Best forParents looking for a quality year-round carrier with versatile carrying options
Top BenefitsVentilated fabric, lumbar-supporting waistband, extendable baby hood, multiple carrying positions
ConsiderationsHigh-market price, not-so-simple hip and back carries
Bottom lineThe Ergobaby 360 Carrier with Cool Air Mesh is a stellar baby carrier with sturdy materials and adjustable features, making it super adaptable to you and your baby’s needs
A quality baby carrier needs to do it all: It must be safe and secure, comfortable for you and your little one, and should be built with materials that will last—at least until baby begins to walk on her own two feet. The Ergobaby 360 Carrier with Cool Air Mesh accomplishes just that: it's equipped with ventilated fabric panels designed to keep you and your baby cool, and it safely accommodates children from 12 to 33 pounds—about four months to three years—and can also carry newborns if you purchase the infant insert (sold separately). We especially appreciated the Ergobaby 360's four carrying options (hip, back, front inward and outward facing) that pretty much guarantee you'll find the perfect position for both you and baby.
Ergobaby collaborated with midwives and baby-carrier consultants during the design process. The result? A high-quality carrier with sturdy clasps and buckles, harness straps that feel tough enough to be mountain-climbing gear, and safety elastics for extra security. (You simply loop buckles through the safety elastics before securing and roll up any dangling straps, securing them with their elastic feature to keep them out of the way.) Parents know their children’s preferences and can best determine which position will jive best for everyone involved. Still, it's crucial to follow the recommended age restrictions for each position. For instance, the front-outward carry is only suitable for babies who have enough strength to support their heads. (Make sure your baby’s chin never rests on her chest as breathing pathways could become restricted, putting her at risk of suffocation.)
After baby hits the six-month mark, you can begin practicing short carries in the front-outward position, but only when she's awake. If your child is wanting to sleep, the safest and most comfortable position is the front-inward carry. Ergobaby also recommends waiting until baby is six months old before using positions where they're out of your direct sight. It's important to only use these out-of-sight positions after your child has developed appropriate neck strength and is able to maintain an ergonomic, frog-leg position with knees and hips in alignment.
The International Hip Dysplasia Institute considers the Ergobaby 360 Carrier "hip-healthy," meaning it won't interfere with your little one's natural hip development. The four carrying options have been manufactured to keep baby’s body ergonomically correct. The structured bucket seat also helps maintain baby’s naturally rounded—not arched—spine and prevents pressure or discomfort near the crotch area. In the front-outward position, the bucket seat gently tips your baby’s pelvis, encouraging her spine to rest on your body, which protects her natural spine physiology. Our parent testers all agreed their children’s upper legs were well supported and the product had excellent hip control.
Our parent testers’ babies were snug in their Ergobaby 360 Carriers without it being too tight or limiting—they could easily move their arm and legs while strapped in various positions. The tuck-away hood also offers ample neck support. However, one parent tester flagged that the front pocket, which holds the folded baby hood, sat thick and bulky underneath her son’s chin, and he wasn't a fan of that.
This year-round carrier is versatile and can be used in hot and cold climates. The model has been redesigned with “cool air mesh,” a ventilated fabric that is breathable and helps regulate body temperature. The fabric, straps and buckles are also durable—most parent testers agreed the materials were strong and resilient—while still being soft and gentle on baby's skin.
The waist strap felt secure and balanced on our parent testers’ hips while their babies' weight was evenly distributed across their backs, and the padded waistbelt alleviated any pressure or pinching. Its wide-girth design won't dig into your belly and is great for lumbar support. Plus, cushy straps soften the pressure on your shoulders, while still keeping baby secure and in an ergonomically correct position.
The biggest upgrade on the revamped four-position 360 is its mesh-lined panel and ventilated waistband. The new model has a large, sturdy buckle with an elastic safety loop, unlike the older version's Velcro waistband. To tighten the waistband, you simply pull the harness straps forward.
“How hard could this be?” you might think when taking a baby carrier out of the box. While using a carrier is pretty simple, it's wise to read the instructions first. Our parent testers agreed the steps were easy to follow—especially with Ergobaby’s cute and simple illustrations. But if you’re a more visual person, Ergobaby offers multiple online tutorials that are incredibly helpful if you haven’t used a carrier before. Each position requires minor adjustments of buttons and straps, and knowing the correct order of steps will make your life a whole lot easier. It’s best to practice the positions before using the carrier on the fly. Keep in mind some options will require more practice than others. For instance, you will have to learn how to slowly swing your squirming baby onto your back for the back carry. And figuring out the hip carry might be awkward at first, but it gets easier with multiple tries. Tip: Avoid wearing loose cardigans or flowy shirts to prevent tangles with the harness straps.
Our lab testers thought the waist buckle was secure and the carrier was easy to get in and out of—the hardest part was tightening the back straps (having another person to help would make this easier). The back clip rides high, making it easier to adjust on your own, even with tight shoulders. It's best if you can try it on first, get your perfect fit within close range, and secure the safety elastics so when you're using the carrier with your baby, it’ll be faster to for you to tighten with no dangling straps. All our parent testers had the easiest time using the front inward- and outward-facing positions, and most also said it's easy to place baby in the back position. Overall, the majority of parents thought the Ergobaby 360 was easy to use.
This Ergobaby 360 Carrier is machine-washable, but needs to be air dried. Ergobaby recommends machine washing infrequently, using cold water and a mild detergent. (Also, before throwing the carrier into the washing machine, make sure all the buckles are fastened.) Parent testers found the carrier easy to spot clean, yet most were ambivalent regarding its machine-washability. One parent noted that the rolled-up baby hood became slobbery pretty quickly and wished there was an option to clean just that part.
While the Ergobaby 360 Carrier is on the higher end of the price range of baby carriers, parent testers agreed its comfort, quality and extra features added to its overall value. Some testers said it's well worth the money, especially if you're an avid baby-wearer, and all said they'd purchase it if they were buying a carrier. If the Ergobaby 360 fits within your budget, you can be assured you're using a safe, high-quality product, with each carrying option offering ergonomic and hip-healthy support.
Overall, our editors and parent testers were impressed with the Ergobaby 360 Carrier with Cool Air Mesh. Its four ergonomic carrying options makes this product stand out, as does the lining, which is not only aesthetically pleasing, but sturdy, ventilated and adjustable. Meanwhile, thick lumbar support and cushioned shoulder supports help distribute weight evenly for the wearer, and the mesh lining is designed to keep you and your baby cool year-round. All of our parent testers would recommend this cute and comfy carrier to others, and deemed it worthy of the Today’s Parent Approved seal.