As your little one grows and becomes a 30-pound toddler your needs for a baby carrier will change drastically. His/her motor skills and physical activity have increased – now (s)he might be starting to ‘toddle’ and is curious about anything and everything .
Does this mean you should put the carrier away and let them explore everywhere on their own two feet? Not at all! The benefits of carrying your little one continue to be important for the child’s ongoing attachment and development.
During the “carry me” phase, snuggling against mom and dad still brings the feeling of satisfaction, and helps them build a special bond.
However, after a while you’ll find it’s impossible to carry them around all day - not to mention get your chores done. Whether you have plenty of household duties to complete or you're on the go, having a toddler carrier handy will give you the hands-free power needed to tackle your daily routine while keeping your little munchkin safely nestled against you.
There are so many toddler carrier choices in the market (literally hundreds), but they’re certainly not created equal. Picking the right one for your needs can be overwhelming - especially if your kiddo is outside the "standard" size or differently abled.
To get the best deal means considering the age of the child and the varied carrying positions, the weight capacity and the materials used. I’ve compiled all this information into detailed product reviews and, of course, a comprehensive buying guide. This way you won't have to spend days or weeks trying to find a carry bag that suits your baby's needs.
All these picks are suitable for babies who have good neck control and can sit upright.
Best Baby Carriers for Toddlers
Lillebaby Complete All Seasons
Multi functional, comfortable and with 6 seating positions this toddler carrier will last you many years and can be used in cold and warm weather.
Babybjorn One Air
Comfortable carrier designed to grow with your child, saving you the money of buying several carriers during your kid’s different developmental stages. Nice featured.
Ergobaby 360 All Carry
Extremely versatile, with 4 different carrying positions including front-outward, front- inward, hip carry and back carry.
Simple and more affordable this a is a great solution for parents that want a toddler carrier that does its job without any bells and whistles.
Infantino Cuddle Up
Great value for another fantastic toddler carrier. It includes a removable canopy and can be placed in the front and the back.
9 different sitting positions for babies 3 months up to 4 years old. It's narrow front allows a more comfortable sitting position as your kid grows.
Over the last few years many baby-wearing brands have been creating innovative versions of their traditional baby carriers and introducing a new sub-category called “toddler” carriers. These are bigger and taller than the standard sized ones, and are able to support heavier children well past the baby stage.
To reduce strain on your shoulders they have adjustable shoulder straps and a thick, padded waist belt to evenly distribute your toddler’s weight across your body.
The best carriers for toddlers should also offer a hip-healthy, wide-seat position that places your kid’s legs into a spread-squat formation. This position promotes natural hip development and reduces the risk of hip dysplasia or dislocation.
Moreover, many soft-structured carriers for toddlers come with a hood to protect your child’s head from sun, as well as storage pockets to keep your on-the-go essentials always handy.
Most of them are suitable for use from infancy to toddlerhood, and all of these picks are machine washable.
If you’d like to get a carry bag for your newborn to grow into, remember that not all of them are recommended for early baby’s age. A carrier that is too big for your child will not be supportive enough and therefore may be uncomfortable for you both.
Why should You Use a Baby Carrier for Toddler?
Most parents start with a baby wrap to keep their babies tight and close. As they grow, you need more support to carry them for long stretches.
Whenever a stroller may not be a good idea (crowded or small spaces where you don’t want your kids roaming free, cobbled streets), a toddler carrier can be a lifesaver – you can’t expect a small child to be able to walk for a long time.
Besides, many children continue to be breastfed. By using a baby carrier you’ll find it easier to stay away from the prying eyes.
Plus, you and your little one would get quality snuggle time. Who doesn’t love snuggling?
Top 6 Toddler Carriers Review 2019
If you already have a structured baby carrier it might be fine for the toddler years too. Just check the weight limit to see if it’ll work fine for your kid. Two year olds are often 28 pounds, and three year olds are almost 32 lbs. But if your toddler seems uncomfortable in it or your back is aching after several minutes, check out these carriers designed with heavier toddlers in mind.
LÍLLÉbaby The Complete Airflow SIX-Position 360° Ergonomic Baby & Child Carrier:
The LÍLLÉbaby Complete Airflow Toddler Carrier is considered as one of the most versatile child carriers in the market. This baby carrier has been designed to hold babies from birth with a weight capacity of 45lbs.
It has adjustable seat and leg openings facilitates proper hip support, frog-leg seating, and curved C-spine position. It also has six ergonomic carrying styles (including front, back, and hip) that allow you to carry your kid comfortably, no matter his/her size.
You’ll find is made with a breathable 3D mesh fabric, therefore it can keep your baby cool in hot climates. The Complete also possesses a roomy torso panel ideal to support your little one every step of the way (7-45lbs).
This product offer superior comfort thanks to the unique lumbar support. It provides stability, relieves lower back pressure and allows baby's weight to be evenly distributed for a more comfy ride. For simpler cleaning, you can just throw it in the washing machine and it’s ready for use.
- Size: 11.6 x 9.4 x 7.3’’
- Age range: newborn to 3-4 year old
- Carrying positions: 6
- Material: breathable 3D mesh
- Max. weight: 45 lbs.
More Features: padded shoulder straps, extendable soft waist belt, 2-way adjustable straps, zippered pocket, and removable sleeping hood.
Breathable mesh material
Can be difficult to adjust the carrier/switch positions
High weight capacity, perfect for growing babies
The sun protection insert doesn't help with taller kids
Ergonomic and hip healthy
Infant setting not intuitive
Adjustable straps for easy breastfeeding
6 Carrying position
Sleeping hood for support and sun protection
Convenient zippered pocket
What Makes LÍLLÉbaby Complete Airflow a Great Baby Carrier?
Babies can become easily sweaty, especially if you live in a hot climate. Thanks to the LÍLLÉbaby Complete Airflow’s 3D mesh material, however, your baby can stay nice and cool all year long. Its breathable design provides maximum ventilation and temperature control for all-weather wearing. Whether you’re going through the airport, light-hiking outdoors, visiting zoo, or simply going to the grocery store, this carrier can keep you cool and offer a comfy ride for your baby.
What Do Parents Say About It?
“I cannot recommend this product enough! An excellent way to get things done around the house while keeping your baby close…”
“One of the features I love most about the LÍLLÉbaby is the lumbar support… I'm able to wear while shopping and am really not in any more pain….”
“The back support cushion really makes a difference. Also, the breathable 3D mesh is great… I have used a lot of carriers and this is by far my favorite.”
Ergobaby 360 All Carry Positions Baby Carrier
True to its name, The Ergobaby 360 is extremely versatile, with 4 different carrying positions including front-outward, front- inward, hip carry and back carry. These four positions are supported by padded shoulders straps and a capable waist belt.
Ergo’s unique, structured hip seat, allow babies to keep ergonomically seated in an “M” shape position with knees even to or above hips, and spine in curved “C” position. The ergonomic design of this baby carrier ensures maximum comfort by providing you with the support needed to maintain a healthy posture preventing lower back pain.
It is made with soft and durable mesh fabric and it can fit children between 4-24 months. Both babies and toddlers can ride in it (an infant insert, sold separately, accommodates newborns less than 12 pounds). The Ergobaby 360 Carrier offers optimal comfort as it easily switch between different-sized caregivers and its lumbar support keep your back from straining even on long walks.
- Size: 10.5 x 6.7 x 6.7’’
- Age range: 0-4 months (with insert), 4-36 months (without insert).
- Carrying positions: 4
- Material: cool mesh
- Max. weight: 33 lbs.
More features: machine washable, extendable back panel, extra padded shoulder straps, lumbar support, tuck away baby hood for sun and wind protection.
Versatile with 4 different carry styles
Lacks of storage pockets
Completely adjustable, should fit most body types
It’s a bit more expensive than other carriers
Offers extra padded straps and a wide wraparound waistband for support
Must purchase an infant insert for babies under 4 months old
Provides adequate lumbar support
Easy to clean
Durable and sturdy
What makes The Ergobaby 360 one of the Best Baby Carriers for Toddlers?
Children and parents alike love its front-facing option. While infants may prefer to cuddle inward against mommy or daddy's chest, as they approach the ‘toddling’ phase and have better neck support, they’ll want to start peeking around.
When this time comes, having a front-facing carrier allows baby and parent to do everything, and see everything, together. The front-facing option indulges their curiosities and keeps them happily entertained.
What Do Parents Say About It?
“Keeps baby cool and comfortable for 5’ petite mom and 6'+ dad… We've been using since he was an infant and he loves to fall asleep in this as I do errands”
“This carrier is super supportive I have worn too many times to count and I have never had a problem. My little loves to be carried in it!”
“My little babe is 3 months old and we use it every time we go to the grocery store. It's super comfortable and I never feel like I'm putting any pressure on my back or anywhere really”
BABYBJÖRN New Baby Carrier One Air 2019 Edition
The BABYBJORN One Air is a comfortable carrier designed to grow with your child, therefore, saving you money of buying several carriers during your kid’s different developmental stages. You can use it to carry your little one from birth and up to approx. the age of three (8-33lbs).
This product offer four ergonomic front and back carry styles: newborn, baby facing-in, baby facing-out and back carrying, which can be easily adjusted and ensures an ergonomically correct position for your child’s hip. Its thick, padded shoulder straps will help you find the best position and will balance the weight without digging into your shoulders.
The cool mesh fabric of this toddler carrier it’s soft and breathable, but it's also durable and dries quickly after washing. And for those of us who are strict when it comes to safety, you need not to worry. The BABYBJORN One Air is JPMA certified and is perfectly safe for newborns and toddlers. The materials used won't hurt your baby’s skin and they can chew on it without getting harmful chemicals.
- Size: 11.4 x 22.8 x 0.4’’
- Age range: from birth to approx. 36 months
- Carrying positions: 4
- Material: 100% polyester (waist belt lining), 100% cotton (leg position zip guard)
- Style: Mesh
- Max. weight: 33 lbs.
More features: JPMA certified, machine washable, windproof cover, absorbent teething bib, and adjustable head support.
Tested and certified to properly support your child’s legs, hips, and spine
Lacks storage pockets
4 Ergonomic carrying positions
Front flap doesn’t seem to stay down when the child is forward facing
Easy to take on/off
It could be pricy for some
Lightweight and machine-friendly
Offers hands-free carrying style
Ready-to-use, no infant insert needed
What makes The BABYBJÖRN One Air a Great Carrier for Toddlers and Babies?
Parents are amazed with the fact they can get a 'ready-to-use' carrier to their babies to grow into. The straps and clips are well positioned and easy to adjust as your baby grows. They also love that the BABYBJÖRN is JPMA approved and hip-friendly for carrying comfort - one of the most versatile and thoughtful designs on the market.
What do Parents Say About It?
“This entire carrier is made of mesh so it’s extremely cool and dries easily… I’ve worn this for hours at a time walking around the city and have felt great. Highly recommend.”
“The only carrier that doesn’t hurt my back and works great on short people… So easy to use!”
Infantino Cuddle Up Ergonomic Hoodie
As parents we always want the best for our children, even when working on a budget. So if you’re short of money but still want to get all the great features of high-end carriers, The Infantino Cuddle Up is the perfect toddler backpack carrier for you.
This crazy-affordable option is available for just a fraction of the cost of other baby carriers on the market – a great deal for an ergonomic and cute teddy-bear-inspired design.
The Cuddle Up has two carrying options: front and backpack (we only recommend the back position for babies who are able to sit on their own), and securely carry infants from 12 to up to 40lbs. With both options the child has to be facing the caregiver. With adjustable straps on the waist, back and sides everyone would be able to find a comfortable position to fit for them.
- Size: 10 x 4 x 10’’
- Age range: 4 – 36 months (infant insert required for younger babies)
- Carrying positions: 2
- Material: cotton, polyester mix
- Max. weight: 40 lbs.
More features: removable canopy hood, machine washable, hoodie-inspired pock, extra-plush shoulder straps, and wide waist belt for lumbar support.
Offers a good value for an affordable price
It’s not breathable enough for hot weather
Only offers 2 carry styles (front and backpack)
Provides ergonomic seating area
May be difficult to adjust with a child inside
Hood protects baby’s head from sun and wind
Hood doesn’t work for toddlers – too small
Easy to clean and doesn’t lose shape or color during washing
Pock keeps your hands warm
What Makes the Infantino Cuddle Up an Outstanding Carrier for 3 Year Old Kids?
Just three words can answer that question: its incredible value. The price of this toddler carrier is truly unbeatable. The Cuddle Up is a low-budget alternative for parents who want to take their kids on the go without breaking the bank.
Besides, thanks to the higher weight capacity and sturdy material, toddlers can easily fit into this cute carry bag and ride safely with mom or dad. Overall, this comfy, convenient and stylish carrier for toddlers offers the best value of any other pricey carriers on the market.
What Do Parents Have to Say?
“I have to say I am truly amazed at how well made and comfortable this carrier is. I would definitely recommend it…”
“I was looking for something that looked comfortable, would grow with the baby, and one to keep the baby's legs wrapped around me, but needed these things at an affordable price. Then I came across this carrier and purchase it. I definitely recommend this product. It helps make my day to day life even smoother.”
Evenflo Breathable Soft Carrier
The Evenflo Breathable is one of the cheapest baby carriers available, so it makes for another great option to stay on the money-saving path. It has breathable mesh panels that allow for maximum air flow to keep baby and parent cool, comfy, and cozy, no matter the environment.
All the straps (shoulder and back) are adequately padded to help promote comfort. This allows for your baby’s weight to be lightly distributed throughout your back - a huge relief for carriers that suffer from any type of back pain.
It can fit babies from 7 to 26 lbs weight in 2 different carrying positions (facing in or out) and the fabric is very easy to clean by machine washing. It also comes with a removable bib for a little extra protection.
- Size: 3.2 x 8.2 x 11.1’’
- Age range: from birth (with infant insert) to approx. 2 years
- Carrying positions: 2
- Material: mesh
- Max. weight: up to 26 pounds.
More features: removable/washable bib, automatically adjusting padded back straps, secure size entry buckle, variety of colors.
The straps can become tangled after being washed
Comfortable and supportive
The back straps can’t be adjusted manually
Feasible for those mommies who are breastfeeding
Infant insert needed for newborns and young babies (less than 4 months)
Sturdy but lightweight material
Easy to put on/off
What Makes the Evenflo Breathable a Worthwhile Carrier for Babies?
The Breathable’s design is pretty simple and minimalist; however, this affordable product is amazingly easy to use, and gives you the necessary features to make your child’s snapping-in-and-out process a breeze. If you’re looking for a cheaper but thoughtful baby carrier to go somewhere that’s stroller-inconvenient, the Evenflo Breathable Soft Carrier is the right one for you.
What Do Parents Say About It?
“This is the best baby carrier I’ve used for a newborn/infant…”
“…this carrier allows my wife and me to carry our babe while still being able to use our hands for household tasks.”
“This carrier is great- can't beat the price, and our little angel doesn't overheat… comfortable for babies and for parents, and no complex ties/adjustments.”
MiaMily Hipster™ Plus 3D
By last but not less important: The MiaMily Hipster Plus 3D, one of the most popular toddler’s backpack carriers in the babywearing market, for very good reasons. It has been designed to fit babies and toddlers between 3 months (or once they have a good head/neck control) and 3 years old. There’s an optional insert for use with infants under 4 months old (not included with carrier).
This versatile toddler backpack carrier allows you to hold your kid in 9 different ways (including front, forward facing, back, and hip carry positions). Not only they offer up to nine carrying options, but switching between each one of them is quick, easy and convenient. Plus, it has been certified as hip-friendly by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
The hip seat base is intentionally built wide enough so that your child’s hips rest in a “M” healthy position, thus preventing long term effects from bad posture and fatigue. It is also pretty easy to put on and take off, there’s no awkward juggling or fear of baby slipping out – great for people who don’t babywear often. Its outstanding design also makes it comfortable on hiking trips whatsoever.
Overall, it’s obvious that the MiaMily Hipster Plus has been ergonomically designed by people who understand the needs of baby-wearing parents. Making your errands with no hassle has never been so easy!
- Size: 19.7 x 13.8 x 13.8’’
- Age range: 3 months to approx. 3 years
- Carrying positions: 6-9
- Material: 3D mesh
- Max. weight: 44 lbs.
More features: removable front pocket, belt pocket, extra storage, dual layer options for extra warmth or cooling, head cover, hip seat, double shoulder, teething pads, and a foldable bag.
Aftermarket accessories: single shoulder carrier top, extender belt, infant insert and front drool pad.
Tested and approved by Swiss Experts
Some of its best accessories come separately
Wide belt offers excellent lumbar support
Versatile, with up to 9 ergonomic carry styles
Pretty but rugged design
Provide proper seat
Great alternative for light-hiking outdoors
What Makes the MiaMily Hipster Plus 3D the Best Backpack Carrier for Toddlers?
Safety is their top priority therefore they only use premium materials, like self-locking YKK zippers and Duraflex buckles. They also have studied the International Hip Dysplasia Institute's guidelines to ensure The Hipster™ PLUS 3D provides a healthier alternative.
We all want to make sure we’re doing the best for our kids, so it’s important to have a reliable and high-quality carrier to count on. Know the Hipster Plus is completely capable of meeting all our expectations while protecting our children’s health is a huge game-changer.
What Do Parents Say About It?
“... It feels like I’m carrying nothing at all because it redistributes the weight in a way that doesn’t strain your shoulders and back.”
“The hipster kept my spine in a straight line and allowed me to carry my munchkin around without thrusting out my hip…”
“Love it. Parents do yourselves a favor and buy this carrier”
To get the right carrier for your family it’s necessary to contemplate a few important factors. You’re already aware of the most crucial things to consider, but let’s remember some important information to help streamline your decision-making process.
Tips to Buy the Best Toddler Carrier
Here are a few things you should put in mind when getting a new carrier or picking up a gift for someone else:
- Make sure the carrier has the right size for you and your little one.
- Check if it has been made with high quality materials. A sturdy carrier will last longer even when strained continuously.
- See if the carrier is able to hold your toddler’s weight without ripping off.
- If you live in a hot place choose non-toxic materials that are soft and offer good breathability.
- Preferably pick a carrier that can be worn in plenty of ergonomic carrying positions.
- Look for safety features, such as: padded/adjustable straps, non-toxic fabrics, wide seats, etc.
- Seek comfortable products that provide adequate lumbar support and allow the baby’s weight to be equally distributed.
Types of Toddler Carriers
Below we’ve listed some other popular carrying options for infants and toddlers
- Baby wrap: a piece of long fabric you tie and knot around yourself to create a pouch on your chest, hip or back where your child can sit.
- Mei Dai Carrier: a large rectangular piece of fabric with straps at each corner that can be wrapped and tied around the body to create a pouch for your baby to sit in.
- Ring Sling: a long piece of soft, non-stretchy fabric, which is attached to small rings and creates a pouch-like area for the child to sit.
Basic Safety Rules
Whether you want to carry your kid in a wrap, ring sling, mei-tai, or a soft structured carrier, there are few basic rules that should be followed regardless the type of the carrier and baby’s age:
‘THICKS’ Rule for Safe Baby-Wearing Checklist:
(I)-in view at all times
(C)-close enough to kiss
(K)-keep the chin off the chest
(S)-support the back
There is also an ABC checklist:
(AIRWAY) - Baby’s airway is should remain open.
(BODY POSITIONING) - Carrier should provide appropriate support for baby’s neck and back.
(COMFORT) - Carrier should feel comfortable for you and the baby.
Choose the Best… and the Right One for You
The toddler carriers on this list have exceptional features that make them unique among competitors. However, remember there really isn’t just one carrier that’s the BEST. Rather, there’s one (or a few) that is perfectly meant to suit you and your baby’s needs.
These are our top picks:
- Best Toddler Carrier: LÍLLÉbaby The Complete Airflow Baby & Child Carrier
- Budget-friendly option: Infantino Cuddle Up
We chose to keep the Lillebaby, and have been using it for well over two years. Teo is almost 3 now and we can still use it, though it does feel small when placed in front of me.
Hopefully, the information shared in this post will help you find the best toddler carrier for your family!