What are dual adjustable straps on a soft-structured carrier?
(and how do I use them?)
You’ve probably heard about soft structured carriers having “dual-adjustable straps” or “single-adjustable straps”. So what exactly are they?
First off, dual-adjustable straps have a piece of webbing (the black synthetic stuff) coming out of each side, so it has two ends you can pull to tighten in either direction, forward or back. You can see the two ends in the photo below of a Boba 4G carrier, one coming from the panel, and one coming from the shoulder strap (click to see the full photo) .
Single-adjustable straps are fixed at one side, and the strap can only be pulled in one direction to tighten. You can see in the photo of a Tula baby carrier below that the strap is sewn into the panel, and only the end attached to the shoulder strap is adjustable.
So what is the advantage of dual-adjustable straps on a baby carrier?
Let’s have a look at the photos below:
When the carrier is on the front, you can reach for the strap at the back (in this case, the end coming from the shoulder strap) and pull forwards. When the carrier is on the back, again you reach for the strap at the back (this time, it’s the one nearest the panel), and again, pull forwards.
Seems easy enough, so why do some people not get on with them? Well, if you’re new to buckle carriers for carrying your baby, having two ends to choose from when tightening the straps can be confusing, and people can end up tugging straps in all directions which often ends up with them getting twisted and not tightening at all.
Let’s have a look at single –adjustable straps now.
In this case, one end is sewn in to the carrier, leaving only one end free to adjust – simple. When the carrier is on the front, you grab the free end and pull forwards.
So far, so good. However, when the carrier is on the back, you have to grab the strap and pull it backwards.
What’s the problem with this? Well, you can see in the photo that pulling backwards isn’t the most natural action in the world. Some people have a lot of difficulty with this, especially if they try to pull the strap up, down or out from the buckle. For others, it becomes second nature quite quickly and is only a minor inconvenience, if that.
So there you have it in a nutshell – dual-adjustable straps may be confusing, but are designed to work with your body and can be easier to adjust once you figure out which one you’re tightening. Always pull forwards.
Single adjustable can be simpler, but require a degree of flexibility in either front or back carries, depending on which direction the manufacturer has fixed them. They may present challenges if you have hand or wrist problems.
I’ve chosen to illustrate this article with fixed-strap carriers (i.e. the straps don’t unclip). Carriers with buckles that unclip are slightly different, but the principle is the same. If in any doubt, try to have a look at some with your local consultant or sling library and see for yourself.
Carry with confidence!
(photos courtesy of Andrew JL Ansell Photographic (www.ajlansell.co.uk), green arrows added by me!)