Features: Usually large, back-pack style carriers that are designed in a similar way to hiking backpacks with a metal frame. The child is fastened into a seat in the carrier first and the carrier then fastens to the parent using padded waist and shoulder straps. They are usually adjustable in various ways using webbing, and have storage pockets for carrying baby items etc.
Age Range/Suitability: Suitable from about 6 months when baby can sit unaided. From experience this carrier style tends to suit men better than women because it seems better designed to fit parents with a broader, taller and flatter torso.
Carrying Positions: Suitable for back carries only.
Options: Most framed carrier will have integral storage pockets and many are freestanding so can be used as a portable baby chair. Better quality models have higher levels of adjustability, padding and support that both give a better fit to parent to improve comfort during longer periods of carrying, and that hold the child closer to the parent for more ergonomic weight distribution. Many also have carry handles, toy loops, cushions to support a child’s head and optional sun or rain covers.
Pros: Widely available to buy from major retailers; can be very comfortable when fitted and adjusted correctly; some can be used as a baby chair or even convert to a temporary pushchair; integral storage pockets; often preferred by men for looks and carrying style; can be used for long periods of carrying; high carrying position suits taller parents and can give child a better view; can be great for using on holidays or on occasional trips when you also need to carry larger amounts of stuff than usual.
Cons: Not suitable from newborn or for front and hip carries; one of the least quick carrier types to use and difficult to use alone; heavy and bulky to use and store; not very convenient for most families for regular day-to-day use compared to softer carriers; not usually the most comfortable option, especially for women.
Because we get asked about the relative benefits of this carrier style compared to the softer slings and carriers quite a lot, we’ve added some more of our Thoughts on Framed Carriers.