Baby Carrier Features

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on March 15, 2020

Babies may look tiny, but they can get pretty heavy after you've been lugging them around all day! One way to keep baby close to you without straining your back is with a carrier. Carriers support your baby, keep your hands free, and give you more mobility than a bulky stroller.

Confused about which carrier to buy? Here are some suggestions:

  • Try on each carrier before you buy one. Features to look for:
    • Good back support for you
    • Leg holes small enough to prevent your baby from slipping through
    • A padded headrest to support a newborn's wobbly head and neck
    • Solid materials and strong straps, washable
  • Front carriers are best for heavy babies, and moms/dads with back problems.
  • Slings make nursing a breeze, but they don't have safety straps. If you use a sling, make sure your baby faces out and doesn't slip out.
  • Don't use a backpack-style carrier until your baby is at least 1 year old.
  • If you are buying a used baby carrier, make sure it has not been recalled. Also, inspect it carefully, including the frame, clasps, buckles, and straps.
  • Even if your baby carrier has not been recalled, carefully check the condition of the carrier. Worn or old carriers can be a safety hazard for babies of any size.
  • Most baby carrier manufacturers include weight guidelines, directions for orientation of the baby, and info about duration of use for their products. Make sure to follow these guidelines to keep your baby safe.
  • You can also talk with your pediatrician to help you decide about the safety of the products you want to use for your baby.

Show Sources


News release, CPSC.

American Academy of Pediatrics. Your Baby's First Year, Random House Digital, 2010.

MacLean, Heather. The Baby Gizmo Buying Guide, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2008.

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