Finding the best baby carrier for toddler can be tricky because there are so many options to choose from on the market.
I’ve put together a list of what I think are the best toddler carriers, their key features, plus I’ll reveal my pick of the best baby carriers that I have used for my son as a 1 and 2-year-old.
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Best Baby Carrier For A Toddler At A Glance
Most Economical: Infantino Carry On Carrier
Best Convertible Baby Carrier: LÍLLÉbaby Complete All Seasons Carrier
Most Compact Toddler Carrier: Boba Air Baby Carrier
Ease Of Use: Tushbaby Carrier
Best Backpack Toddler Carrier For Long Trips: Deuter Kid Comfort Pro
Best Backpack Toddler Carrier For Short Trips: Osprey Poco LT Child Carrier
Structured Carriers Vs. Wrap Carriers
Structured carriers look more like a backpack and provide additional support for the child and parents as your toddler gets bigger.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for the best baby carrier for a toddler, you should be looking at structured carriers.
Wrap carriers and ring slings are made of a long piece of fabric that is wrapped and tied to provide a more ergonomic fit and keep your baby close (most are stretchy wraps) when your baby is smaller.
While some baby carrier wraps do have pretty high weight capacity, they stop being comfortable for most parents and children around the 1-year mark.
This is just a very basic overview of wrap and ring sling carriers. If you want a more in-depth explanation of the differences between a soft carrier, ring slings, and wraps, read my full post here.
Soft Structured Baby Carrier Vs. Metal Frame Baby Carrier
You’ll also be deciding between a soft structured carrier and a metal-framed carrier.
Generally, soft structured carriers can accommodate younger babies who need head and neck support as well as older toddlers. Soft-structured carriers can usually be worn for front carry or back carry.
Backpack style or metal-framed carriers tend to have more features and can support heavier weight loads, but are limited to a back carry position.
Metal frame baby carriers are only for babies old enough to support their heads and neck independently.
Although they are going to be heavier, metal-framed backpack carriers are going to be a great option and the best carriers for long walks and hikes. They might also be the more comfortable carrier because they distribute the weight more evenly.
Height And Weight Limit
I’ve included the height and weight limit as indicated on Amazon for each of the carriers, but make sure to check the manufacturer instructions before use.
Toddlers can vary in size… My 2-year-old is 36” tall but weighs less than 30lbs!
Make sure that you are buying a carrier that has plenty of growing room for your little one. Especially because carriers that work for toddlers tend to be more expensive. You don’t want to be replacing this every year if you don’t have to.
The heaviest weight load you’ll find on this list is 60lbs.
60lb should be as high as you need your toddler carrier to carry. Keep in mind that weight loads greater than 60lb are going to be so hard to carry (plus the additional weight of the pack), that the average person wouldn’t be able to use a carrier for their child at that point.
I go more in-depth on carrying positions in my post on the best baby carriers, wraps, and slings. There are more ways to comfortably carry your baby than there are for toddlers. That being said, having options is always good for versatility, so think about whether many carrying positions are important to you when looking for the best baby carrier for a toddler.
Generally, toddlers are going to be most comfortable in a front-outward facing carry, on their parent’s back, or on their parent’s shoulder.
The one carrier I found, called the Tush Baby, does offer a hip carry option that I do think would be comfortable even for a toddler, but it is not hands-free.
Other carriers like the LÍLLÉbaby are called convertible carriers (see more below) and have other carrying positions like inward-facing and hip carrying, and these convertible carriers accommodate babies from newborn to 45 pounds.
You might find that your toddler still finds some of these positions comfortable (especially if they are sleeping), but for the most part, they will outgrow them by 1-2 years.
Front Outward Facing Carry
The toddler is strapped to the parent’s chest with their head facing outward.
Having extra lumbar support is going to be important for the parents with this type of carrying because all of the toddler’s weight will be added to your front.
Front Inward Facing Carry
The toddler is on the parent’s chest, with their head resting on their chest.
This is a very comfortable position for napping as the child is close to cradle their head.
The toddler has their chest strapped to the parent’s back. They are looking straight ahead in the same direction as the parent.
Adjustable (and padded) shoulder straps are important for the parents here, as all of the weight should be above the parent’s waistline. It can put some pressure on the shoulders.
Look for a carrier that has padded shoulder straps, as well as a chest buckle to help evenly distribute your child’s weight.
The child sits on the parent’s shoulders with back support and a harness.
Designed to be lightweight, these carriers are great as alternatives for kids who like a piggyback ride or sitting on their parent’s shoulders directly. They provide more support for the parent and child.
Some newer toddler carriers have a standing option. These are great for allowing your little one to see what’s going on better because their head is usually above your shoulder line (instead of looking out to the side with a traditional backpack carrier).
These can also be more comfortable on your baby’s hips and bottom for long rides.
You might also be able to carry your toddler longer (say for a long hike or day at an amusement park) because they are more physically engaged and won’t get “bored sitting” quite as quickly.
Be forewarned, that very active toddlers who like to jump around might be tricky to carry in a standing position… I have one of these of my own 😂.
Mom Tip: Got a very active toddler and you’re not sure how to keep them busy all day? Check out the 39 activities I use to keep my toddler busy all day long.
Best Convertible Baby Carrier For A Toddler
Why buy a convertible baby carrier?
A convertible baby carrier might be the best baby carrier for a toddler because you will use the same one from birth to toddlerhood.
These convertible baby carriers are like convertible car seats in that they can be used from newborn through toddlerhood (depending on your child’s height and/or weight).
Some of these require an infant insert to fit your little peanut for the first few months of life, other’s don’t. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions to know whether you need a newborn insert or not.
When doing your baby registry, you might want to consider a convertible baby carrier that will grow with your little one.
The downside of a convertible carrier? They typically have lower weight limits… But the ones I have chosen below go up to 45lb 👀!
So, if you’re like me and you’re only going to use your carrier recreationally with your toddler, a convertible carrier might be the way to go.
But, if you’re planning big trips, hiking adventures, or need a lot of storage in your carrier, you should be looking at a backpack or metal-frame baby carrier for a toddler (see more below).
Here are the best convertible baby carriers for toddlers:
1. LÍLLÉbaby Complete All Seasons Carrier
This is the convertible carrier that I own. Other than the baby wrap that I used when my son was a newborn, I haven’t needed any other carrier. This one works just great.
It’s a great carrier all around with many important features like an ergonomic design to distribute weight and fit a variety of body shapes and sizes. It has an adjustable hip seat for older babies.
This versatile carrier can be used from infant (perfect for babywearing) to toddler (eliminating the need for added baby gear) in 6 different carry positions. It’s made of a breathable fabric plus a mesh zip-down panel to keep the baby cool in warmer climates.
I might be a little partial because this is the one that I own… But it is my top pick for the most versatile baby carrier at a great price point.
- Weight limit is 7-45lb
- 6 different types of carry (3 for toddlers 18 months and older)
- Padded shoulder straps
- Adjustable straps can be worn in an “h” shape (like a traditional backpack) or criss-crossed in an “x” shape (great for petite bodies).
- Metal re-inforced lumbar support gives extra support for the parents.
- Temperature control panel (let’s you unzip to reveal more breathable mesh to keep the parents and child cool).
- Extra pockets for storage
- A hood (for sun and rain protection)
- Neck support (for younger babies)
- Waistbelt extender available for plus sized parents
2. Baby Tula Coast Explore Carrier
- Weight limit is 7-45lb
- Padded shoulder straps and a padded waistband for extra comfort for the parents
- Mesh panel to allow for cooling ventilation for the parent and child
- Can be worn in 2 positions for toddlers
- Adjustable carrier width (very unique feature) so the carrier grows with the baby, providing a more snug fit for newborns, and extra room for toddlers
- Soft fabric: 100% machine washable cotton (yes!)
3. Infantino Carry On Carrier
This simple design comes at a reasonable price and can be used by both younger and older children, but lacks some of the support and adjustability of its competitors.
- Weight limit 8-40lb
- 3 carrying positions for toddlers
- Seat is adjustable for the different types of carry
- Lots of extra pockets (6!!) for your personal belongings
- Adjustable head support (for younger babies)
- Designed to focus the weight on the parent’s hips for a more balanced and comfortable carry
4. Ergobaby Omni 360 Carrier
- Advertised for babies and toddlers 0 to 4 years old!
- Weight limit is 7-45lb
- Adjustable seat for the baby to promote healthy hips
- Adjustable padded shoulder straps for the parents to be worn regular or crossed to accommodate all body shapes from petite to plus-size
- Reinforced waist belt with lumbar support
- 6 Different carrying positions
- Hood for sun and rain protection, or for privacy for breastfeeding moms
- Machine washable premium cotton
5. Boba X Baby Carrier
As the proud owner of a Boba Baby Wrap, I can say that this company pays attention to small details to make your life easier, all while providing the most comfort for you and your baby.
While the Boba X Baby carrier is limited in carrying positions (front inward-facing and back facing only), it does provide the most customizable fit for your tiniest newborn through toddlerhood. With their unique Micro-Adjustable system, you can easily adjust the width of the seat from 8-21 inches wide. They advertise knee-to-knee coverage for even older toddlers for the most comfortable seat.
I also love the unique patterns of the entire Boba collection.
- For children 7-45lb
- Micro-adjustable seat
- Height of the carrier adjusts to fit smaller and taller babies
- The Perfect Fit adjusters allow you to adjust the padded shoulder straps while wearing the carrier
- Shoulder straps can be worn like a backpack or criss-crossed
- Generous storage pocket
- Removeable rain hood
- Purse strap holder for mom
- Phone pocket on the wasitbelt (yeeeeeeessssss 📲)
- Elastic chest strap can slide up or down for the perfect fit and distribution of weight for tall and petite body sizes. The extra give from the elastic makes the carrier more comfortable for the wearer.
- 100% Machine washable cotton
- Knee-to-knee support for baby’s legs and hips
- Padded waist belt
Best Baby Carrier For A Toddler
These unique just for toddler baby carriers might be exactly what you’re looking for. They are all simple to use, compact, and easy to travel with.
6. Tushbaby Carrier
This innovative “as seen on Sharktank” hip carrier lets you store a few items on the go, wear with or without the baby, and allows you to rest your child easily and take some of the weight off of your upper back and neck.
The Tushbaby Carrier seems like a good choice for trips where your child is going to be up and down a lot (think a trip to Disney or another amusement park). You don’t have to deal with loading and unloading a harness!
The downside is that it is not a hands-free option, so you will still have to hold on to your little one.
7. Piggyback Rider Scout Standing Carrier
The only truly standing carrier that I have seen.
- Children 2-5 (who are comfortable standing)
- Up to 50lb
- Super lightweight (weighs less than 3lb)
- Handles for the child to hold (no more squeezing your shoulders, hair, or neck for piggy back rides!)
- Compact: advertised as smaller than a rolled towel. Easy to fit in your luggage, diaper bag, backpack, etc.
8. MiniMeis Shoulder Carrier
This is a new carrier style but offers a better option for parents than the traditional shoulder ride.
I think it would be a great choice in warm weather because there are fewer contact points for both the carrier and child, so you can wear it for long periods without getting drenched in sweat.
- For children up to 48lb
- Compact size (folds down to about 12 x 12 inches)
- Weights only 3.3lb
- Waist belt and shoulder straps adjust for the parent
- Harness and leg straps that attach to the child’s legs for 6 points of contact
- Folds up easily for packing
9. LÍLLÉbaby 3-In-1 Toddler Carrier
If you want all of the features of the LÍLLÉbaby Complete, but your little one is past the infant stage, you should consider the LÍLLÉbaby Toddler Carrier because it will grow with your child.
This is a carrier specifically meant to fit a larger child.
- For bigger kids 25-60lb
- Wider carrier to accommodate larger toddlers
- 2-Position seat to keep your child’s hips comfortable
- Reinforced lumbar support for parent comfort
- Removable hood
- Padded, adjustable straps
- Cooling mesh panels to keep parent and child cool
- Machine washable
10. Boba Air Baby Carrier
Need a carrier for travel that will fold up and fit in your diaper bag? The Boba Air Baby Carrier is perfect for you!
Despite being crafted for portability, Boba includes many comfort features for the parents and the child, as they do on their more structured carriers.
- For older babies 15-45lb
- Made of nylon material and weights less than a pound!
- Self-storing: the carrier folds up into the hood pouch and can be stored in your purse or diaper bag
- Padded leg openings keep little legs comfortable
- Knee-to-knee coverage for baby’s leg and hip comfort
- The chest strap can move up and down and the padded mesh straps are adjustable for the perfect breathable fit for every body
11. Nalakai Ring Sling
If you’re just going on a quick trip and want something easy to use that also folds up in your purse, a ring sling might be the answer.
Although it’s not going to be as comfortable for the child or wearer for long periods of time, the convenience of the sling can’t be beaten. The ergonomic nature of the stretchy woven fabric is going to provide a comfortable, custom fit for your toddler.
This sling is rated up to 35lb, which is very high for a woven piece of fabric!
12. Chicco Sidekick Plus 3 in 1 Hip Seat Carrier
This cool convertible carrier converts from an infant carrier to a hip seat carrier, to a hip seat (like the Tushbaby) for shorter trips!
- For infants to older children up to 33lb
- 3 Seperate carriers in 1: infant carrier, hip seat carrier, and hip seat
- Entirely machine washable
- Zip-down cover to reveal a cooling mesh panel to keep the child and carrier cool
- Adjustable padded shoulder straps and padded lumbar support
- The hip seat carrier can be worn in 3 ways: front inward and outward facing, and back frontfacing
- The hip seat provides extra comfort and stability for the child
- The versatility of this carrier is really cool as it offers 3 different modes to use as your child grows
Backpack Best Baby Carrier For A Toddler
Backpack baby carriers for toddlers (sometimes called hiking carriers) are very popular because they have more structure than other baby carriers.
They usually have wireframes and the carrier can stand alone or have a foldable kickstand.
They have additional features like large hoods for rain and shade and more generous storage pockets.
Backpack carriers are great for long trips like hiking, sightseeing, or a day at an amusement park because they offer the most support and comfort for both the parent and child. The drawback is that they can be difficult to travel with because they have a metal frame, and they can be quite a bit heavier than some of the other options mentioned above.
13. Chicco Smart Support Backpack Carrier
- Very reasonably priced
- For children 17-40lb
- Padded lumbar support
- Padded waist belt
- Child seat has 3 positions to accommodate for the child’s height as they grow
- Expandable and retractable canopy
- Built-in kickstand
Deuter Kid Toddler Carriers Comparison
Deuter kid offers 4 Kid Comfort carriers. It’s tough to know exactly which features each one has, so I broke them each down, starting with their flagship Kid Comfort model.
14. Deuter Kid Comfort
Like the name would suggest, this backpack carrier for toddlers is all about comfort: both for the parent and the child.
The extra comfort does come with a little extra weight… It’s about 2lb heavier than the Deuter Kid Comfort Active (see more details on that one below).
Some of the comfort features for the parent include their VariSlide adjustment for the torso length. It adjusts with one buckle so you can easily switch between different people of different builds wearing it.
For the child, an adjustable seat ensures a comfortable hip position as they grow and a wide forehead rest pillow that is detachable and can go in the washing machine.
- For children who can support their heads up to 48lb
- Easily customizable: adjustable shoulder straps, child seat height, torso length for carrier, and foot straps
- Pull forward wasitbelt straps and adjustable sternum strap allow you to easily adjust and redistribute the weight of the pack while you’re wearing it
- Adjustable foot straps to make the ride more comfortable for your child’s little legs
- Spacious zip pocket at the back
- Side pockets for small accessories and water bottles
- Size entry loading for the child means you can get them in their harness very easily
- Detachable rain hood is included
- Folds down for carrying
15. Deuter Kid Comfort Active
The Deuter Kid Comfort Active still has comfort for the parent and child at the forefront. They also focused on lightening the overall weight of the pack, which means no included rain hood, mesh pockets, and smaller forehead rest.
This pack is perfect for those who need the lightest toddler backpack carrier available.
- For children who can support their heads up to 48lb
- Lighter weight than the original Deuter Kid Comfort (5lb 10oz compared to 7lb 8 oz)
- Hollow padding allows for air ventilation and cooling for the parent
- Molded ergonomic padding provides comfort on pressure points like shoulders, back, and hips
- The frame is built to be tip-resistant so you can easily load the child
- Seat is height adjustable to grow with the child
- Folds for traveling
- Adjustable foot rests so children can stretch their legs
- Detachable rain hood is available separately
16. Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL
- All of the features of the Deuter Kid Comfort Active, but built specifically for women to provide a more custom and comfortable fit.
- Perfect for moms on the go!
17. Deuter Kid Comfort Pro
The Deuter Kid Comfort Pro child carrier is an upgraded Kid Comfort, focusing on extra convenience features for parents like a built-in rain and sun hood and a detachable day pack to keep your necessities easily accessible and ready to go with or without the whole pack.
This is the heaviest pack in the lineup at 8lb but has the most features of all of the Deuter Kid toddler carriers available.
- For children who can hold their heads up independently to 48lb
- Built-in sun and rain shade
- Detachable daypack that can go in the bottom compartment or attach to the chest strap
- VariSlide back allows you to adjust the back and torso height with one click
- Pull-forward belt adjustment and pull-up load adjustment straps let you redistribute the weight while wearing the pack
- Back has a wide mesh panel to allow for ventilation
- Seat height and width adjust as your toddler grows
- Wrap-around detachable forehead pillow is super comfortable for your little one to nap on the trails
Osprey Poco Toddler Backpack Carriers Comparison
The Osprey Poco line of carriers has some unique features like a foldable aluminum frame, a spot for a removable water bladder (purchased separately), a folding kickstand for a more sleek look, and high-contrast safety buckles that let you spot incorrect setups very easily 🚨.
My personal favorite (given that I am a little obsessive over child safety 🙃) is the bright orange safety buckles. Osprey uses orange safety buckles in all of the places that directly impact the safety of the child (like the harness and side panel closure). It’s easy to see if one of these buckles has been left undone.
18. Osprey Poco Child Carrier
- Weighs 8lb
- For children who can support their heads 16-48.5lb
- Built in SPF sunshade
- Hipbelt pockets
- Removeable and machine washable forehead rest for the child
- Adjustable and removable foot stirrups for the child
- Quick adjust torso and back length to fit lots of different sizes
- Can fit a 1.5 litre water reservoir (sold separately check price here)
- Lots of zippered pockets
- Mesh backpanel that will keep you cool, but is also tensioned to distribute weight evenly across the back and hips
- Adjustable seat for the child
- Mesh side panels to keep the child cool
- Side entry panel to easily load and unload the child
- Loops to hook toys, pacifiers, and small items for the child*
*This is honestly an awesome feature that none of the other brands have thought of. Who wants to be bending over with a giant toddler backpack on your back to grab a binky for the 100th time?
19. Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier
This will be the choice for you if you have to accommodate a wide variety of sizes for the carriers, and if you need a lot of additional storage.
All of the features of the Osprey Poco Child Carrier PLUS:
- Additional zippered hip pockets.
- A lower bottom pocket storage compartment
- Fit-on-the-fly hipbelt has an a waist extender built in, so you can fit a wider variety of body types.
20. Osprey Poco LT Child Carrier
This is a really cool little carrier… It’s definitely the best of both worlds when deciding between a soft structured carrier and a backpack carrier for the best baby carrier for your toddler.
It has all of the portability of a frameless carrier, with all of the structure and bells and whistles of a framed backpack carrier.
It also weighs in at only 5lb, which is pretty amazing for a framed carrier that can hold up to 48.5lb.
The only real downside to this one (versus the other Osprey Poco Carriers) is that there aren’t footrests for the child. If foot stirrups aren’t important for your little one, and you’re looking for a lightweight toddler carrier, this is a winner!
You might think they skimped on some of the features to make it more lightweight, but they included the maximum possible in my opinion.
- Weights only a little over 5 lb
- For children who can support their heads 16-48.5lb
- Built-in SPF sunshade
- Also compatible with the Osprey Poco Rain Shield available for the full-size carriers
- Folds flat with a harness protection sleeve that zips over the straps (perfect for traveling on an airplane)
- Compatible with a separate carrying case
- Lots of zippered pockets
- Hip pockets
- Adjustable seat height for the child
- Adjustable back and torso length for the carrier
- Can fit a water reservoir up to 3 litres
Kelty Journey Child Backpack Carriers Comparison
Kelty is all about the storage! If you need large zippered compartments for your adventure, Kelty has you covered.
They even have a “dirty compartment” that easily wipes clean to store muddy shoes and clothes after a long day on the trails, or sandy and wet bathing suits after a day on the beach.
They also have a PerfitFIT Suspension System that allows you to adjust the torso and back length of the pack while wearing it! So you can easily switch between carriers without having to fiddle with clips and buckles.
There are three Kelty Journey Child Carriers available: The Kely Journey PerfectFIT Child Carrier, the Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Signature Child Carrier, and the Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Elite Child carrier.
They all share a lot of the same features, but with a few added perks in the Signature and Elite models.
21. Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Child Carrier
- For children who can support their heads 16-48.5lb
- Weighs only 6lb 6oz
- PerfectFit Suspension System allows you to adjust the length of the torso while wearing it for the perfect fit.
- Folding alumium frame
- Removable and machine washable drool pad for the child
- Lots of padding in the child cockpit
- Adjustable height of the child seat
- Adjustable foot stirrups for the child
- A large zippered backpack plus a dirty pocket and hip belt pockets
- Available sunshade attachment
22. Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Child Carrier
All of the features of the PerfectFIT Child Carrier plus:
- Built-in sunshade (and it still only weight 6lb 6oz!)
- 2 additional zippered pockets
- A larger detachable drool pad/forehead rest for the child
23. Kelty Journey PerfectiFIT Elite Child Carrier
All of the features of the Kelt Journey PerfectFIT Signature plus:
- A water reservoir sleeve
- A total of 7 zippered pockets (still only 7lb 4oz!)
When looking for the best baby carrier for a toddler, comfort for the parent and child is the most important thing! Make sure to find a carrier that fits your body type as well as your child’s. No matter what type of carrier you choose: a soft structured carrier, a backpack carrier, a shoulder carrier, or something else, pick a carrier that matches your lifestyle! Whether it’s a carrier that can fit in your diaper bag or a carrier that can replace your diaper bag. This list of the top 23 best baby carriers for a toddler has all of your bases covered.