Gear To Go

March 29, 2009|By Chicago Tribune

Name: : The Kiddyap

What it is:: A backpack-style kid carrier designed for preschoolers who tire out during long walks (think amusement parks, hikes, sightseeing treks). It's designed for children 31/2 or older, up to 60 pounds.

How it works: : You wear it like a backpack, with straps around your shoulders and a belt that distributes the child's weight to your hips rather than your shoulders. But unlike a backpack, the Kiddyap features a saddlelike seat for the child to straddle and no sides or back, so the child feels (and is) unrestrained.

The good: : Our 31/2 -year-old tester loved it. It definitely beats a backpack or stroller for keeping her at adult eye level (which she loves), keeping our hands free (which we love) and giving her a sense of freedom. (She loves. See "the bad" for our feelings.)

The bad:: Although the Kiddyap has canvas handles on the shoulder straps for the child to grasp, we couldn't shake the feeling that our tester was going to jump or slide off at any moment, and there would be no way to catch her. We probably wouldn't worry about it too much walking along flat, predictable terrain (say, Disney World), but for a hike through Yosemite, we'll pack the trusty backpack.

Cost: : $144.95 suggested retail.

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