Carrier of the Month - Neko Switch Toddler
By Susie Cooke, Babywearing Consultant, Helix Baby
AT A GLANCE:
Weight – from 11kg/25lb to 22kg/48lb (approx 18 months – 5 years)
Positions – front inward facing and back carrying
Straps – rucksack strap only
Fabric: 100% bio-cotton, woven wrap fabric
Hood: detachable, adjustable
Adjustability: one size fits most, waist belt adjustment: 75 to 145cm
The Neko Switch Toddler. It’s a toddler carrier but with a difference. . . It’s an adjustable toddler carrier.
The market now has an influx of adjustable carriers, but nearly all of them are “birth – toddler” carriers. It has increased the longevity of a carrier, as it grows with your baby, yet still gives you a near perfect fit at every stage. Most toddler and pre-school carriers have a fixed panel, because it isn’t so important to have a perfect fit once your child is older and has better muscle development. However, having a perfect knee-to-knee fit, especially with older and bigger children, REALLY makes a difference to the wearer’s comfort, and this is exactly where the Neko Switch toddler excels!
It is weight tested from 11kg, which is the average weight of an 18 month old. The panel width adjusts simply via poppers on each side of the waist belt, down to a minimum of 38cm. The panel height also adjusts simply with a pull cord and toggle, down to 41cm. With this adjustability, you are able to wear a much smaller toddler than you would be able to with the average, fixed panel toddler carrier (which I would usually recommend not before your child is wearing size 2-3 year trousers).
There are 5 different panel width settings, up to a maximum of 54cm, giving you the ability to get a near perfect knee-to-knee fit every time. This is so great with bigger, heavier children, as it spreads their weight right across the whole carrier evenly, and eliminates any down-pull from dangling legs, making it a more comfortable carry for the wearer.
Below, you can see how the carrier can be adjusted to fit my 48 month old and my 24 month old children perfectly. My eldest was in the widest panel setting and my 2 year old was in the middle setting, showing there was clearly room to safely carry a child smaller than him.
I did find that even though the carrier width fit my 4 year old very well, there was not much room for error height-wise. The panel came up to his armpits (perhaps a cm over), which is perfectly safe, but any lower and he would have outgrown the carrier. He is of average height for his age – perhaps he has a long torso?! Anyway, this is something to keep in mind; your child is unlikely to outgrow the weight limit, they are more likely to out grow the height of the carrier panel!
Another great feature of the carrier is the fabric. It is made from 100% cotton, jacquard weave, woven wrap fabric. What that means is that it is beautifully soft, reassuringly supportive and gives you and your child a great fit; the fabric has a bit of “give”, so it “moulds” around the shape of your bodies (see how it has perfectly shaped around the seats of my children in the photos above).
The waist belt is chunky and supportive, which is generally what you need with heavier children. It took me a little while to get used the the wide waist, as I am a fan of “apron-style” carriers, that do not have any waist support, but I found it really did make a difference, taking a lot of the weight out of the shoulders.
Straps are rucksack only and have dual-adjustments, allowing you to pull forwards or backwards to tighten them. There are also Perfect Fit Adjusters (at the top of the shoulder straps) which can be tightened or loosened to get the right fit.
The hood is detachable via poppers and has elastic and toggles for adjustment. It is of medium size I would say, it does the job of supporting the child’s head when needed, but I would not be able to reach back and pull it up when needed if I was back carrying and on my own.
A matching pair of strap protectors and drawstring bag complete the purchase.
VERDICT: If comfort and support is a top priority (and style a close second!), then this carrier fits the bill with it’s unique adjustability. It is easily worth the price tag, with potentially 4 years use per child, starting at approximately 18 months old.