I've just received a Sleepy Nico Toddler Carrier to try out. This carrier has been visiting various Baby Carrying Consultants around the UK, for them to try out and give feedback on.
I thought I'd write a little review of it, so people can see what it's like:
The Sleepy Nico Toddler Carrier is made of the same corduroy straps and body, with fabric front panel, as the Sleepy Nico Baby Carrier. Similarly, it has a flat hood that clips onto the shoulder straps. The chest strap is attached to the straps with webbing, which can be easily slid up and down the straps to locate the chest strap in a comfortable place for the wearer.
Unlike the Baby Carrier the Sleepy Nico Toddler Carrier contains 'perfect fit adjustors' (additional adjustors on the shoulder straps, near the hood), to allow you to make small adjustments in tightness, and to allow a tighter strap overall. Although they have a buckle on them, the shoulder straps aren't easily crossable in a front carry, as the buckle is located on the strap rather than the body of the carrier.
- The body panel is a square, measuring 43cm x 43 cm (17" x 17")
- Waistband adjusts from 75cm to 131cm (29.5" to 51.5")
- Shoulder straps adjust from 33cm to 92cm (13" to 36.5")
- Safety tested for 6.8kg to 20kg (15lb to 44lb)
- 100% cotton
- British Safety standard BS EN 13209-2:2005
- 12 month guarantee from date of purchase
- RRP £89.00 as at November 2017; currently only available to order
HOW IT FITS
I'm 5'5 tall and a size 10. I tested the Sleepy Nico Todder Carrier with a toddler-sized demo doll and, as I don't have children who are younger, my 6.5 year old son.
The corduroy waistband is very comfortable. It transfers the weight to your waist/hips and moulds easily to your shape. It was equally comfortable around my waist as it was around my hips. I would imagine this waistband is likely to fit many different sizes and shapes of wearers due to this.
The demo doll was very slightly too small for the carrier; you want to ensure the fabric goes no higher than the nape of your little one's neck, no lower than their armpits, and the width of the carrier is no wider than from knee-pit to knee-pit, toensure the legs are not over extended.
The demo doll is around the size of an average 9-12 month old so I would say the minimum age this carrier would be suitable from would be around 12-18 months. Because the fabric is very soft, however, it does naturally cinch in if a little too wide.
The shoulder straps were easy to bring up and the chest strap quick to adjust in height and tightness. Shoulder straps lay flat on my shoulders (which is important to ensure weight is distributed evenly).
I did not need the straps to be fully tightened in a back carry; either with the demo doll or my 6.5 year old. This was a definite bonus, as I often find I can't get shoulder straps tight enough for my body in a back carry.
I'm not going to lie, my 6.5 year old did feel heavy in it. But then he is a few kilograms above the maximum weight for the carrier and is fairly tall for his age. However, the carrier did very nearly come up to his armpits (required from a safety point of view) and he felt comfortable in it, so it would be fine for using for a short period of time/in an emergency (which, to be honest, is likely to be the only times most people would need to carry a child of that age).
I found the carrier less easy to use on the front, as the chest strap (located behind me, when used in a front carry) tended to slip down, making it harder to reach to clip up. I needed the chest strap done up on it's tightest setting to get the straps to lie flat on my shoulders. Ideally, I'd have liked to get them just a tiny bit tighter if that had been possible.
Aside from those, the carrier felt pretty comfortable on the front. Crossing straps would have meant the doll's weight was spread more evenly and I definitely benefited from having the chest strap done up tightly, so the straps didn't sit too wide across my back.
It would be possible to put the carrier on with the straps pre-crossed, loosened off, and then tighten them once the child was in, but it's not quite so easy getting a larger child/toddler into a carrier in this way, so the practicalities may not make it that viable.
This is a really lovely, affordable carrier. It folds up small when not in use and is likely to mould to most body shapes well. I would say the optimum age range is likely to be 18 months to 4+ years (bearing in mind that all children vary hugely in size, so this is just a rough idea).
I feel the carrier is better suited to back carrying than carrying on the front.
If I could change one aspect of the carrier I would have the buckles located on the body panel of the carrier, to enable the straps to be crossed easily for a front carry.
I'll definitely be adding one of these to the Library. It's a great alternative to the more structured carriers such as the Tula Toddler and Pre-School Rose and Rebellion. It is a little bit more structured than the Izmi Carrier and Connecta Toddler & Pre-School Carriers, with similar structure/padding to the Action Baby Carrier Toddler Carrier. I found the waistband moulded to my shape better than the Action baby Carrier and felt more similar to the Izmi Toddler Carrier.