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Best Toddler Carriers of 2024
January 4, 2024

Best Toddler Carriers of 2024

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Best Toddler Carriers of 2024.
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Toddlers want to explore on their own, but they tire out quickly, so you need a toddler carrier.Best Toddler Carriers of 2024

Wait—don’t put the baby carrier away just yet!

Toddlers are eager to explore everywhere on their own two feet. But little legs tire out quickly. (And come to think of it, big legs do, too.) A carrier that can accommodate bigger kids can be a huge help when you’re out and about and trying to wrangle your tiny adventurer.

In this article:

What is a Toddler Carrier?

A toddler carrier is a soft-structured carrier that can tote kids beyond the baby stage. To reduce strain on your shoulders, neck and back, these carriers have padded, adjustable shoulder straps and a waist belt to evenly distribute your child’s weight. They should also offer a hip-healthy, wide-seat position that places your child’s legs in a frog-like formation.

Most carriers for toddlers also come with a hood to protect your child’s head from sun as well as a storage pocket for your on-the-go essentials. Many are suitable for use from infancy all the way through the toddler years.

Do You Need a Toddler Carrier?

Many families start with a ring sling or a wrap for newborns to keep them tight and close and support their neck. As your little one grows, though, you’ll need more support to carry them for long stretches.

When toddlers get tired or you don’t want them roaming free (think: street festival, the airport or the boutique with allll the breakables), having a place where they can safely sit to catch a rest is helpful both for them and you. A stroller can also check these boxes, but a carrier is a nice option to have on hand if you’re going to be in a crowded or small space or if you’re craving a little extra snuggle time.

If you already have own a structured baby carrier with buckles or Velcro, check the weight limit—it may work for the toddler years too. (For a good frame of reference, two-year-olds in the 50th percentile are about 28 pounds, and three-year-olds are almost 32 pounds.)

How We Chose our Best Toddler Carriers Picks

We asked thousands of real Babylist families about the baby products they love the most, then took the top products they shared with us and added our own research and insight to tell you about the best toddler carriers.

Most Comfortable Toddler Baby Carrier

What Our Experts Say

Ask most babywearing pros which carrier is the most comfortable for carrying older kiddos and you’ll likely hear the same answer over and over: Tula. Engineered specifically for carrying children from two to six years old, this soft cotton carrier has a deep, wide seat with extra padding around the leg openings, thick, cushioned straps, a high back and lots of adjustment options for ultimate comfort. It’s also available in a seemingly endless amount of fun colors and patterns.

What’s Worth Considering

Tula also makes an even bigger carrier, the Preschool Carrier. It’s suitable for children from 35 up to 70 pounds.

Additional Specs
Fabric: Cotton
Child limit: 25-60 lbs
Available positions: Front and back

Most Versatile Toddler Carrier

What Our Experts Say

The Ergobaby brand gets big love in the world of babywearing, both for comfort and the supportive, ergonomic design of their carriers (it’s a consistent pick on our best baby carriers guide). The Dream carrier features both these things and one more biggie: versatility. This all-in-one carrier features four separate carry positions and grows with your baby from birth up to about age four, so you’ll be able to use it from the newborn days (no infant insert required) through the toddler years. It’s made from incredibly soft cotton and features padded shoulder straps and solid lumbar support. This Icy Green color is exclusive to Babylist.

What’s Worth Considering

If you’re looking for a similar carrier at a lower price point, try the Ergobaby 360. You’ll still get four carry positions and the weight limit is 45 lbs, making it an excellent choice for toddlers.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Great multi-position carrier. The fabric is SO soft and the shade hood for baby is probably my favorite feature. Having three kids, I usually have a double stroller and then a carrier for outings. The best part of this carrier is that it adjusts seamlessly between my kids. I carry my 3-month-old on the front facing inward and then my 2 and 4-year-olds (28 and 34lbs), piggyback style. I primarily bring it for the baby but it’s inevitable with the older two that someone wants to be carried at some point and it’s nice I can just pop them into the same carrier.” -LCG

Additional Specs
Fabric: Brushed cotton
Child limit: 0-48 mos, 7-45 lbs
Available positions: Inward facing, outward facing, hip carry, back carry

Best Toddler Carrier with High Weight Limit

What Our Experts Say

The CarryOn is designed exclusively for carrying toddlers and older children and ties the Tula Toddler Carrier for the highest weight limit of all the carriers on our best-of list at 60 pounds. With features like a wide, padded belt, a taller back and a wider seat, this carrier makes toting around bigger, heavier children easier and more comfortable than many other structured carriers. It’s made from a breathable mesh so you won’t overheat and also includes a large cargo pocket, zippered hood and two zippered storage pockets. You can choose from three carry positions: front, hip and back.

What’s Worth Considering

The weight minimum for this carrier is 25 pounds, so you won’t be able to use it with a smaller, younger baby.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I have a 4-year-old who needs to be close at all times, she has complex medical needs and this keeps her safe and secure. It is easy to pack and store, easy to wash, and she loves it. We used to have the Ergo and she outgrew it, over time we had other things and they were bulky. This is beyond perfect for any family!!!!” -Kayleigh

Additional Specs
Fabric: Breathable mesh
Child limit: 25-60 lbs
Available positions: Hip, front, back

Best Toddler Carrier for Warm Climates

What Our Experts Say

Carrying a toddler around can work up quite a sweat. If you live in a warm climate and hope to babywear often, or are just someone who overheats quickly, this mesh carrier from Babybjörn should be on your list. It’s made from a unique 3D mesh, the brand’s lightest and most breathable fabric. Many of the other features are designed specifically for added comfort—a must when considering a toddler carrier—like a wide seat, adjustable headrest and padded shoulder straps.

What’s Worth Considering

Mastering a baby carrier can take some practice. Lots of parents recommend watching the brand’s how-to video in lieu of using the included instructions. There’s no hip carry option with the Harmony; your three choices are front inward, front outward and back carry.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I had a similar product before that did not have such breathable fabric and I am so glad I found this carrier as it helps minimize holding in the Arizona heat when carrying my son. I love the deep grey color as well as it matches with almost anything and is not as bulky as my previous carrier. The back support is good as well but no matter what, carrying a baby is eventually going to cause some aching :)” -Hartmama2

Additional Specs
Fabric: 3D mesh
Child limit: 7-40 lbs
Available positions: Inward facing front, outward facing front, back

Best Affordable Toddler Baby Carrier

What Our Experts Say

This extremely affordable carrier is a good pick for babies and toddlers up to three years old. It fits kids and parents of all sizes thanks to the numerous points where you can adjust straps and buckles, and you can widen the adjustable seat for bigger kids to keep their legs in a hip-healthy position. It has a detachable bib to protect the carrier during the drool and teething stages (especially useful in the front carry positions). And, there’s no overheating in this carrier—it’s lightweight and breathable for both you and your little one.

What’s Worth Considering

The only way to get your child into the back-carry position is with someone’s help. The Flip has the lowest weight maximum of any carrier on our list at 32 pounds.

Additional Specs
Child limit: 8-32 lbs
Available positions: Front inward, front outward, back

Best Toddler Hip Seat Carrier

What Our Experts Say

A relatively new and unique addition to the babywearing scene, hip seat carriers are simple, straightforward and can be particularly useful in certain situations. Have a toddler who loves to be carried but isn’t a fan of babywearing? Need something to help a grandparent or older caregiver carry baby? Hip seat carriers help you position your toddler in a natural carry position on your hip—but with a little help. The TushBaby features a support belt that distributes your little one’s weight, lumbar support to help your back and a memory foam-lined seat where your child’s bum rests. There are also storage pockets to hold your phone, keys and wallet.

What’s Worth Considering

You won’t be able to go hands-free with a hip seat carrier; you’ll need an arm around your little one at all times. If your waist is larger than 44 inches, you’ll need to add the Waistband Extender.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I am a grandma of a 2-year-old girl; she weights 31 pounds and this item has saved my back!!! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!! I wear it on our walks because she gets tired and wants to be picked up. I wear it at the stores, restaurants, everywhere!! I can put my phone, her water bottle and my wallet in it.” -Maria S.

Additional Specs
Child limit: 8-44 lbs
Available positions: Hip

Best Toddler Carrier for Hiking

What Our Experts Say

Headed on an outdoor adventure? A hiking baby carrier will make everyone’s day a lot easier. This one ranks high on the list in every category including fit, comfort and storage space. It has an aluminum frame, a fully adjustable hip belt and shoulder straps and an adjustable torso section so it can be used by wearers of different heights. Parents rave over how it distributes weight for a comfortable carry.

What’s Worth Considering

This hiking baby carrier also includes a built-in daypack to hold your extra stuff and a pillow in case your travel buddy needs a nap.

Additional Specs
Child limit: Child + gear + pack 48 lbs
Available positions: Back

Jen LaBracio

Senior Gear Editor

Jen LaBracio is Babylist’s Senior Gear Editor, a role that perfectly combines her love of all things baby gear with her love of (obsessive) research. When she’s not testing out a new high chair or pushing the latest stroller model around her neighborhood, she likes to run, spin, listen to podcasts, read and spend time at the beach. In her past life, she worked for over a decade in children’s publishing. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and their two boys, Will and Ben.

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