Let me preface this with I have 4 children, ages 16 months to almost 16 years! I’ve tried a lot of different baby and toddler wearing methods, some I’ve loved, some I’d never do again, (like the carrier my two week old child fell out of 11 years ago, thankfully just onto my fluffy bed, but can you imagine? Terrifying!) I personally think babywearing is so important for a child’s emotional development, and through the toddler years it can be really important for their safety at times, as well.
It Has a Fanny Pack! Yes, really. I first laughed at this, but you guys, it’s vital to have a place to stash your stuff while babywearing. The pack is large enough to hold my smartphone in its Otterbox case, my keys, and my wallet, without feeling bulky. A lot of baby gear out on the market still doesn’t account for larger smartphones, but this one does. You may find yourself falling in love with this feature, just like I did.
Comfort! The comfort of this thing is on point! I have a squirmy 16-month-old, and this carrier never digs in one place or irritates my back, shoulders, or hips, nor that of my little squirmers. I do have back and hip issues since having our last baby, so I see a chiropractor on a regular basis to keep my back in line. This carrier has never bothered my back one bit. My husband (a.k.a. Mr. Awesome) has a totally different build than I do, and he thinks it’s comfortable too!
It’s Sleek, Sturdy, and Stylish! The interior and exterior of this carrier is well designed, built to last, is sleek, and stylish. It’s much trimmer in person than what you would typically think for a carrier that offers all these features, or any carrier really. I love that even if my guy isn’t in it, it isn’t a terrible inconvenience to carry it around. Like when we’re out shopping and Daddy takes him and his siblings for a little adventure to stretch their legs, (so I can feel 847 fleece throws, smell dozens of candles, and browse the new Pioneer Woman line in peace.) The solid prints are timeless and gender neutral, no funky patterns that you get tired of after awhile (*ahem*, you know, not like I’ve ever done that… twice.)
The Carus Complete Comes with a Detachable Backpack! I haven’t used this feature as much as I should, because I typically wear my little guy around the house/yard, and during short outings right now. I can see this being very useful this fall for full days out for field trips, IKEA, and the Mall of America (Mom’s favorite fall field trip.) No need to carry an extra bag or make trips back to the van, the backpack can hold it all, and attach right onto the carrier. Genius design! Everything you need is in the box!
Awesome Adjustability! In the past Mr. Awesome and I have had a tough time using the same carrier because they’ve been so tough to adjust from my build to his, but not with the Diono Carus Complete! All of the adjustments are quick and easy to make, the buckles snap smooth, the straps and zippers glide well. The construction of this carrier is top notch!
Water Resistant Fabric! If you don’t know why this is important, you’ve probably never had to run through a parking lot or a park with a baby strapped on you when it suddenly starts to downpour. I actually had an incident where one of my other carriers got soaked and it was hard to get off and get baby out because the fabric wouldn’t budge when it was wet (then I had to let it dry for a day before I could use it again). In rain, or as a bystander at the splash pad, the water just rolls right off of this carrier, making it easy to wipe down or quickly air dry.
Multiple Carry Positions! This is a feature that caught my attention, because even though my littlest guy prefers to be worn on my back, if we have another little sweetheart they may not (our last preferred to be snug enough to hear momma’s heartbeat.) Knowing that it can be used a few different ways helps to feel like you’re protecting your investment and that you have options if your little decides they suddenly like being worn a different way!
Birth to Toddler, all in one! We got this carrier when my son was about 14 months, but knowing it could be used from 7lbs to 33lbs is really a great advantage! It comes with everything you need for an infant too, so no need to purchase extra accessories! Diono really does have the parents in mind, and cares about the safety of children.
-The Con- Yep, just one!
Directions! Straight out of the box the directions were confusing. I work best with words, and the directions are mostly in pictures, I know a lot of people work better that way, so pictures help them. (But not me!) There aren’t many resources for the Carus online yet, as it is so new here. Mr. Awesome and I watched and paused, and watched and paused one of Diono’s YouTube videos a half dozen times or more until we felt like we had it down. After the 3rd time or so of wearing it I was able to put it on with confidence.
I think finding confidence is important with any new product you try, especially when it involves your little angels.
The real reason I gave this a try:
I have Erb’s Palsy (a brachial plexus injury from a traumatic birth experience that caused a partial paralysis in one of my arms.) I have had a difficult time (read almost zero luck) finding a back carrier that I can put on myself. Most require the “lean forward, keep a hand on your baby’s back/bottom and shimmy” method. *cringe* The Diono Carus does not! Praise! The baby is secured in the carrier the whole time, and back carrying is no more difficult than front carrying.
I loved the ring sling I had been using, but I wasn’t able to back carry in it on my own, and my son had already learned how to slip out of it when he pleased, no matter how snug it was. He’s driven! The Diono Carus is designed with safety in mind, so no baby or toddler is slipping or climbing out of it, even my adventure boy! Disclaimer: We still use the ring sling for very quick trips into the post office or church, but the Diono Carus is my number ONE carrier!
I searched off and on for TEN YEARS for a product like this. Nothing on the market came close to offering these same features in one carrier, and the one that I was technically able to backpack carry in (and had no additional features), was a hiking style carrier that my guy learned to climb out of using the frame (yes, at 5+ feet in the air. YIKES!), and the metal frame hit right at my lower back/hips and caused bruises! No carrier should do that, ever (it’s still Mr. Awesome’s preferred carry method, but he admits it isn’t the most comfortable for him either). I firmly believe that babywearing should be enjoyable and comfortable for both momma (or daddy) and baby!
With my limited arm mobility every other carrier I tried I wasn’t able to put on alone, and although Mr. Awesome has the patience of a saint and would help me at a moment’s notice, he isn’t always here when I want/need to secure our littlest guy on my back.
I had gone to YouTube to look up a car seat installation video when the promo video for the Diono Carus Complete auto played after the video I wanted. You guys, I was sitting in my van in the garage, in 100 degree Iowa heat, after having vacuumed the whole van and installed a Radian car seat, and cried crocodile tears watching this video. For the first time, I had hope that this carrier just might be THE ONE, and work for both me, and my husband!
I took a leap of faith and wrote to Diono to ask if I could review their carrier, and they so graciously accepted. How good God is to provide for us, even through something like YouTube. He sees us where we are, and He takes us where we need to be.
As silly as it may sound, this carrier has helped me be a more patient and attentive mother. As a homeschool mom my day is spent playing with my littles and educating them. Especially teaching my high schooler which takes some real focus, and being able to put our little guy up on my back while I’m teaching has been great for everyone. He’s happy, and momma can get a lot of work done (teaching, laundry, dishes, cleaning floors, gardening, and my favorite… shopping!)
I’d love to answer any questions you may have about the carrier or direct you to someone who can if I don’t know the answer. I fully believe this carrier is the only carrier you’ll ever need.
I’m so grateful to have this in my life!
Side note: We have been buying Diono Radian R100/R120 car seats for 10+ years (back when they were still Sunshine Kids.) We have bought 5 of their seats ourselves and have recommended them to dozens of friends (at least a handful of people that I know for sure have purchased them and also love them.) I am so pleased with their quality craftsmanship, attention to design and detail, and above all their high safety standards. If you are in the market for a car seat, give Diono a try, you won’t be disappointed. Bonus, you can fit 3 (yes, THREE) of their seats side by side in the backseat of your vehicle.
They also have some excellent strollers that I have my eye on!
PS. Here’s a little YouTube video I threw together if you work better with video format, or just want another look at this great product.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I was sent the Diono Carus Complete complimentary, to review here on the blog. All opinions are my own, and 100% honest (as always).
Val - Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids says
I loved wearing my babies to keep my hands free for the rest of the kids. This carrier looks comfortable for both the adult and child! Great review.
A Slightly Better Wife says
It really is! You’re so right, having hands free for the other kids is vital in parenting littles when out and about.
How do you wear the baby facing front! I can’t figure it out for the life of me! Please help!!
A Slightly Better Wife says
Sarah, watch this YouTube video. I kept pausing and playing and watched several times. I’d love to see more how-to videos in the future. This product has a learning curve, but once you have it, it’s truly the best.