Being on a parent’s shoulders is something of a rite of passage for small children – it’s something they love doing and will always remember, not least because of the view they get: it’s like being on top of the world for a little one.
But as anyone who has literally shouldered a child for any longer than a couple of minutes will probably attest, it’s not the most comfortable or easy job. Children wriggle and wobble up there. They can feel like dead weights. You have to use your hands to cling onto their legs, lest they forget themselves and tumble.
This is why a shoulder carrier feels like a good idea – it will enable them to feel on top of the world while giving you some freedom. A well-designed shoulder carrier will also consider the safety and comfort of the person bearing the weight of the child.
The Minimeis G4 shoulder carrier promises to do all this and more. We put it to the test on two long walks: one with a one-year-old baby and another with a five-year-old girl who weighs 22kg exactly.
Minimeis G4 shoulder carrier
Buy now £149.99, Minimeis.com
Unlike most other carriers on the market, the Minimeis is designed so that the child doesn’t sit directly on your shoulders. The seat is slightly suspended so that the weight of the child is evenly distributed through the carrier’s body.
Children have a padded seat and full backrest (which is also a neck rest for babies) and are held in securely with a waist belt and leg straps. Shoulder straps are included for babies who cannot yet sit up unaided.
There are five different colours to choose from – we plumped for the navy but all are smart, with the understated hues including a dark red and a mustard.
The recommended age range is from six months to five years, but, obviously, some five-year-olds are heavier than others. On the Minimeis website there is a recommended maximum weight of 22kg but, somewhat confusingly, the user guide says “NEVER use carrier with a child weighing more than 18kg”. Some adults will be able to bear more weight and others will find it hard to carry as much as 22kg – so there are some variables to consider for sure.
Every aspect of using the carrier has been thoughtfully considered. Weighing only 1kg, it is lightweight – the lightest framed child carrier on the market, in fact – and can be folded up into a diminutive package, which makes it easy to store and to travel with.
We found unfolding and prepping the carrier for use was a doddle. It’s pretty intuitive, with the most important thing being that the frame is secure.
When using it with babies, you put the baby in first. This is super easy to do, and just a case of making sure all the straps are secure and tightened. You then lift the baby, within the Minimeis, from behind and place on your shoulders before easily securing the carrier’s adult straps.
With older children, it’s slightly different in that the adult puts the carrier on first and lifts the child into it. If you’ve got a heavy child and not much upper body strength, beware as this might be a struggle.
Putting it away after use is straightforward and again, intuitive. It’s a case of disconnecting the frame and folding it.
We found it to be really comfortable to wear, even when done up tightly. Obviously, it was lighter when carrying a baby – almost like nothing was there – but even with the five-year-old it felt easy. Don’t get us wrong, walking for 45 mins with a 3 stone kid on your shoulders is going to give you a bit of a workout, but it was perfectly doable.
While our walk with the baby resulted in a beaming smile and a lost-for-words sense of wonder, our five-year-old was much more vocal: “I’m a giant! I’m taller than everyone!” That there was no whinging from either tester speaks volumes about their personal comfort.
We wore a t-shirt underneath – we didn’t want to risk any straps-on-skin chafing – and we were pleased to see there were no marks or signs of digging in thanks to the way the carrier has been designed to distribute the weight.
The carrier has been tested and approved to conform to both European and US standards, and can be bunged in the washing machine at 30 degrees.
There is also a range of accessories, including trainers up to a UK size 9.5 which promise both comfort and style, and a backpack that has been specially designed to carry the Minimeis when folded (although the carrier itself has straps for carrying without the backpack).
The verdict: Minimeis G4 shoulder carrier
We think the Minimeis is a pretty handy piece of kit, not least because of the vantage point it gives little ones, allowing them to see the world as they never normally see it. It’s perfect for almost any outdoor walk or excursion – a brilliant alternative to a pushchair. It’s a really thoughtfully designed carrier: from aesthetics to comfort to safety, all the boxes are ticked. The only thing we don’t love is that there’s some confusion over the maximum weight allowance.
Buy now £149.99, Minimeis.com
For the latest discounts on kids’ travel items and more, try the links below:
Desperate for your kids to get into a healthy brushing routine? Check out our Foreo issa mikro review