The Scootababy is a variation of a soft-structured carrier (SSC). A SSC is usually defined as a carrier that features a rectangular body with waist and shoulder straps. What sets Scootababy apart from other SSCs is the fact that it's a one-shouldered carrier as opposed to a two-shouldered carrier, which we all know is ergonimically better for the user since it distributes the weight evenly across your back and shoulders. While the Scootababy may be a one-shouldered carrier, its padded waistbelt takes the weight of your child off your shoulder and places it on your hips -- the result? This carrier feels so much different than any other one-shouldered carrier -- you will not feel any strain on your neck or shoulder as a result.
The Scootababy's unique shoulder does a great job of ensuring the carrier is worn properly -- it's idiot-proof, to be blunt. It's not uncommon to see people wearing ring slings or pouches incorrectly, with the shoulder of the carrier riding too high, sitting entirely on their trapezius muscle close to the neck, which causes discomfort. Ideally, any one-shouldered carrier should cup the wearer's shoulder. With a heavier child, you may notice this impedes the movement of your arm. The Scootababy's shoulder is constructed from fleece that conforms to the shoulder -- it is both stretchy and supportive, allowing your arm free range of motion.
Packaging aside, another reason the Scootababy is often overlooked is the fact that most people write it off as 'only' a hip carrier due to the fact it's a one-shouldered carrier. Admittedly, early on, the company strictly marketed the carrier as a hip carrier, however, they have added video tutorials to their website demonstrating how to use the carrier on the front and back -- unlike other SSCs, I can endorse this carrier as a great front, back and side carrer. Basically, to use the carrier on your front or back, you shorten/lengthen the shoulder buckles accordingly, not unlike how you would move a child from the front to back in a ring sling.
The Scootababy is not made for newborns, it is not a birth-toddler carrier. You can start using the Scootababy with your baby around 4-6 months. The baby needs to be able to straddle the user's torso (like other SSCs, the Scootababy has a wide base). I was able to get Gracie into it at three months old, but she was too short to see over the carrier, so that's another consideration in terms of when you can start using this carrier. We often recommend this carrier to parents who come in looking for a carrier that allows them to wear their child in a forward-facing position, some babies simply like to see more than what a typical SSC allows. By wearing your baby on the hip, you allow him a better vantage point in a manner that is more comfortable than a traditional forward-facing carrier, keeping him in a seated position that follows the natural curve of his spine.
Lastly, functionality and comfort aside, the Scootababy looks good. Audra, the carrier's creator, clearly has an eye for design that goes beyond the current staple of browns and blacks offered by most other SSC manufacturers. Her carriers are made in a range of vibrant prints sure to please both moms and dads -- the new Santorini/khaki combination is a great example of that. If you're in the market for a carrier for your baby aged 4-6 months, I strongly trying on the Scootababy alongside our selection of other great SSCs... you may be surprised by how much you like it!