The NY Times has tiny, Zagat-style reviews of five backpack carriers, four new, and one ratty old Chicco, which still does just fine. Whatever the results, the product list reads like some sort of shroom-fuelled branding poem:
Deuter Kid Comfort II
Tough Traveler Bluelux Stallion
Sherpani Rumba SS 08
Chicco Smart Support
Kelty Frame Carrier 3.0
And the reviews are: "best of the bunch"; "comfortable," but "high sides"; "easy to maneuver" but "narrow strap"; "easy setup" for "short hikes"; and "great," respectively. As if there actually is a hiker who doesn't research every single piece of gear to death before buying it.
Actually, the real useful find sounds like wilderness guide Tim Hauserman's book, Monsters In The Woods: Backpacking With Children. Anyone?
pithy article: When You Carry Precious Cargo on Your Back [nyt]
blurby slideshow: Physical Culture | Gear Test, Backpack Carriers
Impulse buy the Deuter Kid Comfort II, the "best of the bunch," at Amazon, $189 [amazon]
Buy Monsters In The Woods: Backpacking With Children at Amazon, too, $12 or so