Monday, November 24, 2014

What's the Difference?

We often get questions about the differences between SSC (Soft Structured Carrier) Brands. The differences are often small but can make a big difference in comfort from person to person. People tend to want an easy answer to the question “which SSC is best for me?” The problem is that especially with SSC’s there tends to not be an easy answer to the question of which one is best. Just as each brand of SSC varies from another; every wearer’s body varies from another. This means that while one brand may be a perfect fit for one caregiver, it is not necessarily a perfect fit for the next.

There are a few main differences that can often be found between brands. For example, some brands place the waist buckle in the back and some place it on the side. Some brands only pull one direction to tighten waist and arm straps while others pull both directions. Those differences aren't the focus of this post though; here I want to concentrate on subtler things that can make a difference in how a carrier fits you. In order to demonstrate those differences I am going to compare two standard size Action Baby Carriers (ABC’s).

Action Baby Carrier changed ownership a little over a year ago and many people have noticed that since the ownership change there have been some changes in the carriers as well. This is not a bad thing. It happens. Carriers change and companies change. It is however an easy way to show how small differences in the same brand and size of carrier can change the way that carrier wears and feels for caregiver and baby. Below you will see pictures comparing an older ABC and a newer ABC(after ownership change) and I will point out some differences between the two carriers.

In the photos below both the Pink/Green wave and the Green/black carriers are older ABC’s. The Grey Carrier is a newer ABC. The waves carrier is exactly the same as the green one except for the fact that the green is one of their organic carriers. These are all standard sized carriers.
 Inside of the grey and green ABC’s
Outside of the grey and Pink/Green Waves ABC’s
Height comparison with hoods down.
Close up of Height comparison. (grey, Pink/green waves. Hoods up)

Height Comparison with hoods up. (Grey and Waves)
Height Comparison with hoods up. (Grey and Green)
You can see above that the padded portion of the waist band is very similar and approximately the same length.
The waist straps however are significantly different in length. The longer one on top is the newer grey carrier. This means it would fit a wider range of body sizes.
This photo shows the placement of the arm buckle from the front. You can see that the grey carrier(Far left) has a much different placement than the other 2.
Comparison of arm buckle placement from the inside of the carrier.

Grey Carrier.
Same child in green carrier.
Same child again in grey carrier

For me personally wearing an almost 2 year old and being short I found the older ABC's more comfortable than the newer one. One reason was height difference in the carriers. The advantage of the shorter body on the newer carrier is that it can be used sooner with a small baby. The disadvantage is that it doesn't provide as much support when wearing a toddler.

Height difference aside as that aspect would only be an issue if I was wearing for a long time, I did not like the placement of the arm buckle on the newer carrier. When tightened to where I needed it the difference in placement meant that the buckle on the older carriers hit me fine but on the newer carrier it dug into my armpit. Someone taller would not have the same issue, which demonstrates the point that every wearer and every SSC is different so what works for one may not work for another.

The 3 main things I pointed out here: Height difference, arm buckle placement and waist strap length, are not huge differences. They are however things that can make a difference in how the carrier fits both wearer and baby. They are also not necessarily things you would notice much unless you tried the carrier, which is why there is no easy answer to the question “which SSC is best for me?”.

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