Action Baby Carrier Review: Toddler Edition

Hiking with the ABC

Hiking with the ABC

Yes, it’s really called an Action Baby Carrier. Hence this train of thought every single time I pick it up:

Action Baby Carrier —> Action Baby —> Action Man –>


Every.single.time. I think I’ve got a permanent “Ashes to Ashes” earworm.

This Action Baby Carrier is actually an Action Baby Toddler Carrier, to muddy the waters even more. Action Baby SSCs (soft-structured carriers) come in both baby and toddler. I got both to test, but since I have two bigs and one little, I thought I’d give the toddler a spin first.

First, the dimensions: ABC Toddler has a 17 inch body that’s 19 inches wide, and adjusts between 28 and 53 inches. The manufacturer recommends it for 18 months and up. It’s got straight straps, not curved, and a padded waistbelt that fits caregivers from tiny to large. My BWI group found that to be true.

Well, Sunny is 14 months old and that’s practically 18 months, right? So we used it. He’s a small 14 months old at only 20 lbs, so I didn’t expect him to fit. Surprisingly, he was juuuuust big enough to get into it. I found I could wear him in the baby-size and toddler-size carriers both, which is how they’re designed. His legs were allllmost overextended, but not quite, so I’d say he fit better in the baby carrier.

I generally don’t love SSCs because every time I put one on, I find myself singing the Muffin Top song from 30 Rock. Action Baby isn’t a miracle carrier, so I still have some, shall we say, overflow. But the padded waistbelt helped lessen the spillage, and some clever sweater placement kept it invisible.

Like the old Olives and Applesauce carrier, this switches between crossed and uncrossed straps -a versatility you don’t find in every SSC brand, including Ergo. That nice, because it doesn’t have you groping behind your back to fasten a chest clip.

Nursing discreetly in ABC

Nursing discreetly in ABC

Those crossed straps also make it easier to nurse in than many SSCs, since you don’t have to worry about catching a clip on your back when you loosen the straps. The hood made a lovely nursing cover, and no one could tell what I was doing. Win.

The crossed straps do mean though that you’re not only unbuckling to change between front and back carries, you’re also tightening and loosening. That’s kind of a pain in the middle of the Target parking lot. I found myself tightening pretty close to the ends in a front carry, which tells me again that Sunny is still on the very small end for this carrier.

I liked the moveable chest clip, though it occasionally caught on beginning of the padding, and it fell off once  several times when I was switching between crossed and uncrossed straps. I also had some trouble getting it where I wanted it sometimes. User error? No idea. After some messing around with the carrier’s height (right under breasts, at hips, at natural waist), I still found that the chest clip pulled and bunched the straps – another problem with the moveable clip.

Bunching at the chest clip in a back carry

Bunching at the chest clip in a back carry

When I used this with my older kids, they fit much better, though it wasn’t knee-to-knee in my preschooler (obviously, and which isn’t necessary in an SSC). My five-year-old pronounced it comfortable. I liked it as well with him, though the bunched straps got worse with a larger kid. I found if I carefully placed the straps over the ball of my shoulder joint, farther out than I’d normally wear them, it was quite comfortable.

As some sites have said, this is a good SSC for the money, and they’re right. It’s also manufactured not only in the US, but in Detroit: a place that needs jobs desperately. The makers are committed to supporting their local economy, especially as the area really really really needs it. I can get behind an SSC maker out of Detroit that provides good jobs for at least a dozen people.

Some friends who tried this complained the sleep hood wasn’t structured enough, but it didn’t bother me.

All in all, I liked this. I’m a diehard wrapper and I didn’t dread testing it; Sunny seemed to like it, and it held Dragontrainer (40 lbs or so) without any trouble. The weight stated, as it should, in the hips and chest belt. I’d definitely recommend this as a carrier over many other SSC brands, including the Ergo’s I’ve tried. Not reaching behind me to snap stuff in a front carry is a win in my book.

Big thanks to Action Baby, who donated this to my local BWI chapter!

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