If you’ve already packed away your baby carrier, you may want to consider pulling it out of storage or investing in toddler carriers.
While toddlers will often argue that they can do everything independently of mom and dad (does “me do it!” sound familiar?), their little legs tire out quickly. And a toddler carrier can be more convenient and sleep-inducing than a stroller when you’re out and about with your toddler running errands, going on a family hike, or traveling.
What Are Toddler Carriers?
Parents often think that carriers are only suited for their infants or newly mobile babies, but in truth they can be helpful throughout toddlerhood and early childhood.
Similar to baby carriers, a toddler carrier is a soft-shelled carrier that can be used to tote children beyond the baby stage and often up to a 70-pound weight limit. They feature padded, adjustable shoulder straps that reduce strain on the parents’ shoulders, neck, and back, as well as a waist belt to support the lower back and evenly distribute the child’s weight while wearing them on the front or back. Toddler carriers also often feature a water-resistant hood to protect your little one’s head from harsh sun and rain, as well as storage pockets to allow you to carry everything you need to in one place.
Would Your Family Benefit from a Toddler Carrier?
Many toddler carriers are suited for children from infancy through toddlerhood, so it is a worthwhile investment if you plan to breastfeed or wear your child for a prolonged period of time.
Toddler carriers are also incredibly useful for parents and guardians with children who have physical and cognitive abilities, as it allows them to be carried hands-free for longer.
How To Choose the Right Toddler Carrier
The toddler carrier you ultimately choose to purchase or invest in before your child is born should first and foremost be safe and comfortable for both you and baby. If it’s possible, even with COVID-19 restrictions, go to a store in person to try them on and get an idea for how they feel before purchasing. Once you’re comfortable in your toddler carrier and your decision, you can set off on your next adventure with your toddler in tow!
Our 5 Favorite Toddler Carriers
Here’s our roundup of the five best toddler carriers currently available on the market!
Tula Preschool Carrier
Thanks to baby-loving and mama-minded companies like Tula, you can now safely and comfortably continue to practice “baby”-wearing with your preschool-aged toddler using the Tula Preschool Carrier. Not only is this carrier useful while running errands or hiking with the family, but it can make a world of difference for families with children who have a wide range of physical and cognitive abilities.
The Tula Preschool Carrier is designed to support children between 35 and 70 pounds, the Tula Preschool Carrier is lined with durable canvas material to be optimized for support.
Ergobaby Omni 360 Baby Carrier
Many parents are familiar with the Ergobaby brand of carriers, as they’re known for their comfort and supportive, ergonomic design, and the Omni 360 Baby Carrier is no exception. It’s especially popular for it’s versatility with four possible carry positions that can safely support your baby from infancy through age 4 (or 45 pounds).
All of this support can make the wearer hot, so if you live in a warmer climate, consider Ergobaby’s Cool Air Mesh option. It features the same benefits as the Omni 360, but is made from mesh fabric that encourages air flow.
Infantino Flip 4-In-1 Convertible Carrier
Priced at just $25, you can’t beat the deal you get with the Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier from Infantino. It’s a solid pick for babies and toddlers up to the age of 3. The Flip features a detachable bib to protect the carrier and the wearer from inevitable drool and teething (especially in the front-carry positions). While it doesn’t feature the super soft or comfortable fabric of more expensive toddler carriers, it is surprisingly supportive for the price point.
This is a great options for parents on a budget or for someone wanting to try something new without breaking the bank!
Babybjörn Baby Carrier One
BabyBjorn carriers are known for being easy to take on and off and providing little ones with a front-facing perch that allows them to see the world from the parent’s or wearer’s perspective — head on. And the Carrier One style is no exception. This versatile carrier features multiple zippers to configure where and how your baby sits on you while you wear them from infancy (who typically like to sit higher on your torso closer to your heart) through toddlerhood (who prefer to sit lower and more on your hips). All of the various wearing options are easy to adjust in one fluid, safe motion with this carrier.
Lillebaby Complete All Seasons 6-in-1 Baby Carrier
Lillebaby’s 6-in-1 carrier offers versatility in six different carrying positions that can accommodate your baby’s different stages and needs, from newborn (at last 7 pounds) up to toddlerhood (or 45 pounds). Baby’s hips are very well supported and positioned in all of the All Seasons’ carry mode, which earned it the International Hip Dysplasia Institute’s seal of approval. Adjustable seat and leg openings facilitate proper hip support, frog-leg seating, and curved C-spine position. There’s also a padded, adjustable head support to secure your little one’s head and neck in comfort. The outside panel zips down to reveal breathable mesh for air circulation on hot days, or zips up for warmth on cool days. A UPF 50+ sun hood provides sun protection and a cozy place to sleep rain or shine.
For parents, the lumbar support and waist belt help to distribute your baby’s weight more evenly, providing stability and relieving back pressure. You can wear the straps backpack style or crossed like an X, and the padded straps have two-way adjusters, all features that help you get the perfect fit. The carrier is breastfeeding-friendly, has a zippered pocket to stash essentials, and — best of all — is machine washable.
Did we leave your favorite toddler carrier off this list? Let us know in the comments!