Best Toddler Carriers 2023
by Beth Beaney, Executive Babywearing Consultant at LTBN
What is a Toddler Carrier?
Toddler carriers are carriers that are specifically designed to carry older babies, toddlers and preschoolers. They are bigger versions of baby carriers, that are obviously bigger in proportion, and also often have reinforced stitching and extra padding.
Toddler carrying is very much the same as carrying a younger baby (it's just doing it with a bigger, heavier baby, who can perhaps tell you when they want up or down). You know that you carry your toddler every day in your arms - it’s where your toddler is often most comfortable, it’s where you love to hold them, where you know they are happiest and safest. A toddler carrier makes this easier.
If you want the best toddler carrier for your little one, the most important thing to think about is fit.
It’s the perfect fit that makes a toddler carrier safe and comfortable.
Aside from this, you can choose between different fabrics and designs, as well as different sling styles that are suitable for different situations.
If you want the best toddler carrier for your little one, the most important thing to think about is fit.
Do You Need a Toddler Carrier?
Most families start with a stretchy wrap or ring sling to carry their newborns in order to keep them close, secure and fully supported. As your baby grows though, you’ll need more support to carry them for longer periods of time.
It's a fact that toddlers get tired, and when toddlers get tired, or you don’t want them roaming around (such as busy streets or airports), having a place where they can safely sit and rest or have a little nap is not only helpful for them, but for you too!
Using a sling to carry your toddler is an extension of carrying your toddler in arms. A sling or baby carrier for a toddler allows you to carry your toddler, to continue the loving touch they need, whilst at the same time having your hands free to get on with every day things, whether that's indoors doing chores, out with the family, or, most often, looking after another child.
But it's not just the practical aspect of babywearing a toddler that has benefits. Toddler-wearing has such meaning, it’s deep bonding that lasts. With everything going on in a small child's world, so much to absorb and learn, and so much to cope with, the downtime and connection they achieve when carried is very profound.
Carrying a bigger baby or older child can have a profound and lasting impact on you both. It's never too late to start carrying & how long you carry for, is completely up to you both. It may be every day, it may be now and again. It may only be when they are poorly or as an out-the-blue-you-haven't-been-carried-for-years surprise. It doesn't matter - it's closeness, deep bonding and absolutely cup-filling. The closeness, the chitchat, the jibber-jabber and sharing of experiences, it’s amazing!
Granted, carrying an older baby, toddler or preschooler can be no easy feat given their size. But sometimes they absolutely need that 20 minute nap/rest after running around, and this is of course one way to manage it. They may be heavy, but carrying your toddler in a sling is much more comfortable than carrying them in your arms, and ultimately, they'll be a happier child for that little reconnect and nap!
It's not just the practical aspect of babywearing a toddler that has its benefits. Toddler-wearing has such meaning, it’s deep bonding that lasts. With everything going on in a small child's world, so much to absorb and learn, and so much to cope with, the downtime and connection they achieve when carried is very profound.
As a parent, you're constantly on the move with your little one, whether it's running errands, attending playdates, or exploring the great outdoors. One essential item that can make your life a whole lot easier is a toddler carrier.
With a toddler carrier, your hands are free to do other tasks while keeping your child close and secure. This allows you to multitask efficiently, making everyday activities like grocery shopping, walking the dog, or even doing chores around the house much more manageable. Plus, navigating crowded spaces becomes less stressful.
Carrying your toddler close to your body promotes a sense of security and attachment. This close physical contact not only nurtures your emotional bond but also helps your child feel safe and loved. It has been found that toddlers who are carried by their parents experience lower stress levels and develop a stronger attachment, which contributes to their overall emotional well-being.
All the toddler carriers here are designed to provide ergonomic support for both the parent and the child. This means that the carrier evenly distributes your child's weight across your body, reducing strain on your back and shoulders.
Your toddler can engage with their environment, watch your interactions with others, and learn social cues. This active participation in daily life fosters cognitive development and helps your child develop a better understanding of the world around them.
A toddler carrier is a versatile tool that can be used for various activities, both indoors and outdoors. From hiking in the great outdoors to traveling and exploring new cities, a carrier makes it easy to include your child in a range of experiences. Many carriers are also adjustable, allowing you to switch between front, back, and hip-carrying positions to suit your needs and preferences.
Investing in a toddler carrier is a smart decision for on-the-go parents who value convenience, bonding, and the numerous benefits that come with carrying their child. You can ensure that both you and your little one can navigate the world comfortably and confidently, creating cherished memories along the way.
The types of carriers we're looking at here are all soft-structured, ultra-ergonomic carriers that provide optimal support for your baby and ultimate comfort for you. We aren't looking at bulky, oversized framed carriers such as those by Phil and Teds, Deuter or Osprey.
The Best Toddler Carriers 2023
Ok, let's dive in! Here are our top toddler carriers for 2023.
1. Tula Toddler Carrier
Did you know we were the first to bring Tula Carriers into the UK and Ireland over a decade ago, and we were instrumental in helping design the Tula Toddler Carrier? So suffice to say, we know these carriers intimately!
It's tough being a toddler - no matter how much you want to walk everywhere all the time, those little legs do get tired. So we've always thought it fab that Tula designed this carrier suitable for toddlers from around 18 months/25lbs to 4+ years old.
Customers love the huge range of designs available - with designs ranging from vintage and classic to funky and floral, there's a colour and pattern for just about everyone.
Plus customers love that the The Tula Toddler Carrier is ergonomic and comfy, and it's easy to use, whether you're carrying your toddler on your front or back. The waistband sits on the hips or waist spreading toddler's weight to help keep you carrying all day long! The extra padding at the legs means your toddler stays comfy, happily snuggled up close to you, whether you're hanging out at home, or out for long days at the zoo, or long country walks.
Shop the Tula Toddler Carrier
2. Love Radius Physiocarrier
The multi-award winning Love Radius Physiocarrier is cleverly designed with lots of thoughtful features - it's simply fabulous.
The panel on the front of the carrier is made with the famous Love Radius wrap fabric too, so it's totally soft and mouldable to your baby or toddler. This can be rolled away to reveal a mesh panel, allowing you to stay cool on even the hottest days.
It's a carrier that's suitable for carrying toddlers up to around 3 years old, so it's a great option for carrying your big kid. The generous padding and breathable straps and waistband provide comfort and unprecedented lightness. Plus, it has a rear viewing mirror when you're back carrying, just to keep an eye on them.
Shop the Love Radius Physiocarrier
3. Didymos Didyklick 4U Toddler Carrier
The Didymos DidyKlick is a half buckle baby carrier from Didymos. It is a wrap conversion buckle carrier with all the beauty, comfort & support of a woven wrap, combined with the simplicity and practicality of a buckle carrier.
Designed to carry bigger babies and toddlers in comfort and with ease. Based on the classic DidyKlick 4u Half-buckle, the Toddler carrier combines the comfortable support and mouldability of a woven wrap with the convenience and simplicity of a buckle carrier.
We find that customers love the waist buckle, as it makes a big difference to comfort and ease of use, and the extra padding where your toddler's legs rest is a wonderful added feature.
Half buckle carriers are a super option for comfortable back carrying.
Plus there's a great range of fabrics and designs to choose from to suit your style.
Shop the Didymos Didyklick Toddler Carrier
4. Lenny Lamb Toddler Wraptai
The Lenny Lamb Wraptai is a meh-dai style carrier, made using Lenny Lamb woven wrap fabrics.
The Lenny Lamb Wraptai is completely soft - 100% pure cotton with no buckles, poppers or fasteners, so it's super-soft against your toddler's body and super-comfortable for you, and nestles like a second skin around your toddler, providing optimal support.
The Toddler Wraptai is suitable from around 12 months and as your baby grows up until around 3 years; you can carry your baby on your front or back so there's lots of versatility and gives you lots of options.
There is an enormous range of designs to choose from too so you can easily find a colour or pattern that suits your style!
Shop the Lenny Lamb Wraptai Toddler Carrier
5. Lenny Lamb Toddler Onbu
We all know that toddlers love to explore the world on their own once they can crawl or walk. But as independent as they seem, there are times when they also love (and need) to be carried and held close to you. The Lenny Lamb Onbuhimo baby carrier is a great way to fullfill that need.
Originating from Japan, the Onbuhimo carrier is worn up high on the back and is designed for babies, toddlers, and children who can sit unassisted. It's fast and easy to put on and take off - great for toddlers who can't decide whether they want to be up or down or up!
The Onbuhimo is worn exclusively on the back and doesn't have a waist belt - great if you find a waist belt uncomfortable, or if you're pregnant, there's no waistband to put pressure on your growing tummy.
Made from the same high quality fabric as Lenny Lamb baby wraps, the Lenny Lamb Onbuhimo perfectly supports your child's back and holds them in a healthy and safe position.
Shop the Lenny Lamb Toddler Onbu
6. Tula Preschool Carrier
The Tula Preschool Carrier has all the amazing features of the Tula Carriers you know and love, but with added features to help you carry your big kid.
The largest Tula carrier yet with a panel of 51.1 x 50.4cm and reinforced with an added layer and strategic stitching, the Tula Preschool Carrier is designed to be secure and comfortable to help you continue your babywearing journey. The Preschool Carrier has a weight range of 16-32kg (35-70lbs) and is best meant for a child from 3/4 years to 5 years old.
Extra leg padding for your child helps keep them as comfortable as possible too.
Shop the Toddler Preschool Carrier
7. Lenny Lamb Preschool Carrier
The Lenny Lamb Preschool Carrier is a true giant amongst preschool carriers, both physically and metaphorically.
It too is made from woven wrap fabrics, so it's soft, supportive and comfortable right from the start.
This carrier lasts from 1 - 6 years, so you will get an awful lot of use of it for many years, without the need to buy any other carrier.
Customers love the 4 way adjustable straps that help get the fit just right, and the extra leg padding for baby to help keep them as comfortable as possible.
Shop the Lenny Lamb Preschool Carrier
8. Little Frog Preschool Carrier
This is an even bigger carrier, for kids 18 months - 5 years old, and it really does fit this age group!
It's made from Little Frog woven wraps so it is both beautiful and soft.
The soft contoured panel ensures your toddler is carried in their natural ergonomic position with their knees slightly higher than their bottom.
The width- and height-adjustable panel means the carrier can continue to support your child knee-to-knee as they grow.
The crossable shoulder straps can be adjusted 3 ways to ensure a great comfortable fit for both you and your little one.
These are stunning wrap conversion carriers that will last and last.
Shop the Little Frog Preschool Carrier
9. ISARA The One
The ISARA The One - a truly singular carrier that is so ingeniously designed it is suitable from newborn right through to preschool, and fits all parents, too.
We're often asked to suggest a carrier which will work for a newborn up to preschool. I've always described this as a bit of a unicorn. Until now though; the Isara The One Carrier actually does this, and it does it really well. The superb design really does fit snug and safe from newborn and yup, you really can carry a 4 year old in it too. Even better, it's now available in organic cotton twill (prints & plain) which makes the price absolutely fantastic.
With such extreme adjustability , an investment in this carrier is really worth it.
Shop the ISARA The One
10. Lenny Lamb LennyHybrid Preschool Carrier
The LennyHybrid Preschool Carrier is a half buckle carrier - a halfway point between a fully structured carrier and a woven wrap. The panel, shoulder straps and waist belt of the LennyHybrid are made from soft cotton and it has a buckle waist and is suitable from 1-5 years.
The width-adjustable panel means that this carrier adjusts to fit your little one's body and as they grow. Plus, it has removable shoulder padding to add extra support and comfort when needed!
The best part is, it's super-adjustable thanks to the shoulder straps. No hard-to-reach buckles. Soft, supportive fabric that crosses on your back. The perfect fit (even for different wearers), it offers a custom fit to every body.
Works for front, back and hip carrying.
This offers a lovely, less structured style; you get all the softness and moldability of a woven wrap, but with a little bit of structure - a main panel with a buckle waist and shoulder straps that tie. The shoulder straps sit on the shoulders and cross on the wearers back, tying either at the front, side or back.
Shop the LennyHybrid Preschool Carrier
Phew! Thanks for bearing with me and making it down here :) I hope you found this article helpful. Please get in touch or email me - firstname.lastname@example.org - if you'd like any further info on toddler carriers, carrying your preschooler, babywearing in general, or advice on any products at all.