There are so many different baby carriers and ones for toddlers specifically, that the choice can be quite overwhelming and it can be quite difficult to make a decision on what might be best for you. The one you go for or the one you choose depends mostly on what age your toddler is - young toddler, full-on toddler or heading-towards-preschool toddler. Luckily we have this fantastic in-depth guide to help you find the carrier that works for both of you.
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 have bigger main panels (to accommodate the size of the child) and they often have reinforced stitching and extra padding to provide extra structural support and to be more comfortable when being used. These are often the same carriers that you'd use in earlier years or for front facing, but some bigger carriers are specially designed for carrying older toddlers and preschoolers.
Toddler carrying is very much the same as carrying a younger baby (albeit it's doing it with a bigger, heavier baby). You carried your baby every day in your arms or in a carrier - it’s where they were often most comfortable, it’s where you loved to hold them, where you know they were happiest and safest, and so it makes sense to continue carrying them and continue that bond. Given their size, and as they age, you will most likely carry your toddler on your back.
To keep things simple and make it clearer for you, we’ve broken down the Toddler Carrier selection into 3 groups:
- Baby Carriers for 1 Year Olds
- Carriers for Older Toddlers
- Toddler Carriers for 3 Year Olds
Baby Carriers for 1 Year Olds
We love these carriers for older babies / younger toddlers. Younger toddlers are often not yet confident on their feet, so carrying is still their main way of getting around.
The Didymos DidyKlick is a buckle wrap carrier with all the beauty, comfort & support of a woven wrap, combined with the simplicity and practicality of a buckle carrier. It may be the perfect baby carrier for your newborn and baby, but it's great for your toddler too (indeed, it's great up to around 3 years old).
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 baby's legs rest is a wonderful added feature. Plus there's a great range of fabrics and designs to choose from to suit your style. Choose from solid coloured options such as the Didyklick Jade, or beautiful jacquard designs such as Didyklick Leo and Didyklick Sole Occidente.
Love Radius (JPMBB) Physiocarrier
The multi-award winning Love Radius (JPMBB) Physiocarrier is cleverly designed with lots of thoughtful features - it's simply fabulous and took the babywearing world by storm when it burst on to the scene five or six years ago.
The panel on the front of the carrier is made with the famous JPMBB wrap fabric too, so it's totally soft and moldable 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 toddler and as they grow into a big kid. The generous padding and breathable straps and waistband provide comfort and unprecedented lightness, making carrying your toddler as comfortable as possible. Plus, it has a rear viewing mirror that can be used when you're back carrying, so that you can keep an eye on them.
Baby Carriers for Older Toddlers
Older toddlers are often on their feet, but tire quickly. So having a baby carrier on-hand is a fantastic way to facilitate freedom whilst being able to scoop them up after a few minutes of freedom. These are the carriers we love for older toddlers.
Love & Carry AIR X
A superb buckle carrier with extra lumbar-support, the Air X is fully adjustable and will grow with your little one from 4 months to 3 years thanks to the width-adjustable body panel; so this carrier lasts and lasts well until your baby is a big toddler.
It comes with an integrated neck support, sleep hood and a large, detachable zip pouch. The AIR X has has a roll away and mesh panel to help keep you cool in warmer weather, because we all know that carrying toddlers can be hard work. Great padding in the straps makes for comfortable and supportive carrying, even when wearing a toddler.
Tula Toddler Carrier
Tula realised years ago that 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 they designed this carrier suitable for toddlers from around 18 months/25lbs to 4+ years old. 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 the 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.
Toddler Carriers for 3 Year Olds
We all know that as our little ones get bigger and bigger, of course we carry them less. Yet there are still so many occasions when your big kid is just too tired to finish that hike, or they get cranky during the weekly shopping trip. Sometimes they’re over-tired, overstimulated and just plain done, and that's when they need up. Some of our kids need to be carried - kids with more complex needs or additional needs, for example. These are our favourite carriers for big kids.
Little Frog Preschool Carrier
Just like the Little Frog Toddler Carrier, this is an even bigger carrier, for kids 18 months - 5 years old. 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.
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.