children up to 60 pounds, the straps are all about support and comfort. There’s a thick waist strap, crossable padded shoulder straps, and a sternum strap. All are adjustable and easy to move between different sized caregivers. The carrier comes with a detachable hood for privacy and sun protection, a clutch to hold items, and a zippered pocket for essentials. You can use it in a backpack style and facing-in front carry. There’s no option for an outward facing carry in the front position, so older toddlers may be frustrated that they can’t see the world around them, but others may appreciate the snuggling inward facing position and could even take a nap on the go. 

Price at time of publication: $180

The Details:

  • Type of carrier: Structured carrier
  • Weight range: 20-60 pounds
  • Positions: Inward (front) or back carry
  • Materials: Cotton or polyester mesh
  • Care: Machine washable

Best Backpack: ClevrPlus Cross Country Baby Carrier

ClevrPlus Cross Country Baby Backpack Hiking Child Carrier


Why We Like It: This is a relatively affordable hiking carrier that stores lots of gear and is quite comfortable for caregivers. 

But Take Note: The carrier maxes out at 33 pounds, so it may not be an option for bigger kids. 

Outdoorsy, active families with older babies can benefit from the structure, support, and storage that a hiking carrier can provide. Dr. Schlitt says that to use this type of carrier, your kiddo should be able to sit up on their own, and the brand recommends they be at least 9 months old. Kids can keep using it until they weigh 33 pounds—that’s a lower limit than other fancier hiking carriers, but it costs about $200 less than them too.

Weighing in at just 5.5 pounds, the carrier is lightweight and chock-full of bonus features, such as a canopy that protects from the sun and the rain. Lumbar padding, hip straps, and padded shoulder straps help distribute the weight across your body, and the waistband extends up to 60 inches, so is quite flexible for adults of all sizes. 

We like that it folds flat for easy storage and sits upright, which is helpful when putting your kiddo in the carrier. Safety features abound as well: There’s a reflective strip on the back of the carrier, and a safety belt and foot stirrups keep your kiddo secure, even if they nap on the hike. It also has two side water bottle holders and an extra large pocket to hold diapers, snacks, and other essentials. Grab this carrier and you’re ready to hit the trails! 

Price at time of publication: $167

The Details:

  • Type of carrier: Hiking backpack carrier
  • Weight range: 9 months old (independently sitting) to 33 pounds
  • Positions: Back carry only 
  • Materials: Metal frame, fabric seat and straps
  • Care: Washable drool pad

Best Waterproof: Vlokup Baby Wrap Sling

Vlokup Baby Wrap Sling Carrier


Why We Like It: The mesh fabric is lightweight, even when wet, and dries quickly. 

But Take Note: The fabric length isn’t very long and may not work for larger caregivers. 

Summer babies (and their caregivers) will appreciate this lightweight wrap made out of athletic mesh on super hot days. The wrap helps parents hold their baby close during any water related activities like the pool, beach, or even the shower. The airy mesh fabric is super lightweight and doesn't get heavy, even when wet. 

This is a wrap, so always follow safety precautions when securing your baby in it. It may take some trial and error to get a good fit, but reviewers appreciate that the mesh isn’t stretchy, so once you’ve got the wrap positioning right, it’ll stay put. 

Price at time of publication: $22

The Details:

  • Type of carrier: Wrap
  • Weight range: 8-35 pounds
  • Positions: Inward front carry
  • Materials: Polyester mesh
  • Care: Machine washable

How We Selected the Best Baby Carriers

As parents with baby carrying experience, we know to look for baby carriers in a variety of styles that work for different ages of children and different adult body types, all at relatively affordable prices. Other factors included our expert recommendations, shipping and return policies, and availability. Recommendations from other parents and caregivers, as well as user reviews (and complaints), were also helpful to find baby carriers that live up to their promises of quality and customer service.

Factors to Consider 

There’s a wide range of carriers available for babies, and you may even find that you want more than one for your varying needs as your child grows. Before making your purchase, familiarize yourself with what’s out there.

Type of Carrier

The most common types of baby carriers include:

  • Wrap or Sling: Made with little or no structure, wraps like the Moby Classic are usually a piece of fabric that needs to be wrapped and tied or pulled through a hoop. 
  • Front carrier: These can only be used in a front carry, often with baby facing in or out. 
  • Convertible: Structured carriers like the Ergobaby Omni 360 can move from front, back, and often hip carry. 
  • Frame or Backpack: Made for hiking, these are often heavier and can only be used on the back. 
  • Hybrid: There are several baby carriers, such as the Boppy ComfyFit, that combine features more than one of the above.

Age and Weight Limits

Different baby carriers provide different levels of support for the baby’s head, neck, and body. They also vary in how they distribute the weight on the adult’s body. This is why manufacturers’ age and weight limits are important for both safety and comfort.

“Always follow the directions and adhere to the weight specifications of the carrier model,” Dr. Schlitt says. Weight limits are much more precise than age limits. If you have any questions about your carrier and safety, always speak with your healthcare provider. Bringing a carrier to an appointment can be a smart way to get a quick safety evaluation. 

Material and Care

Choose a carrier that can easily be machine washed and dried. If you use a carrier, it’s inevitable that it’ll end up with drool, poop, spit up, or some combination of bodily fluids on it. Machine washing and fully drying is the key to a clean carrier. 


Dr. Schlitt says her favorite baby carrier is “​any carrier that supports the baby properly and is the most comfortable for the wearer!”

Really, the only way to tell which carrier will be most comfortable is to try it on with your baby–so opt for carriers from retailers with a good return policy or try a friend’s carrier if that’s possible. Sometimes, you’ll have to try a few different carriers to find the one that’s best for you. 

Your Questions, Answered 

Are baby carriers safe? 

When used correctly and at proper weight requirements, carriers are safe. Dr. Schlitt cautions against “swaddle-type carriers" that constrict the infant’s legs too tightly, because those are thought to increase the risk of hip dysplasia.

When can a baby face forward in a carrier? 

Timing is based on a developmental milestone that will differ for each kid and for different brands of baby carrier. 

“A baby can forward face in a carrier once able to support their own head and have demonstrated that they have good muscle control of their trunk,” Dr. Schlitt says. “Make sure the baby’s hips are placed in the ‘M’ hip-healthy position when facing outward. The baby can enjoy all the sights around him/her but should not sleep in a forward facing position, as their head will droop, and the chin may be positioned too close to the chest.”

Which baby carrier is safest for my back? 

Safety is a top concern for caregivers too! Dr. Schlitt has helpful tips for parents and carrier comfort. ”The baby should be positioned as high as possible to reduce the strain on the lower back. Make sure that any straps are adequately tightened. When using a baby carrier, the wearer should bend at the knees instead of the waist if picking something up. This helps prevent injury to the wearer’s back and lessens the chance that the baby may fall out.” 

Who We Are 

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She’s also the mom of a 12-year-old son, 9-year-old son, and 5-year old daughter. Her kids are now way too heavy for baby carriers, but she was a big, big fan when they were little. Maya still remembers the first time she used a carrier with her first-born son and marveled at the idea that she suddenly had two hands free again!

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