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The Red Kite Ara Carrier is a pretty new product to the market. It is a 3-in-1 carrier that is suitable from birth, without having to add in any newborn inserts. Although, at £25, the price is lower than a lot of top baby carriers, it is definitely a value for money product and quality is still very good. I felt it was similar to the Infantino Flip, £34.99, which I have used in the past – the main difference is the maximum weight limit, with the Ara carrier going up to 15kg and the Infantino Flip up to 20kg.
Francesca lives in Durham and has been a blogger for over 6 years. She has had 3 children – Reid, aged 6, an angel baby named Elijah and her rainbow baby Indiana, who is 7 months old. She tested the Red Kite Ara baby carrier around the house, in shops and a quick pop along the road (thanks to a lot of bad weather!).
The first thing I noticed about the Ara carrier was how lightweight it was and that the material felt really nice. Appearance wise, it looked quite fashionable, as far as baby carriers go. It wasn’t too big and bulky or awful to look at. It is fairly plain, which I prefer, and it has a small Silver Red Kite logo on the front. I definitely preferred the look of this carrier to other similarly priced ones on the market. It took me a little while to suss out how to use it and adjust it correctly however.
What are the main features of the Red Kite Ara baby carrier?
I would say that this carrier has all the basics that you look for as a parent. Making sure your baby carrier supports a healthy position for your baby really is important and the Ara supports the healthy ‘M’ shape position.
I appreciated that the Ara had user friendly clips for getting baby in and out, however I wouldn’t say it was a quick process to set up and put baby in each time, especially with all of the clips and buttons (6 clips, 4 buttons). I do feel that the design is good for baby, so I didn’t mind taking the time to fit her in correctly. Not ideal if you are in a rush however.
One feature I did really like was the loops added on to the adjustable straps. You could easily grab the ones on your back and pull them tighter without having to take it all off. The 3 different ways to carry baby is great as she gets bigger also.
What age can the carrier be used for?
The carrier is suitable from birth (3.5kg) up to 15kg. I find that my 7 month old fits nicely in the carrier and she seems very happy in there and well supported. I don’t feel like she could slump down or move in there at all. It almost feels like something she is wearing rather than something she is sitting inside.
Because you can really customise the carrier when it comes to sizing, I think it would still work well with a bigger child. I do wonder whether the buttons above the legs could still be fastened if baby’s thighs were much bigger however, as it seems to fit my little one’s legs just right when fastened.
How easy is the Ara carrier to put on and take off?
I wouldn’t say the carrier is difficult to put on, but I would, however, say that it isn’t the kind of one you can fling on in a rush. The 4 buckles on the front mean easy access for putting baby in and out, but it also meant having to fasten and unfasten 5/6 clips including the one around my waist and on my back.
I also had to remember to fasten the “secret” buttons on the inside of the carrier. It is easy to forget about them and they can be quite fiddly to do due to placement and not being able to see them once you have baby there.
How many carry positions does the Red Kite Ara have?
3 – you can carry baby on your chest, facing in or out and on your back. The instructions that come with the carrier explain clearly how to carry baby in each of the 3 different ways. It includes step-by-step instructions with photos, which I found very helpful.
My little one seemed to fit nicely in all 3 positions. The back position was much better for my back, so I imagine it would be better for a heavier child and most comfortable for parents.
Is the carrier ergonomic?
Yes. This carrier proudly advertises that it support’s little one’s hips and allows them to sit in the ‘M’ position. It is acknowledged as a ‘hip healthy’ product by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. I did notice when I put my daughter in the carrier she was displaying the perfect ‘M’ shape.
Does the Ara carrier follow the TICKS guidelines?
It definitely meets the TICKS guidelines when used correctly. It gives baby support to stay in the correct upright position and close to parent without any restrictions to their breathing/airways.
Is the Red Kite Ara baby carrier comfy for you?
The carrier feels nice and comfortable and quite soft when wearing it. The buckles aren’t too big or in a bad place where they may cause discomfort. I would have appreciated a little more padding on the straps, however. I have found in comparison to the Infantino Flip 4-in-1 convertible baby carrier for example, they aren’t as cushioned.
What is the Ara carrier sizing like?
This carrier is so customisable when it comes to size. You can adjust it in so many different ways, which really helped make it fit better for both baby and me, although I do think that the waist strap could have been a little longer. I am a size 14- 16, which is a pretty average size, and I think a couple of sizes bigger and this carrier would be on its widest setting.
Can you put the carrier on and take it off by yourself?
Yes, I can put the Are carrier on and take it off by myself fairly easily, although I struggle a bit when putting it on top of a jacket or coat. Having said that, you do need another person to help you when wearing baby on your back.
I really liked the loops that are added on to the end of the straps, so you can adjust the carrier fit by yourself. The loops made it much easier to find the straps needed to pull it tighter and provided a better grip.
What are the shoulder straps like on the Red Kite Ara?
The shoulder straps are quite nice and wide, similar to a normal backpack. I do wish they had a bit more padding for support, but they do the job and distribute the weight fine.
What are the buckles like?
The buckles fasten pretty easily. I do find though, when trying to fasten baby in there are quite a few buckles that can easily be mixed up. I often grab the wrong one and can’t work out why it isn’t fitting properly.
If I have left all the carrier buckles unfastened from a previous use I can find myself getting frustrated trying to work out what’s what when setting it up the next time when straps/buckles are twisted. I find it better to fasten all buckles and then take them apart one by one as I fit the carrier on.
Is it easy to put your baby/child into the Ara carrier?
With the Ara carrier it is recommended that you are sitting down to put baby in and it fully unclips on the front, making it easy to get baby in to the carrier. However I personally don’t love having to do so many buckles and buttons to fit my daughter in. The buttons are the trickiest, as it is difficult to see them once your baby is in place. I can’t imagine it would be easy to fasten everything if a little one was moving about a lot, too!
Is the carrier comfy for your baby/child?
Yes, I would say my baby is much happier in this carrier than others we have tried. Often some can come up too high near her face or chin and rub. This one allows her to see easily and positions her better for both comfort and visibility. The fact that the Ara carrier is lightweight and non-bulky means it’s more flexible and comfortable for her moving around.
How does the Red Kite Ara compare to other carriers or wraps you have used?
I love that Red Kite have clearly thought about the person wearing this and not just baby. They have kept the design non-bulky, smart and neutral colours, which gets the thumbs up from me. Looking at similarly priced carriers, such as the Chicco EasyFit, £30, and the Infantino Swift, £23, I feel the Ara is much more stylish. The loops on the straps make it so much easier to adjust myself, compared to my Infantino Flip carrier, too.
The Ara is definitely more comfortable for baby and she seems much happier in this carrier, than the Infantino Flip, however I would say comfort wise for me, it isn’t quite as good for my back and supporting baby’s weight with the straps. The strap around my waist is slightly softer and more flexible than the Infantino one I normally use, but therefore lacks a little of the support.
I would say that overall, for a budget baby carrier, I am pretty happy with the support it gives, but I think if I was baby carrying all of the time I would possibly consider investing in a more padded option or different design for my comfort. The BEABA Najell baby carrier looks a similar style but with more padding on the straps, although it does retail at £150 – six times the cost of the Ara. As an occasional baby wearer, the Red Kite Ara carrier is perfect for me and a bargain in my eyes.
Can you breastfeed while wearing the Ara carrier?
Yes, I can breastfeed with this carrier, although my little one is not a fan of this. I did try but she wasn’t very keen to feed in the carrier, but this is usually the case with any carrier I have tried.
Does the Ara seem durable?
With it being lightweight and soft it is hard to tell how durable this is. I did squish it up in a ball and fold it over lots and it seems to keep its shape once unraveled. I think the flexibility of it makes it quite durable and will accommodate a growing child.
Is the Red Kite Ara carrier easy to clean?
I found it very easy to clean and also pretty waterproof too. The carrier can be washed at 30 degrees and I found I had no problems with this.
Do you think the Ara carrier is value for money?
Yes; I would definitely say it is value for money. The Ara has all of the basics, plus a few bonus features, like a handy pocket on the front – perfect for storing a bank card when out and about. My little one is very happy in it which is the main thing and I am happy with it for occasional baby wearing. For the price I can’t complain.
How does the Ara compare to similar baby carriers?
|Product name||Age suitability||Number of carrying positions||Price|
|Red Kite Ara baby carrier||Newborn to 3 years approx.||3||£25|
|Ergobaby Omni 360 carrier||Newborn to 4 years approx.||4||£164.90|
|Infantino Flip Advanced 4-in-1 baby carrier||Newborn to 3 years approx.||4||£30.99|
|BabyBjörn Baby Carrier One||Newborn to 3 years approx.||4||£160|
Where can you buy the Red Kite Ara baby carrier?
Overall, I would recommend this carrier to other occasional baby wearing parents like myself. I really liked the look of the carrier and felt happy wearing it, plus it has all the basics covered. I don’t think I would recommend it to someone who baby wears all the time and walks a lot, however – if I was carrying Indiana around a lot more I would want something with extra padding on the shoulders and around the back. If you are looking for a carrier that is budget friendly, without losing too much of the quality or style, I would definitely recommend the Ara.
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|Child age (approx)||From Birth|
|Child weight||3.5kg to 15kg|
|Washing instructions||Machine washable|
|Carrying positions||Back and front – 3|