It’s easy to carry a newborn or infant in a baby wrap, but as a child gets older and reaches the toddler stage, most parents will want a carrier of some kind. Using a toddler carrier makes it easier to carry your baby when you’re out. This might be while hiking or spending time outdoors, or during any lengthy activity where it can be tricky to hold your baby in your arms. Our top 10 are those that you will get a few years of use out of. They make it easier for your child to explore and give parents a hand for long-duration carrying.
What is a toddler carrier?
A toddler carrier is a device that allows you to carry your toddler either on your back, on your chest, or at your hip. Most of these mimic how a parent naturally carries a toddler. They help provide support to both the parent and the child while carrying. It is larger than an infant sling and uses smart design to support the toddler. It will be a comfortable ride while also helping the parent by distributing the toddler’s weight evenly.
Why are they useful?
Babywearing is awesome because it helps the toddler bond with the parent. Yet, still gives the parent support and helps to carry the toddler’s weight. They make it easy to keep an eye on your toddler while going for a walk, shopping, or spending time outdoors. A toddler carrier connects parent and toddler while offering a fun ride.
- Hiking carriers: these use a frame to support the toddler’s weight and typically are for long-distance walking or hiking. We also have an article dedicated to carriers made just for hiking, check it out!
- Seat carriers: these use a wide seat to support the toddler’s weight and typically are used on the hip or as a front-facing carrier
- Backpack carriers: these fit like a traditional backpack and carry the toddler on the parent’s back
- Multi-function carriers: these are convertible and often have multiple ways they can be worn or used
- Comfort: it must be comfortable for both the parent and the child
- Function: it must be functional for the parent, with added pockets, straps, and supports
- Accessibility: it must be easy to use for the parent and easy to get the child in and out of
- Durable: both in terms of wear and tear and provides at least a year of use as your child grows
Top 10 Best Toddler Carriers
This lightweight hiking toddler carrier is available in a few bright colors. You can pick the one that suits your style. The storage pockets and removable backpack make it multi-functional and gives parents room for their gear as well as for the toddler essentials. The thick straps, waist belt, toddler seat, and lumbar support help keep both parent and toddler comfortable on any trek. There’s an adjustable canopy to keep the sun or weather off of the toddler and has an extendable rain guard. It weighs 5 pounds and has a foldable metal frame that folds flat for easy storage.
For those hiking families looking for a toddler carrier that’s a step above, check out the premium option. It is also offered in a range of colors and elevates the design details from the deluxe to create the perfect hiking toddler carrier. There are larger storage compartments, two water bottle holders, and a kickstand. The kickstand will give you a break during stops without having to take the toddler out. The seat is adjustable, there’s a canopy for sun and rain, foot stirrups, and plenty of space for your gear. There’s even a drool pad; perfect for early, sleepy hikes.
This hip seat is a great way to get a little assistance when carrying around an infant all the way to the toddler stage. The main portion is a padded seat that your baby sits on while in the traditional hip carrying position. This seat buckles across the parent’s hip, with a shoulder support to help distribute the baby’s weight evenly. The seat is ergonomic for proper hip development and the design gives parents lumbar support in 4 positions. This specific toddler carrier allows baby to bond with the parent carrying them, while giving parents a bit of extra support and stability.
Most of the toddler carriers on this top 10 list are traditional backpack style. However, this ring sling by Bijou Wear takes the familiar ring sling for infants and small babies and provides a larger sling for toddlers. This ring sling comes in different sizes, with the X-large sling ideal for toddlers up to 35 pounds. Toddlers can be carried in the front or on the hip for a little extra support. This soft sling is great for packing into a backpack or keeping in the car for easy use whenever you need it.
For those looking for a toddler seat as well as a traditional carrier, consider this toddler option by Bebamour. The single-seat configuration sits low across the parent’s hips and buckles securely. It also provides a padded seat for baby to sit or lay on. This gives parents some extra support while carrying baby. The baby carrier configuration uses backpack style straps to carry baby on your chest or on your back. Baby can be on your chest forward-facing or rear-facing, depending on their age. It can carry babies from 3 to 36 months.
Another great front and back toddler carrier is this simple, natural colored option from Evenflo. The breathable fabric makes it comfortable for both the parent and the child so they can focus on bonding and exploring. Whatever way you wear it your baby will face in, which is great for younger children and toddlers alike. The simple design and neutral color make it perfect for many families. This is a great backup option to have in the car or as your main option for outdoor activities.
This carrier specifically caters to toddlers and is best used with children 25 to 60 pounds. This company makes a range of baby and toddler carriers, with this one being specifically designed for use with older children. The simple construction features a wide waist strap with two backpack style straps and extra support to provide a custom fit. The front panel is available in a range of prints and colors to add some personality. The carrier works in two configurations, carrying your toddler on your chest or your back, for bonding, connection, and a supportive carry.
This is a very simple, machine washable option that can carry baby from 3 pounds to 36 pounds. There’s a narrow seat facing in position for the infant age with a transition to facing in with a wide seat, facing out, and eventually back carrying for the toddler. This is a simply designed, soft fabric carrier with padded straps and a comfortable baby support section. The neutral color and convertible design makes this an all in one option for those looking for something straightforward and easy to use.
There are plenty of options on the market that convert to support toddlers. This one was specifically designed to carry toddlers and accommodate their size and proportions. The seat is larger and wider than the others. This makes it easier to use for a longer duration, both to keep your toddler comfortable and to get more use out of it before your baby outgrows it. It will support toddlers carried on the parent’s back and has breathable panels, supportive straps, and considers their hips and growing bodies as well as parent’s pressure points. The child can be carried in a front carry, forward-facing, and rear carrying setup for functionality and free hands.
Lastly, we bring you the amazing MiaMily Hipster. It can carry a child from 3 months old all the way to 4 years. This is the must-have toddler carrier for families that want to have just one for all carrying needs. The design and construction are top quality. Plus, it has 9 different configurations to provide the best carrying option for your needs. It allows you to carry baby forward facing, front, back, and hip, all the while keeping things comfortable for you and your toddler. There’s an extra storage compartment in the seat, which means you can carry everything you need within this carrier and have both hands free for shopping, hiking, and spending time outdoors.
Toddler carriers are a must for any family, as it helps your child explore the world while keeping each parent hands-free to participate in the day’s events. Each one on this list is different, as some have a seat for hip use while others have a traditional backpack style for rear carrying. No matter your needs and the configuration you choose, all of these top 10 toddler carriers will offer comfort and support for both the parent and the toddler, and most can carry your child from 6 months to almost 4 years.
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