REVIEW – BabyBjorn Miracle Baby Carrier

ITEM: Miracle Baby Carrier

MANUFACTURER: BabyBjorn

DESCRIPTION:

An ergonomic and safe method of carrying a young child (infant to toddler) up against the chest, allowing hands free to compete other tasks.

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REVIEW NOTES:

A different review from what you’ve all been used to. Since I’ve recently had my life changed forever (for the good) with the addition of my first child, it’s time to start working on “…the Beyond” part of Packs and Beyond. I love load bearing equipment of all descriptions, so it’s time to show what else I’ve been playing with lately. Are you wanting to shop around for some more carriers? You could look into carrier reviews from sites like Best For Mums.

 

Unlike some of my recent kit reviews, where real life has often impacted on being able to head out scrub and enjoy the wilds, I’ve been able to put this item to very good usage under real life conditions!

Enjoy!

 

SPECIFICATIONS:

Materials –

Soft mesh

Soft cotton duck

Plastic tri-glide and harness buckles

Steel sliding buckles

 

LAYOUT:

Harness –

Inside view:

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External View:

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The harness of the Miracle is a combination item of shoulder straps joined to a hip-loading belt. Both shoulder straps and hip belt is adjustable via large tri-glide buckle.

The shoulder straps go around the arm, and under the arm high on the rib cage. It is joined at the front where the attachment points for the baby carrying bucket is located.

 

On the back of the harness is a very unusual yoke system, where an inverted plastic wish-bone mounted on a sliding rail system connects the hip-belt with the shoulder harness that seems to almost automatically adjust for correct back length once the harness is being adjusted by the wearer. I’m not sure how it happens, but it seems to adjust very easily for any end-user, whether they have small shoulders and big hips like a woman, or smaller hips and larger shoulders like a bloke.

Sliding buckle:

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Inverted wishbone, external:

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Inverted wishbone and back pad, internal:

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The hip loading belt is secured at the front by a buckle that is reminiscent of a racing car safety harness, being ambidextrous, and is used as the anchor point for the baby carriage bucket.

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The inside of the shoulder straps is a cotton duck material, that is quite soft. This is to prevent abrasion injury to the child whilst being carried and to Mum and Dad being worn.

The inside surface of the hip-loading belt is a mesh material to soak up sweat and remove it from the wearer, preventing chafing.

 

The entire harness is a fascinating and intriguing design, that is actually very comfortable.

 

Rucksack/Cargo bearer –

This part of the baby carrier, is the main reason for existence and function – the safe and comfortable transport of a baby.

External view:

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Internal view:

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The bottom of the cargo bucket is anchored to the hip-loading belt buckle by a tri-glide arrangement. This tab is quite long, and graduated with a measuring tape so that the size of the bucket can be changed to suit the increasing size of the baby. As such, there is a minimum length of 53cm (20.8 inches) and the maximum height of child up to 85cm (33.5 inches). Although to be completely honest, I’m not sure I’d be really happy to carry a child that size in this carrier. It’s not that the weight really worries me (although I’m not getting any younger, and some of my joint injuries are ever-present nowadays) but the pure inconvenience of having a squirming child that size strapped to me. By that size, or so my thinking goes, the damn child better be semi-capable of self-locomotion for decent periods!

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Above this sizing mechanism is a pictogram instruction on how to use the entire rig. This made me feel right at home with other bits of military equipment I’ve used over the years, especially of American origin.

 

The first attachment points for the baby bucket are to form a seat for the child to sit in. These are a slide buckle, press button release mechanism, of quite solid construction, and colour coded in standard port/starboard navigation colours for those in the population who may not have graduated to reading quite yet, such as those lovely blokes from Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children (aka the United States Marine Corps). Before all you Devil Dogs get too upset at me: it’s OK, calm yourselves. I used to be army, I STILL walk with my knuckles on the ground.

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To back up these sliding buckles are loops and toggles. Apparently, they are present to secure the bucket once the child is above a certain weight limit, to prevent failures of the buckles.

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Moving further up over arm holes to allow a child to grab their wearing parent for comfort, is a collar system to secure the baby’s head. Now, let me tell all of you, my fellow knuckle-draggers, that keeping Baby’s head up and straight is vital for the health of the child. To this end, there is a pair of buckles that lock onto the mushroom tab.

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There is also a tab with tri-glide buckle to adjust the tension of the of the top end of the baby bucket to ensure the child’s head is properly secured and not bouncing around.

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The baby carrying cargo bucket is made of foam covered with a soft cotton duck. It’s an interesting material that gives strength, without being too abrasive to a child’s (and mother’s) sensitive skin. It also soaks up quite a large quantity of drool and dribble. I haven’t seen how this material soaks up vomit or *ahem* “other” bodily fluids… yet.

The cargo carrier bucket allows a child to be carried inwards, face towards the wearer, or have the collar folded down to allow the child to face outwards towards the wider world.

 

PERSONAL ASSESSMENT:

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As mentioned earlier in this review, my life has changed for the better with the arrival of our first child, a daughter. As a proud, doting dad, who happens to be a professionally OCD sort of bloke, my obsession with high quality load bearing equipment has been extended to ensuring that the most precious cargo I have in my life is safely carried.

 

As most of you are aware, I’ve spent a few years with various loads strapped to my broken carcass in some of the hardest industries in the country. I cut my teeth as a Reserve Infantry soldier, and then moved on to underground coal mining. Both industries carry a fair amount of personal equipment on the body, in order to complete and survive the job. I happen to prefer having loads strapped to my chest and high on the rib-cage compared to a belt load, for access and comfort reasons, as well as being able to free up space and avoid interaction with a hip-loading belt on my rucksack.

 

One of the biggest problems I have with this baby carrier, is not the design, nor the construction, nor the way the child is secured to me, it’s my old ingrained habits from when I spent long periods with chest webbing strapped to me as a soldier. My major problem, is that I’m too used to have rifle magazines or scientific instruments on my chest, and being able to rest my arms on them during slack moments. As evidenced by this photo:

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Obviously, I can’t do that nowadays, because I’ll crush baby’s head!

So, I’ve been using the Miracle Carrier to help settle my little one after a meal. The belly to belly contact with a moderate amount of pressure makes burping the poor little thing much easier for me. It also helps calm her down since she can listen to my heartbeat and ensures my hands are free for other essential tasks around the house, like doing the dishes, cleaning up after myself (not done nearly enough according to my darling wife), and getting the laundry on.

I’ve been finding the Miracle Baby Carrier a much better alternative to carrying my little one for decent distances, rather than carrying her in a stroller. I find myself more manoeuvrable, and more agile, compared to pushing a stroller.

Although the problem with this device, is finding somewhere to set the little one down when we stop and sit-down.

 

Compatibility with other support equipment ranges from fair to OK. I’ve been wearing a Mystery Ranch ASAP assault pack as a nappy bag (as reviewed HERE) and because of the small size of the pack, it works OK with the Miracle baby carrier. Due to the design of the baby carrier harness however, it will interfere with the wearing of some packs, and their features, such as hip-loading belts.

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PROS –

The load bearing harness is one of the best I have ever seen for comfort and load transferrance. The design really does work very well to ensure the vital cargo is carried safely and comfortably.

It is fairly easy to don, adjust and secure the child.

 

The harness allows hands free work with the child mounted in it.

 

It’s a fairly lightweight, and low volume piece of gear when packed up. Since I’ve now discovered the joys of just how much gear needs to be carted all over the countryside as part of my logistical support footprint for mum and bub, something that’s fairly lightweight and easy to stow has been greatly appreciated.

 

CONS –

The biggest complaint I have of the Miracle baby carrier, is a reflection of my experience: strap management. The strap management (or lack thereof) really does suck. I truly hate having loose strap ends flapping around to catch and snag. I have bad personal experiences of my time in the service and industry of straps getting caught up in vehicles and plant equipment. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to secure all the loose straps on this harness. I’ve already been caught up in a car door and a restaurant chair. It’s infuriating, and I need to attach some velcro strips or elasticated material to ensure this aspect is tidied up.

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This strap management issue is magnified by the fact that due to sharing the rig with my wife, who is significantly smaller than me (fat jokes can stop – right NOW!) and needs to be able to adjust the rig to suit her build every time it’s used.

 

Since I’ve just had a very rapid introduction into the world of babies, I’ve discovered that there are a plethora of accessories for them. Such things as dummies (pacifiers for our international readers), sun hats especially for us Australians, and other accessories that need to be used, and somehow attached to the baby carrier to prevent loss, damage or contamination. My inner digger was at a loss to discover a complete lack of tie-down points (dummy-cord tie-off points as we call them) to secure such bits and bobs. Given that they can create extra snag points and possible injury to baby, I’m wondering why there aren’t discreet and low-profile tie-off points for these accessories. Small pockets or pouches to stick the essentials like removed socks/booties and other small sundry items that become a normal part of daily existence for a parent.

 

The other problem is what I have mentioned previously a few paragraphs above. Whilst this carrier is great for when on the move, there is a distinct problem of finding somewhere to set the child down when halted, like the convenience that a stroller or pram provides.

 

Whilst I have mentioned that the harness is fairly easy to don and doff, there is still practice required for strapping on the carrier with baby in one’s hands as well. This task gets more complicated by the fact that baby must have her head supported during such activities to prevent injury.

 

SUMMARY:

A really nice piece of load bearing equipment for more varied cargo carrying purposes as the direction in my life changes.


Posted in Civilian, Packs & Webbing, Specialist by with 2 comments.

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