The 5 Best Carriers For Toddlers, So Your Arms Get A Break Already

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Mother laughing and having fun with your toddler outdoors

So you’ve retired the sling wrap. (Where does the time go?) But just because you’re toddler is padding about on their own doesn’t mean the carrying days are over. Sure, there’s always the trusty stroller, but when you need the flexibility to easily maneuver around crowded spaces, go on a long hike, or you just want to keep your kiddo close, the best carriers for toddlers come in clutch.

Carriers for toddlers can still tote around essentials like snacks and sunscreen. They are perfect for family outings, crowded spaces, hikes, travel — or any time you need to prevent them from getting into all the things. Plus, the best toddler carriers are made with comfort in mind. This means that when you’re little one's legs grow tired and they demand, “Mommy, up!”, you can provide a safe and comfortable seat position for them without straining your back or shoulders. (Or your patience.)

We all know that kids grow at their own pace so rather than gauging a carrier’s fit by age, it’s best to take a look at the weight specifications. For your convenience, we’ve included the maximum weight limit for each carrier pick below. You can cross-reference that number with what your kiddo weighs. Not sure? We’ve got your back. Here are some general averages: The average 2-year-old is around 26 pounds, while 3-year-olds are near 31 pounds and 4-year-olds are almost 36 pounds, according to the World Health Organization. Of course, throwing your kid on a bathroom scale also works.

Below, we’ve got the best carriers for toddlers so you can do what you do — and carry on.

1. The Best All-In-One Carrier

If you’re the “one and done” type, you’ll love this much-adored toddler carrier that does it all. With a capacity of 7 to 45 pounds, choosing a carrier that grows with your baby means one less thing in the house. Why buy them all when you only need one? Carry your toddler in multiple positions depending on your own comfort and/or their sudden desire to only face out lest they unleash a special kind of meltdown. It’s made of breathable cotton that’s easy to wash, and it even comes with a hood for windy days and breastfeeding on the fly. Shoppers rave about the ergonomic lumbar support and general comfort.

Review: “​​I’ve tried all Ergos (Original, 360, Adapt, and now the Omni 360) and…I can now say the Omni 360 is the only one you'll ever need which is such a relief.”

Maximum Weight Limit: 7 to 45 pounds | Waist Belt Fits: accommodates from 25.5 to 55.25 inches | Available Colors: 4

2. The Best Toddler Carrier On A Budget

This affordable toddler carrier features contoured shoulder straps and a supportive waist belt for the caregiver, plus an adjustable seat to safely carry kiddos from 8 to 40 pounds. You can wear it four different ways, including backpack style, so it is a carrier that works well for the toddler set. It’s made of a polyester-cotton blend that’s machine washable. And parents are raving about the sheer number of pockets (six in total) for storing all things you need to go purse-free.

Review: “Great for anyone needing an easier or [more] comfortable way to carry your infant or toddler. Its easy to use, small to transport, and durable and comfortable. It helps me have the ability to carry baby close and have my hands free. A must have for 1st and 2nd time parents.”

Maximum Weight Limit: 8 to 40 pounds | Waist Belt Fits: accommodates up to 58 inches | Available Colors: 2

3. The Best Toddler Carrier For Big Kids

This raved-about toddler carrier is in it for the long haul. With a maximum weight limit of 60 pounds, you’ll get some good use from this roomy carrier. The LÍLLÉbaby CarryOn is made with breathable mesh material for that sweaty toddler life, and it features padded adjustable straps and lumbar support for a comfortable carry—front, side, or back.

Review: “This carrier is the greatest thing. I use it when we hike (Alaska), when I’m shopping and don’t want to convince my toddler for the 1,000th time to SIT DOWN in the cart or chase her as she runs away from me, and when she’s asleep and I need to get to the bus stop to pick up my older kids. It’s very comfortable in any of the 3 holds, and makes me feel like she doesn’t weigh anything—a stark contrast from the framed backpack we were using, and it puts her hips/legs in the preferred ‘M’ shape for proper biomechanics and hip development.”

Maximum Weight Limit: 25 to 60 pounds | Waist Belt Fits: accommodates up to 54 inches, waist belt extender sold separately | Available Colors: 5

4. The Most Versatile: A Hip-Seat Toddler Carrier & Diaper Bag In One

This award-winning baby seat is doctor-approved, designed for safety, and it was seen on Shark Tank so it’s basically famous. Believe it or not, this humble polyester carrier can tote your kiddo around in four different positions: breastfeeding, side carrying, front-facing, and face-to-face. Its ergonomic design is made to support 8 to 45 pounds AND it has pockets big enough to carry your diaper bag supplies. Just be ready to chat with strangers while you’re out and about because this one is a conversation starter.

Review: “Every time I've taken it out in public (literally - every. single. time.), I've had at least one person marvel at how cool it is or ask questions about it. This is HANDS DOWN the best baby item we've purchased, and we've already decided it will be our go-to for all future baby shower gifts. (We've already gifted one.) Seriously, just buy it!!”

Maximum Weight Limit: 8 to 45 pounds | Waist Belt Fits: accommodates from 24 to 44 inches; waist extender sold separately | Available Colors: 4

5. The Best Backpack Carrier For Toddlers

For the outdoor enthusiast, you need a backpack carrier that allows your little one to witness the magic of Mother Nature safely at your side. No one makes ‘em better than Osprey when it comes to comfort and helpful features. Like a built-in sunshade with UPF 50+ sun protection, easy-access pockets for snacks and chapstick, removable foot stirrups, a kickstand, and a hydration pack. Plus, the nylon construction is durable enough to withstand the elements. And if you’re wondering if it’s worth the investment, perhaps the over 600 five-star reviews will point you in the right direction.

Review: “This carrier feels so luxurious. The materials and stretching is amazing. No corners were cut, and everything was well thought out. My 30 lb. Son loved this so much that he refused to get out. [...] There is a little learning curve with all the straps and things that can be moved and lowered. After playing with it a few minutes, it wasn't bad.The seat for the child looks very comfortable and secure.[...]The sun shade is magical! You unzip a pocket and out it comes with minimal maneuvering. [...]The [weight] distribution was good too.Overall, the Osprey feels like the Mercedes of carriers. We can't wait to hit the trails together!”

Maximum Weight Limit: 16 to 48.5 pounds | Waist Belt Fits: none listed | Available Colors: 2