A good baby carrier is one of the most important items you can buy for your precious little one - and it can even save you money. Rather than dropping hundreds of dollars on a car seat/stroller combo that would only be useful for a short time - we opted for a quality convertible car seat and a good baby carrier for our baby girl. We had a used stroller, but did not even use it during her first 6 months. We simply tucked her snugly into a wrap, sling or mei tai and carried her through stores and on walks.
Babies who are held cry less and are calmer and more alert than babies who are not held. Not only is it more emotionally satisfying for both you and your baby to have a calm baby - babies who are calm and alert are able to learn better. A baby carrier that is comfortable for you and your baby puts your little one right where the action is - so they can see what you are doing and hear what you say about it.
Babies are meant to be held by people, not things. Parents naturally work in teachable moments and language lessons when they are looking at their babies. If your little one is in a car seat, swing, or other baby holder - it is rare that they get eye contact and they can't see what you are doing. How can a baby alone in a car seat possibly learn about the world around them?
Good baby carriers have an amazing safety record - one industry survey found that more than 20 million mei tais, soft structured carriers (such as Ergo) and slings were sold over a 20 year period - with only a handful of injuries reported. That is a much better safety record than cribs, car seats, strollers, high chairs or other baby equipment. In fact, a study in the journal Pediatrics showed that between 1990 and 2008, an estimated 181,654 children under 2 years went to emergency rooms due to cribs, playpens and bassinets -- an average of 26 injuries per day in the United States.