When Lucie was a small baby Nikki wore her in a Baby Bjorn Carrier and got on well with it. As Lucie grew bigger Nikki found she preferred to use the pram and later the pushchair. They do not have car so get about by walking a lot. Now Lucie is a two year old she sometimes wants to get in the pushchair, sometimes wants to walk and sometimes wants Nikki to carry her. Nikki often ends up carrying Lucie while pushing the pushchair, which she finds very uncomfortable.
Nikki contacted The Sling Doctor asking for advice on which buckle carrier to buy. She felt overwhelmed by the options and was not able to travel to one of her local sling libraries.
We met at Nikki and Lucie’s home and discussed their options. We discussed basic sling safety and the safety features on buckle carriers. I explained that Lucie would need a ‘toddler sized’ carrier and that the way in which toddler buckle carriers vary in several ways including:
- The amount of padding
- Where the waist belt sits
- Whether the shoulder straps disconnect and if so, where
- How many adjustment points there are and which direction the adjust in.
- Whether you can cross the shoulder straps on your back
- Whether you can wear the shoulder straps uncrossed (like a rucksack)
- Whether there is a chest belt between the shoulder straps
Most of these points come down to personal preference for both wearer and wearee; there isn’t a ‘best carrier’ for everyone. There is, however, probably a set of carrier characteristics that each person prefers. A detailed comparison of buckle carriers has been written by my colleague Zoe at The Sling Consultancy.
There are so many toddler buckle carriers available to buy that I am not able to stock them all. For the purposes of consultation I try to demonstrate the individual features and provide samples of at least two very different carriers. I hope that this will help the wearer to work out which options suit them best and to become familiar with how to achieve optimum positioning in different styles of carrier. This information should enable them to identify the features they want on their carrier, or at least a shortlist to take to a sling library.
I took Nikki a Toddler sized Connecta and a Toddler Sized Lenny Lamb Buckle Carrier.
The Connecta has no padding, this means it folds up really small. The waist belt sits high up and the fabric of the main panel decends from it creating a deep seat for your child. It has detachable shoulder straps so it is possible to cross the shoulder straps. There is no chest strap but there is an accessory strap which is seperate but can be used like a chest belt. It is often recommended as a cool and lightweight option, available in a wide range of appealing fabrics.
The Lenny Lamb Toddler Buckle Carrier
The Lenny Lamb Toddler Buckle Carrier has a padded and structured waist belt and shoulder straps. The shoulder straps detach and there is an integrated chest strap. The waist belt is worn lower than that on the Connecta. I originally bought mine because it was a good low budget option, however, they have since increased in price and are comparable with others on the market.
Nikki tried on the Lenny Lamb Toddler Buckle Carrier with a demonstration doll first. She seemed to like it immediately and was keen to try Lucie in it. Lucie happily obliged and got into the carrier. Nikki described feeling shocked by how light Lucie felt in the carrier. They both seemed very comfortable.
Nikki and Lucie also tried the Connecta but didn’t find it as comfortable.
I hope they enjoy their buckle carrier and will be happy to provide reduced price follow up consultations on other uses, such as back carries in the future.