There are different kinds of child carriers in the market today. These carriers are designed to cater to children at different stages. Infant carriers cater to small children that are delicate and unable to hold themselves up. Baby carriers are the next step for children who are able to hold their heads and sit up. Then we have toddler carriers that are created to see to the comfort of both the caregiver and the child. The best toddler carrier is created to provide mobility and entertainment for the child as they take in the surroundings. The parent gets to walk around with the toddler without the constant stress of the child’s weight. It also allows parents to get a few things done in the meantime.
As parents, you always want the best for your children even when working on a budget. To get the best deal means considering the age of the child, the varied positions available and also the amount of room provided for the child to sit in. One also has to look at the weight capacity and the materials used to determine whether the child will be safe.
There is so much information that you could use that we decided to compile it for you. After a few days of researching manuals and pouring over product descriptions here is what we found. We have compiled the information into detailed product reviews, a comparison table and, of course, a buying guide. Allow yourself to pour into this review and by the end of it, buying a toddler carrier will seem like a test you always pass.
Editor’s Choice: LÍLLÉbaby 3 in 1 CarryOn Toddler Carrier"A comfortable toddler carrier that will please both parent and child alike with its incredible back support features and a breathable material."
Best for Hiking: Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier"Active lifestyle deserves an improvement once you have had a little hiker on your hands or in this case in a superior toddler carrier."
Best Front Carrier: Beco Gemini Baby Carrier"A machine-washable toddler carrier that fits all parents and children with its waist belt pocket and a built-in headrest."
Best Backpack Carrier: Luvdbaby Premium Baby Backpack Carrier"A backpack toddler carrier fit for urban and country walks with the child – it will hold all the essentials you want to have a quick access to."
Best for Travel: Ergobaby Carrier 360"A toddler carrier that allows parents to use it in any position they are comfortable with or need at the moment without any discomfort for the child."
Budget Pick: BABYBJORN Baby Carrier One"A fairly priced soft toddler carrier can be washed in a machine and reduces shoulder pressure with the help of an additional padding."
Top 6 Toddler Carriers Review 2022
The LÍLLÉbaby 3 in 1 CarryOn Toddler Carrier can be considered as one of the most versatile baby carriers in the market. It comes with enough room to enable the both you and the toddler to be comfortable. It also has three carrying positions (back, front, and hip) that allow you to carry the toddler comfortably. This carrier has taller and wider torso so that your child is able to grow with it.
The toddler carrier is designed to hold babies from 12+ months with a weight capacity of 20-60lbs. You will find that it has a 3D breathable mesh so that the child can enjoy good ventilation. The removable hood allows the child to move their head without restrictions while the two pockets can be used to hold items you need for the toddler.
For simpler cleaning, you can just throw the carrier in the washing machine and it’s ready for use. This carrier also possesses adjustable buckles so that you can secure the child depending on their weight or age. The lumbar support feature will see to it that the child’s back is supported at all times. It comes in five colors and the price certainly denotes the quality of the carrier.
Why are we impressed?
- Provides enough room for toddlers of different ages
- Has good lumbar support
- Offers 3-carrying positions
- Machine washable
- Comes with a removable hood
- It has breathable mesh for ventilation purposes
What negatives must you be aware of?
- Can be difficult to adjust the carrier/switch positions with a toddler inside
- Size: 29 x 15 x 17’’
- Age: not specified
- Carrying positions: 1
- Material: aluminum frame, nylon
- Max. weight: 48.5 lbs
More features: adjustable double halo harness and child seat, built-in sunshade, toy attachment loops
The Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier comes with almost everything that you may need from a toddler carrier. It is made from durable materials to ensure that it lasts longer. The aluminum frame is light but strong enough to support the weight of the child without weighing the adult down.
It doesn’t have various carrying positions so basically the child would be on your back the whole time. The carrier possesses an adjustable torso of about 15cm so that the adult is able to adjust the carrier accordingly. The unit supports a maximum of 48.5lbs and has a double halo harness that is adjustable. The double harness features a cockpit that allows the child to be safe and comfortable.
In its build is also a sunshade that can be used to keep sunlight away from the child’s head, this sunshade is easy to launch and put back into its assigned pocket. The hip belt is also adjustable and ventilated to offer the right amount of support. If your child needs their favorite toy with them, there are attachment loops provided for that purpose. Experience this high-quality product for yourself and decide for yourself.
What makes it stand out?
- TUV certified
- Comes with a sunshade of SPF 50
- Provides an adjustable hip belt
- Comes with a detachable rain cover (sold separately)
- Comes with an adjustable harness
- Offers enough storage for items that you need
- Provides enough room and height for the child to view the surroundings
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
- Hip belt needs more padding
- Maybe pricey for some
- Sunshade mechanism may get stuck once in a while
The Beco Baby Carrier is simple in structure but it has features that you are bound to appreciate. The carrier is built to support newborns all the way until they become toddlers. The carrier is made from cotton and polyurethane providing durability and breathability for both the baby and the user. It is able to support a weight capacity of between 7-35lbs without straining the adult’s posture.
This carrier is able to support different carrying positions for the child. You can have the child on the hip, at the back, or front facing in/out depending on your comfortability. It even comes with a built-in headrest to support the child’s head. You need not to place an insert as the baby is well supported.
When you look at the waist belt, there is a pocket at the front so as to facilitate easy access. The crossable shoulder straps are padded and will be able to provide comfortable support. If you need to nurse the child, then you are in luck since the design supports hands-free nursing. The unit is machine washable therefore keeping it clean is a simple process. This carrier has an advantage of a lifetime warranty, you can make use of the warranty if the product develops mishaps.
What are our favorite features?
- Lightweight carrier with adequate support
- Offers different carrying positions
- Comes with a built-in headrest
- Able to cater to newborns
- Offers a lifetime warranty
- It is machine washable
- Made from durable breathable material
What could be better?
- Safety buckle needs two hands/outside assistance to disengage
- Lacks a sun hood
- Mesh may be tough at first making it uncomfortable for the child
- Size: 27.5 x 19’’
- Age: not specified
- Carrying positions: 1
- Material: aluminum frame, polyester
- Max. weight: 40 lbs
More features: removable mesh hood included, mesh back, hip pockets, diaper changing pad, thermal insulated zipper pocket
The Luvdbaby Premium Baby Backpack Carrier allows your child to be carried safely and with comfort. It comes with stirrups to help balance the child’s weight. The carrier is designed to allow the user to adjust the height of the carrier facilitating a good balance between the child’s weight and the adults back.
To make this carrier even more comfortable to use the manufacturer installed padded straps and a load bearing belt that is able to balance the weight. Another awesome feature that you do not see often is the insulated pocket that you can store food/drink warm enough for the child to take on the go. You will also find various other pockets that you can keep things that you need.
In the bag, you will also find a diaper changing pad that is convenient for changing on the go. There is also a removable hood that is used to shelter the sun from the child and a mesh back to provide breathability in hot weather. The carrier is made from camping-grade material and thus it will be able to last longer than most of the carriers in the market. It additionally features an aluminum stand to provide stability when the bag is put on the ground. This ergonomic carrier is one that you cannot pass out on.
What are our favorite features?
- It is height adjustable
- Comes with a retractable sun hood
- Made from strong material for durability
- Features a thermal insulated pocket
- Comes with an aluminum stand for upright storage
- Offers a diaper changing pad
What could be better?
- Chest straps are a bit weak
- Lacks a water bottle holder
- Hip strap needs adjustment to help distribute the weight
The Ergobaby Carrier 360 is a very versatile carrier that you can fetch at an affordable price. The carrier which is made from cotton and poplin lining is designed to cater to children between 4-24 months. The carrier is able to be used in different positions depending on the age of the baby and how heavy they are. The maximum weight supported is 33lbs.
These four positions are supported by strong padded straps and a capable wide waist belt that is friendly even to women who have had a C-section. The lumbar support provided will keep your back from straining even on long walks. If your child is younger than 4months you can buy an insert for the carrier to provide adequate positioning.
For nursing moments or protecting your child from the heat, the hood present on the carrier will work effectively. The good thing about this carrier is that it is machine washable making it easy to clean even after every use if you so wish. The carrier is adjustable so whether it is your husband or teenager carrying the baby, they will be able to adjust the carrier according to their physique and be comfortable.
What makes it special?
- Provides different carrying positions
- Offers extra padded straps and a wide waist belt for support
- It is able to accommodate newborns if you buy the insert
- Offers adequate lumbar support
- It is machine washable
What cons did we find?
- Lacks storage compartments
- Hood may be too small to cover the mother while nursing
- Velcro waistband is too loud
The BABYBJORN Baby Carrier One is a comfortable carrier designed to cater to babies between 0-36 months old. The carrier is designed to grow with the baby, therefore, saving you money of buying several carriers. This carrier is adjustable and thus you will be able to find the perfect position to carry your child. The maximum weight this model can support is 33lbs offering enough space for the baby’s legs to be comfortable.
For those of us who are strict when it comes to baby product safety, you need not to worry. This unit is JPMA certified. This means that this product is safe for newborn and no inserts are needed. The materials used are safe for the baby’s skin and they can chew on it without getting harmful chemicals. You can place your child on this carrier in four positions front facing in/out or back facing in/out depending on their age and preference.
Thick padded shoulder straps will help balance the weight of the child without digging into your shoulders. The waist belt offers adequate support, especially when well positioned. The machine washable unit is affordable and meets both American/European standards. Try it and experience the BABYBJORN brand for yourself.
Why did it make our list?
- Tested and certified to be safe
- Able to offer newborns head support due to adjustable straps
- Offers 4-carrying positions
- Comes with extra padded shoulder straps
- Offers more space for leg room
- Offers good value for money as it grows with the child
- Machine washer friendly
What is not ideal about it?
- The waist strap is a bit low to function effectively
- Lacks sun shade
- Lacks pockets for storage
- The material is not breathable for hot weather
Keep your child close – why do you need a toddler carrier
There are a couple of reasons why people gravitate to toddler carriers. Some of these reasons include:
- Makes it easy to bond with the child since they are mostly positioned next to the heart.
- It makes babies cry less since they can feel their parent close by.
- Reduces physical anomalies that are caused by the baby lying down too much e.g flattened skulls or frog legs.
- It makes it easy to carry them in crowded areas as they take up less space compared to strollers.
- They are an inexpensive option if you are budget is tight.
Types of toddler carriers
Below are some of the more popular baby carriers in the market.
Wraps are simple and just need you to wrap the baby around you securing the ends. Wraps happen to be good for newborns as it doesn’t force them to stay in unnatural positions. You can get wraps in a wide range of fabrics and colors without breaking your bank. They are easy to adjust according to the user and they are easy to clean. The only downside is that it may take time for a beginner to get used to the different ways of using wraps.
A pouch sling is a simplified version of a ring sling. The only difference is that the pouch sling lacks the rings to secure and adjust the fabric. These pouch slings come in premade sizes so it makes it difficult for people with larger/smaller body sizes than yours unable to use the item. They, however, make good carriers for newborns especially if you place them on the hip.
These are soft structured carriers appropriate for babies who have mastered head and neck control. These carriers come with a padded sitting compartment and adjustable straps to ensure that the baby is well positioned. Be sure to select a unit that has a wide sitting area so as not to stress the toddler’s legs or groin area. These are rather high price items, therefore, make room in your budget.
Mei dai carrier
These carriers are a functional hybrid between the wrap and the buckle carriers. They possess the sitting structure of a muckle carrier to buy the arms of a wrap which makes it highly adjustable. The padded hands need to be wrapped around your body to secure the child, the good thing is that these arms can be fitted around other caregivers. These carriers are good for children of different ages but it may take some time to get the hang of it.
Ring sling carriers usually possess rings that fasten the material and creates a pouch-like area for the child to sit. Since ring slings always come with long fabrics, the rings can be used to adjust the fabric so as to fit the size of the child. These units do not use stretchy fabric rather they make use of materials like cotton and linen. The only downside to these carriers is that it may strain your back especially if the child is heavy. Remember to watch the free ends so as to prevent them from dragging on the floor.
As the name suggests, these carriers look like backpacks. Your child sits on the provided seating compartment and they have a frame to protect them. These types are not for newborns rather for children who already have good coordination. If you happen to be the kind of people who enjoy outdoor activities then this is the perfect carrier. The Luvdbaby Premium Baby Backpack Carrier is a good example of these carriers. It comes with adequate storage and a kickback stand.
How to securely fit a toddler carrier
This is how to securely use a toddler carrier:
- See to it that the carrier fits your torso by adjusting the straps. The waist belt should settle on your hip bones.
- Fasten the hip belt so as to offer more stability.
- Adjust the load-lifter straps and sternum straps until they fit, make sure that it’s not too tight curtail your breathing.
- Fit the child through the carrier feet first.
- Fasten all the straps and buckles ensuring that the child is comfortable.
- Adjust the seat to make sure the child is not hanging low.
- Check the straps and fabric to see if it has pinched the child’s skin.
- To get your child off the carrier undo the straps and hoist it off your back like you would do a backpack. If you are unable to do this, call someone for some help.
How to use a toddler carrier
Here are a few tips that will show you how to use a toddler carrier:
- Avoid using the carrier when engaging in high energy/ dangerous outdoor activities.
- Never leave the child unattended.
- Regularly check to see if the child’s limbs and neck are comfortable.
- Avoid leaving the child inside the carrier on top of high surfaces.
- Use carriers whose structure is not compromised. Tears or breaks in the frame may cause unwanted accidents.
- Get fabrics that are breathable so that the child is not sitting in uncomfortable heat.
- Don’t let the child eat inside the carrier to avoid choking hazards.
- Keep toys in their designated keyholes/compartment so as to keep the child away from choking on the go.
- Padded straps- provide stability, comfort, and
- Adjustable straps- make it easier to maintain a bond with your child through tender kisses on the forehead.
- Non-toxic fabrics- keep the child safe from exposure to bad chemicals as they have a tendency to nibble or anything they see.
- Wide seats – allow the child to sit comfortably without drooping their legs.
- Clear space- sees to it that the child is kept away from any choking hazards.
Safety tips on using a toddler carrier
Safety as always is a priority for many parents. The first step is to get an age-appropriate carrier that can support the needs of the child. If it is a toddler then you have to see to it that it can support the baby’s head so that their air pathways remain clear. By using the acronym TICKS you can always see to it that your baby is safe in the carrier.
T-tight, I-in view at all times, C-close enough to kiss, K-keep the chin off the chest, and S-support the back. Always dress the child well enough to keep up with the current weather because you don’t want the child to be too hot/cold.
Features to consider while buying the perfect toddler carrier
Here are a few things that you should put to mind when you are getting a new carrier or picking up a gift for someone.
Size matters to both you and the toddler. If your baby is tall or short, you need to find a unit that will suit their limbs and overall body size. If you happen to be of short stature, you need to pick a carrier whose hip band does not go over your pelvic bones.
The last thing you want is uncomfortable fabric for your child’s smooth skin. Choose non-toxic materials that are soft and offer good breathability. Mesh fabrics are particularly preferred for day walks as they allow the child to get ventilation, so you may want to opt for the LÍLLÉbaby 3 in 1 CarryOn Toddler Carrier. Cotton blends, nylon, and linen are most preferable as they absorb sweat leaving the child dry. Other synthetic fibers will leave the child sweaty and uncomfortable on warm days.
Carrying a child especially a healthy heavy one can be tasking. It is additionally harder if the carrier itself is a bit heavy. The heaviness may stem from the design of the carrier or from the heavy padding added. You want to buy a well-structured carrier that is light enough to make the walk both comfortable for you and the baby.
Every carrier has a maximum weight limit that it can handle without endangering the child or straining the caregiver. This weight limit allows the carrier to last for longer and also keep the child safe. Carrying a child that is over the weight limit will end up ripping some seams or weakening the buckles. It is not good news either for your shoulders and back as the undistributed weight of the child pulls on those muscles. Always check the weight capacity before purchasing the item to make sure that it is fit for the child.
There is a reason why manufacturers design age-appropriate carriers. They have to make sure that the child is comfortable and safe at all stages. Newborns need more support than toddlers as they lack proper neck and head balance. If they fall asleep in the wrong position that could prove disastrous. There are carriers that come with inserts so as to support newborns delicate bodies. The insert is removed to offer more room for the growing child. Toddlers need carriers that let them look around comfortably without having to tilt their head all the time.
A carrier that allows you to switch your child’s position is a good one. There is basically a maximum of four positions that you can use. The hip is usually appropriate for newborns as well as the front facing in. The front facing out allows the child to explore the world with their eyes as well as the back facing out. Depending on the position and age of the child, choose the one that is most comfortable for the child. For example, the Beco Gemini Baby Carrier and the Ergobaby Carrier 360 can be worn in any position comfortable for the parent.
Some features found in a carrier are just there to make the child more comfortable. These include:
Not all brands will the time to offer accessories so those brands that do steadily become favorites. Some brands will choose to offer adequate storage space and even go further to offer thermally insulated pockets to keep the baby’s bottle warm. There are brands that will provide rain covers or sun shades just to see that your child is protected. There are some who will offer diaper changing mats or go as far as giving loops where toys can be hang. Depending on the features that you may need, shop accordingly.
Parent’s back-supporting features
As the caregiver, you also need support so as not to strain your back. It is best to seek carriers that offer adequate lumbar support. Features such as a wide waistband allow the babies weight to be equally distributed, like in LÍLLÉbaby 3 in 1 CarryOn Toddler Carrier. A well-padded body is essential to reducing the stress you feel on your shoulders carrying the weight around. A carrier that places the child around your center of gravity makes a good option if you already have back issues.
Durability goes back to the materials used to create the carrier. High-quality materials last longer even when strained continuously. Cheap carriers will have defects after a short time as they are not built to last. Repairing any damage when it appears will go a long way in extending the durability of the item.
Whether it is a short trip or long trip, the comfort of the child always matters. Padded sits, angled droop pads, stirrups, and roomy cockpits are some of the features that would leave your child in a comfortable state. Read the manual to make sure that everything is put together right so that your child remains comfortable.
Feel free to add something you think is important and relevant, and please mention some of the products reviewed as examples in the buying guide, where appropriate.
Yes, there are carriers that are appropriate for toddlers. Even at 2-years old, you can find a carrier that leaves both you and the child comfortable. Find a carrier that gives you the option to carry them on your back so that they don’t weigh you down in the front. The older they are the heavier they get and you don’t want too much weight focused on your stomach/groin area.
Yes, if you are suffering from back problems it is actually better to carry your heavy child on your back than let them hang at the front. This is because the front puts more strain on your core and back muscles. You end up more exhausted and may cause you to pant especially after a long distance.
It depends on the budget that you have and personal preference. You can choose to buy a durable carrier that grows with the child or stick to the age-appropriate carrier. The age-appropriate carrier will force you to buy another once the child outgrows it.
The LÍLLÉbaby 3 in 1 CarryOn Toddler Carrier proved to be the best as it is well priced for all the features provided. We especially note the breathable material used and the design allows the child to be placed centrally offering the caregiver some comfort.
The Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier is the only one that offered loops for hanging toys and we all know how fussy toddlers can be. We appreciate the comfortable cockpit as it allows the child to survey the surroundings.
The BABYBJORN Baby Carrier One is our budget buy because it offers quality features for a good price. It is JPMA certified ensuring that no toxic materials are exposed to your child.
All the products presented here have features that some of you really want. Don’t be shy, the heart wants what it wants. Grab the best toddler carrier for your child and enjoy their company as you go about your day.
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