“I see so many posts from people feeling they HAVE to upgrade even though they have not reached the limits of their current carrier and have no comfort issues simply because they have a toddler and shouldn’t a toddler have a toddler carrier.”
“You may or may not have heard that many brands of soft structured carriers (SSC’s) come in different sizes often named for the developmental stage of the child they are most likely to fit, e.g. “infant boba”, “toddler Tula”, “preschool Kinderpack”.
The names given to the sizes are marketing tools. Many parents think of babywearing or of carriers as being for use with infants only. Adding developmental stage names to larger sizes of carriers is designed to 1. inform consumers that there are carriers for larger children 2. that you can wear your big kid comfortably and 3. to encourage you to buy more stuff.
However larger carriers are not requisite. If your child is within the suggested weight limits of a carrier and you and your child are comfortable in the carrier, then there is no reason to upgrade to a larger size. It will not make your child any safer and if its already comfortable why mess with it?
If you are in the market for a new carrier consider the weight limit and the measurements of the the carrier, not simply the name given to a size. For example, your toddler maybe on the cusp of the so-called “preschool” size, or your preschooler maybe closer to the “toddler” size.”
To which Leslie adds,
“The availability of sizes of structured carriers is amazing and wonderful, and facilitates comfort and use for all families with all different needs, like some of the extended ‘preschool’ sizes meeting the needs of families with small but older special needs children who are usually wheelchair bound. We live in an amazing new age of customizable sizes both for the wearer and for the babies and children being worn, but the unfortunate side of this availability comes with a hard focus on product instead of process.
When caregivers come for help and assistance with their carriers on forums or groups, there used to be every effort made to help the caregiver adjust and work with the carrier they had–but in recent trends, instead of suggestions for adjustments and tips for ease of use, those seeking advice are instead being handed shopping lists! The idea that a perfectly usable structured carrier has been totally outgrown if the child’s knees are not both being touched and supported by the width of carrier body is a VERY NEW IDEA.
Knee-to-knee coverage is not required for a carrier to be comfortable and supportive for caregiver and child. If the child’s knees are even with or above the level of the hips, regardless of where the body of the carrier terminates, the carrier is perfectly usable.
Families who are new to babywearing, who have invested what they feel is quite a lot of money into their new Ergo might feel frustrated or discouraged at a barrage of voices suggesting they purchase a Kinderpack or Tula, instead of asking for a picture of the carrier being worn and suggesting easy comfort solutions like wearing the waist belt higher and tighter instead of gaping away from the body and at the low hips–or adjusting the shoulder straps to fit properly.
Tailored advice and tips, true babywearing education, should come before suggesting a new purchase. Even narrow based front packs can be greatly improved with the use of a scarf or piece of fabric, both for the ergonomic comfort of the baby, and to spread weight off just the shoulders and distribute it to the waist and torso.”