Best Carriers for Toddlers of 2017

Best Carriers for Toddlers of 2017

Last Updated: March 31, 2017
Toddlers are eager to explore everywhere on their own two feet, but those little legs (and your back) tire out quickly.Best Carriers for Toddlers of 2017

Wait, don’t put the carrier away just yet! Sure, toddlers are eager to explore everywhere on their own two feet. But those little legs tire out quickly.

When that happens, your child will look up at you with puppy-dog eyes and outstretched arms, that’s universal toddler-speak for “carry me.” That’s when a carrier that can accommodate bigger kids is a huge help.

What is a toddler carrier?

A toddler carrier is a soft-structured carrier that can tote kids past 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 through the toddler years, and all of these picks are machine washable.

Do you need a toddler carrier?

Most families start with a wrap for newborns that keeps them tight and close and supports their neck. As they grow, you need more support to carry them for long stretches.

When toddlers get tired or you don’t want them roaming free (think: street festival or the boutique with all the breakables), having a place where they can safely sit to catch a rest is helpful. Both a stroller and a carrier serve that purpose, but a carrier is easier to use in crowded places or small spaces. Plus, you and your child still get quality snuggle time.

If you already have a structrued baby carrier with buckles or velcro, it might be fine for the toddler years too. Check the weight limit to see if it will work. Two year olds in the 50th percentile are 28 pounds, and three-year olds are almost 32 lbs. But if your bigger kid seems uncomfortable in it or your back is aching after fifteen minutes, check out carriers designed with toddlers in mind.

How we chose our best picks

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

Babylist Best Picks

Popular Pick

Ergobaby Original - $120.00
WHY WE LOVE IT

The Ergobaby is a classic - loved by both moms and dads for its gender-neutral look and supportive structure. The quick-adjusting shoulder straps make it easy to switch between different-sized caregivers too. Both babies and toddlers can ride in it. (An infant insert, sold separately, accommodates newborns less than 12 pounds.)

KEEP IN MIND

Many parents wish they could use this carrier with their child in a front-facing-out position. That’s not an option on this carrier, but the Ergobaby 360 does have that ability. (Note: The 360 can’t accommodate a child over 32 pounds.)

WHAT BABYLIST PARENTS SAY

“I still use it with my almost 3-year-old in the front. It’s the best. So easy to use!” - Raegan S.

ADDITIONAL SPECS

Fabric: Cotton

Weight limits: 12-45 lbs.

Available positions for baby: Front-inward, hip and back carry

Easy to Use

BabyBjorn Baby Carrier One - $139.99
WHY WE LOVE IT

If you’ve got a one-and-done philosophy when it comes to baby gear, the Carrier One is great. You can use the the carrier for years - from day one (no infant insert necessary!) until around three years old. Even better? It makes putting your baby in the back position a cinch. Just load your child in the front, facing inward. Then swivel the carrier around onto your back in one simple motion.

KEEP IN MIND

Some parents report the BabyBjorn pulls on their shoulders and doesn’t have enough back support.

WHAT BABYLIST PARENTS SAY

“BabyBjorn is super easy to use and adjust. It’s very comfortable. Having my baby face forward is also a huge benefit.” - Jennifer L.

ADDITIONAL SPECS

Fabric: Cotton polyester mix

Weight limits: 8-33 lbs.

Available positions for baby: Front-inward, front-outward and back carry

Temperature Controlled

LILLEbaby Complete All Seasons Product Section - $139.99
WHY WE LOVE IT

Who likes options? Yep, us too. That’s why we’re into the All Seasons carrier. Like its name indicates, this carrier is designed to stay comfy, no matter the temperature. Keep the back panel zipped up for warmth during cold weather. Come warmer temps, unzip the back panel to expose the airy mesh lining underneath. You can also cart your kiddo in every position imaginable with the All Seasons carrier.

KEEP IN MIND

Since the All Seasons is a longer, taller carrier, it might not work well for shorter people. Also, some parents find that configuring the carrier can be confusing.

WHAT BABYLIST PARENTS SAY

“The Lillebaby All Seasons is versatile. I can use it with my infant and my almost 3-year-old. It is comfortable with the extra support padding, and the zip down panel makes a considerable difference in the temp while wearing on warm days.” - Amy C.

ADDITIONAL SPECS

Fabric: Cotton

Weight limits: 7-45 lbs.

Available positions for baby: Front-inward, front-outward, hip and back carry

Best Looking

Tula Toddler Ergonomic Carrier - $169+
WHY WE LOVE IT

Fashionistas rejoice! No matter what your style, the Tula Toddler Carrier has you covered with a seemingly endless amount of patterns to choose from. Besides looking fabulous, you and your little one will feel good too. The carrier has extra padding around the leg openings, and has a wide base and high back to keep toddlers comfy. With a super-high weight limit, you can easily use this carrier until age four and beyond.

KEEP IN MIND

The Tula was designed for older kids. You won’t be able to use this until your child is at least 18 months old.

WHAT BABYLIST PARENTS SAY

“The Tula was the only structured carrier I was able to tighten to fit my small shoulders and that worked to tightly fit a petite mom with petite babies and toddlers. It is easy to put on when we are out and about, and even a toddler feels weightless for hours in it.” - Katie B.

ADDITIONAL SPECS

Fabric: Canvas

Weight limits: 25-60 lbs., minimum of 32 inches tall

Available positions for baby: Front-inward and back carry

Incredible Deal

Infantino Flip Advanced Carrier  - $25+
WHY WE LOVE IT

This crazy-affordable carrier is a good pick for babies and toddlers up to three years old. It has a detachable bib to protect the carrier during the drool and teething stages (especially in the front carry positions), and surprisingly good support for such a steal .

KEEP IN MIND

Don’t expect to find the soft fabric and cush padding of higher-end carriers in the Flip Advanced.

WHAT BABYLIST PARENTS SAY

“It was sturdy and cheap! Loved it and so did my baby.” - Marie

ADDITIONAL SPECS

Fabric: Cotton polyester mix

Weight limits: 8-32 lbs.

Available positions for baby: Front-inward, front-outward and back carry


Choosing What’s Right for You

The carrier you choose should be a safe and comfy resting place for your toddler. And it should make hauling your mini-me around as easy as possible. Finding the carrier that works for both of you means fun times don’t have to end when your tiny adventurer just needs a break.