What are they?
A Soft Structured Carrier (SSC) is a rectangular piece of material with a buckle waist and buckle shoulder straps.
Front carry, back carry and some SSC's can also be used in a hip carry. A limited number of ergonomic carriers also have the world facing option.
What age are they suitable from?
This varies greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some are suitable from birth and others are suitable from 4, 6 or 9mths. Although some are marketed as suitable from birth, they may not be the best option in carrier for your newborn. It's best to ask a qualified babywearing consultant for advice.
Easy to use, but there's still a learning curve involved in so far as achieving optimal positioning and a comfortable fit for the wearer.
Handy for putting on when there are puddles/mud as the straps won't drag off the ground.
You can breastfeed/bottle feed in this sling.
Some SSC's are very adjustable and suitable from birth.
They're made in woven wrap fabric, cotton and canvas so there's something to suit everyone's taste.
There's a huge variety of SSC's, all with various options such as padded shoulder straps, firm, soft or no padding on the waist belt, hoods, headrests, straps that cross, rucksack style straps.
Come in a range of prices, some are quite reasonable.
Some that are suitable from newborn require an infant insert which can be cumbersome and warm to wear.
Some people find it difficult to achieve a comfortable fit. Quite often this can be rectified by having someone tweak the carrier for you.
Many brands sell sized carriers so you may need a baby size one that would do up to approx 18mths and then a toddler sized one for after that.
It's best to try on as wide a range of SSC's as possible as they all fit and feel different.
Some SSC's have straps where the webbing is sewn into the panel and use a ladder lock in place of buckles. These SSC's cannot be used for carrying on your hip.
Some straps are single adjustable or dual adjustable. Some people might find lack of mobility in their wrist or arm may make some straps difficult to tighten.
Some SSC's are quite expensive
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