11 Best Toddler Carriers: Go Hands-Free With Baby or Toddler!

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When you’re out and about with your toddler, it can feel like a roll of the dice when it comes to how you’re actually going to get them around.

Will they walk nicely and hold your hand? Will they refuse to go in the pushchair? Or will they want to do something else entirely?! ūü§™

One of our favourite ways to transport our child is actually in a toddler carrier. You might have heard these referred to as baby carriers, or even baby backpacks. Whatever you call them, they can be very useful indeed!

A toddler carrier is a sling-like contraption that you strap to your body and allows you to carry your toddler completely hands free — an ideal situation if you’re on a day trip, or if you have other children that you need to look after too.

Many kids love carriers, regardless of their age — it allows them to be close to mum or dad and it gives them a great view.

We’ve rounded up our top picks for the best toddler carriers and baby carriers on the market right now, as well as a quick rundown of what we look for in a suitable infant carrier.

12/02/2023 01:29 pm GMT

What Are The Best Toddler Carriers?

Ergobaby Omni Breeze Baby Carrier

Best Ergobaby carrier
Weight Suitability3.2 – 20.4 kg
Weight0.7 kg
Carrying Positions4 – Front facing in; front facing out; hip carrying; and back carry

Ergobaby is the first name most parents think of when it comes to infant carriers and the Omni Breeze is definitely their best toddler carrier yet.

It looks similar to the Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh, but is less bulky and a lot more streamlined.

As you might guess from the ‘Breeze’ in its name, this carrier is all about airflow and ventilation. You and your toddler will stay cool and dry no matter the temperature or your activity level. There are lots of carry positions available, it’s machine washable and it’s just generally very comfortable to wear. It’s also capable of carrying up to 20kg! Yes, it’s expensive — but worth it if your budget allows.

This particular carrier also provides a lovely snug fit for a small newborn baby, which is one of the criticisms we had from the previous Ergobaby carriers.

What We Love About It:

  • The Ergobaby carrier is one of the best in class
  • Superb airflow and ventilation to keep both you and your child comfortable and cool
  • Suitable for newborns (7 lbs +) up to older toddlers
  • Can be used in any carry position
  • Machine washable
  • Fits a wide variety of sizes (XS to XXL)
  • Good back and shoulder straps support — ergonomic and very comfortable
  • Side pockets allow lots of storage
  • Hood gives privacy and weather protection for baby
  • Easy to breastfeed with it on
  • All in all, a fantastic all-rounder baby carrier that will suit both the child and mum or dad!

What Could Be Improved:

  • Takes a bit of getting used to when it comes to putting it on – all the straps feel a bit fiddly
  • Expensive
Top Rated Baby Carrier
Ergobaby Omni Breeze Carrier for Newborns, from Birth to 20.4 kg
£184.90 £155.30

The popular Ergobaby Carrier has 4 carry positions: front-inward, hip, back, and front outward-facing carry position.

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12/02/2023 01:29 pm GMT

Izmi Toddler Carrier

Imzi infant carrier
Weight Suitability8 – 27 kg
Weight0.5 kg
Carrying Positions3 – Front facing in; front facing out; and back carry

The Izmi Toddler Carrier is much cheaper than more recognisable names like Ergobaby and BabyBjörn, but still offers the comfort, support and safety that we all prioritise.

It’s very lightweight and soft to the touch, but our favourite thing about it is its maximum weight capacity — 27kg! It’s comfortable and supportive without loads of straps to fiddle with, and can be used on bodies of different sizes. It has a weight minimum of 8kg so this isn’t suitable for younger babies or tiny newborns.

What We Love About It:

  • Fantastic low price
  • Soft and lightweight feel
  • Excellent padded waist belt / band
  • Comfortable with good back support
  • Can accommodate toddlers all the way up to 27 kg
  • Easy to use and set up
  • Machine washable
  • Fits an array of sizes from petite to plus size
  • Designed in the UK

What Could Be Improved:

  • Not suitable for a newborn baby
  • Only available in two colours
Excellent Value Toddler Carrier
Izmi Toddler Carrier | Award Winning Adjustable Soft Structured Sling

Simple Ergonomic Baby Carrier Design: Easy to put on, the supportive, wrap-like design distributes your baby’s weight and the padded waistband offers increased lumbar support

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Bushbaby Premier Back Carrier

Bushbaby best backpack carrier
Weight Suitability6 months – 20 kg
Weight2.5 kg
Carrying PositionsMultiple back carry positions

The Bushbaby Premier is a quality carrier option for active families who want to take their toddlers on longer walks and hikes.

When we talk about baby backpacks, this type of design is generally what we’re referring to!

The child is carried on your back and the entire structure is very comfortable to wear and supportive — an essential when walking longer distances. It packs down flat, is easy to put on and not difficult to get your toddler in and out of.

There’s also plenty of storage space for snacks, which is likely to come in very useful! It is on the expensive side when it’s not on sale and does have a smaller weight range than some of the others on this list.

What We Love About It:

  • Lots of pockets and space for storage
  • Comfortable to carry thanks to smart weight distribution
  • Fully adjustable for people of different heights – 5′ to 6′ 4″
  • Easy to get your toddler in and out
  • UV protective sun canopy
  • Viewing mirror included
  • Footloops to increase comfort for taller children
  • Packs down flat
  • Machine washable
  • One of the best backpack carrier options

What Could Be Improved:

  • Not suitable for newborns and only suitable for up to 20kg so less longevity than expected for the price
Excellent Backpack Child Carrier
Bushbaby Premier Child Carrier Hiking Backpack

Bush-Baby specialises in designing front (baby carriers) and back carriers (baby backpacks), accessories and toddlers outdoor clothing to make your life easier.

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MiniMeis G4 Shoulder Carrier

Minimeis baby carrier
Weight Suitability6 months – 22kg
Weight1.5 kg
Carry PositionsShoulder carry

The MiniMeis is a really innovative shoulder carrier that’s super comfortable and supportive to wear — a great pick for older and heavier toddlers. They’ll love riding on your shoulders as well!

It’s another toddler carrier that’s best suited to active families who want to use it for walks and hikes. It packs down flat and is very lightweight despite its sturdy construction so a good option for camping. We would suggest testing it out a few times before using it on a long walk as shoulder carrying can take a little getting used to.

What We Love About It:

  • Surprisingly lightweight and compact given size and stability
  • Very comfortable for child and you thanks to the weight distribution system
  • Folds like a laptop
  • Easy to set up and get your child in
  • Comes in 5 different colours
  • Free worldwide shipping
  • Brilliant for toddlers who like to see the world as they have a great view from your shoulders!

What Could Be Improved:

  • Takes a little getting used to if you’re not used to shoulder carrying
  • Perhaps better suited to larger builds vs petite
Best Infant Backpack Design
MiniMeis G4 Infant Carrier

The MiniMeis carrier gives your child a perfect view of the world, from the safety of your shoulders. Providing comfort and free hands for the both of you

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Phil & Ted’s Escape Carrier

Weight Suitability7.3 – 18 kg
Weight3 kg
Carry PositionsBack carry

Phil & Ted’s Escape Carrier is another product suited to active families who intend to use the carrier for long walks. Your toddler is held in a back carry position.

It’s very comfortable to wear and for your child to sit in, with plenty of ergonomic support for you both. One of our favourite things about it is the whopping 30 litres of storage space and its ability to fold flat — it’s great for long trips. It is on the expensive side and the weight limit is 18kg which is quite a bit lower than most other carriers on this list, but only really an issue if you plan to still be using it for much older kids.

What We Love About It:

  • Ergonomic and very comfortable for toddler and you
  • Excellent lumbar and shoulder support
  • Can be adjusted to all body types
  • Easy to load and take off
  • 5 point harness for extra safety and stability
  • Extra leg support for child
  • Seat height can grow with child
  • Has 30 litres of storage so ideal for hiking and long trips
  • Feels sturdy and durable
  • Folds down flat

What Could Be Improved:

  • Heavier than most of the carriers on this list and feels a little bulky
  • Expensive
  • Not suitable for newborns and maximum load is only 18 kg so not the best for longevity
phil&teds Escape Baby Carrier
£214.95

Supportive & adjustable - an articulating dual-core waist belt and advanced lumbar support distributes weight evenly, keeping both you and baby comfy on long hikes


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12/02/2023 02:44 pm GMT

Boba X Baby Carrier

Boba Baby Carrier sling
Weight Suitability3.2 – 20 kg
Weight1 kg
Carry Positions2 – Front facing in; and back facing in

The Boba X carrier feels like the perfect blend between a soft wrap and a more structured baby carrier. While you and your baby are well supported, it’s still soft and supple to wear.

It has a weight capacity of up to 20kg and is fully adjustable so it will grow with your baby from the newborn stages. It’s also easy to breastfeed in. There are a lot of straps to work with so bear in mind it can be quite fiddly to get your head around when you’re first using it. We did find it rubbed under the arm when wearing a sleeveless top too.

What We Love About It:

  • Stylish, lots of great designs and colours
  • Width and height of carrier is adjustable and can grow with your child
  • Soft and comfortable for both mum and baby
  • Contoured and padded shoulder straps can be worn rucksack style or crossed
  • Detachable hood included
  • One of the best baby carries to breastfeed in
  • Machine washable
  • Fits a wide variety of sizes from petite to plus
  • Padded leg openings and seat extenders
  • Suitable for newborns

What Could Be Improved:

  • Perhaps slightly fiddly with straps when you first start using it
  • Straps can rub under the arms if you’re wearing a sleeveless top
Boba Baby Carrier - Backpack or Front Pack Baby Sling
£89.99

Comes with a detachable integrated infant Insert. The infant insert has two configurations: Stage One for infants as small as 7 lbs. and Stage Two for babies starting at 10 lbs.

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12/02/2023 02:57 pm GMT

Mountain Buggy Juno Carrier

Weight Suitability3.5 – 20 kg
Weight0.8 kg
Carry Positions4 – Front facing in; front facing out; hip carry; and back carry

Mountain Buggy have got a great reputation for making quality pushchairs and we think they’re living up to that standard with this Juno Infant Carrier as well.

It distributes weight evenly across and down the body so is comfortable and supportive to wear. It feels very structured and sturdy so your child will always feel very secure. It also comes with a newborn insert so should last you a while from the newborn baby stage through toddlerhood!

Although it’s easy to adjust the straps, we did find it a little fiddly to take it on and off thanks to the various parts that need adjusting and securing.

What We Love About It:

  • Comfortable and supportive to wear thanks to even weight distribution
  • Protective hood
  • Front hands-through pocket to keep your hands warm!
  • Storage pockets
  • Infant insert included so it’s suitable for a newborn baby
  • Feels sturdy and long-lasting
  • Child feels very secure within the carrier
  • Easy to adjust the straps while child is in the carrier
  • Machine washable

What Could Be Improved:

  • A little fiddly to take on and off
  • Separate newborn insert means that it’s a little bulky to store
Mountain Buggy Juno Infant Carrier
£149.00 £69.95

Multi functional baby carrier that transitions seamlessly from newborn to toddler. Juno has been designed to deliver the very best ergonomics in all carrying modes.


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12/02/2023 03:38 am GMT

Tula Preschool Carrier

Tula preschool carrier
Weight Suitability11 – 27 kg
Weight0.9 kg
Carry Positions2 – Front facing in; and back carry

The Tula toddler carrier has got a really impressive weight limit of 27kg so this is definitely a carrier to consider for heavier and older toddlers and pre-schoolers.

It’s soft and supportive while being comfortable for both the adult and the child thanks to the breathable material. It’s easy to put on and take off, and easily adjustable too. It is somewhat expensive given that the weight range means it’s only suitable from 11kg to 27kg, but still cheaper than a lot of models on this list.

What We Love About It:

  • Big weight limit so suitable for older toddlers
  • Very sturdy preschool carrier
  • Comes in lots of different colours and designs
  • Comfortable for adult and child
  • Supportive thanks to even weight distribution
  • Easy to adjust straps
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Ergonomic in both positions
  • Made from a breathable material

What Could Be Improved:

  • The Tula toddler carrier is not suitable for newborns or young babies
  • Reasonably expensive given that it’s not suitable from birth
Best Preschool Carrier
Tula Toddler Carrier

Tula Preschool Carrier is incredibly supportive and handles a maximum weight of up to 27kg (60lbs). It's mainly used as a preschool carrier, or for older toddlers. Not for babies.


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Osprey Poco LT Carrier

Osprey toddler backpack
Weight Suitability7.25 – 18 kg
Weight2.3 kg
Carry PositionsBack carry

Osprey is really the best of the best when it comes to travel luggage and equipment, and this stylish toddler carrier is no exception.

The Poco LT feels more like one of Osprey’s backpacks than a child carrier, offering excellent ventilation, support and comfort that will allow you to carry your toddler for as long as your legs can carry you! As you might expect from such a prestigious brand, this carrier is very expensive and will only become even more so if you choose to buy any of their many added extras.

What We Love About It:

  • Lighter than the original Poco but with the same capabilities and features
  • Expertly designed for maximum support and comfort
  • Well ventilated and breathable material
  • Pull-out UPF 50+ sunshadee
  • Large storage compartments
  • Very sturdy and long-lasting feel
  • Quick and easy to set up

What Could Be Improved:

  • Very expensive
  • Lots of optional add-ons to buy which will hike the price up even further
  • Only has a weight capability of up to 18kg
Osprey Kids Poco LT Carrier
£235.91

Share everyday adventures with the Poco LT. Small and safe, this lightweight child carrier is ideal for tight stores, busy sidewalks and shorter hikes.

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12/02/2023 03:06 pm GMT

Je Porte Mon Bébé PhysioCarrier

Infant carrier by Je Porte Mon Bebe
Weight Suitability3.5 – 20 kg
Weight0.75 kg
Carry Positions3 – Front facing in; back facing in; and hip carry

The Je Porte Mon Bébé PhysioCarrier is a popular toddler carrier that really focuses on comfort for both you and your child.

It’s nicely ventilated so neither of you will be getting hot and sweaty in it, and the belt and straps are well padded and sit well on the body. We really like that there’s a mirror included that gives you a great rear view of your child if they’re in the back carry position. Be aware though that this carrier is quite bulky and long, which could be less comfortable for shorter parents.

What We Love About It:

  • Good price
  • Well ventilated material
  • Adaptable to all seasons for warmth and cooling accordingly
  • Breathable and transparent hood
  • Comfortable belt and straps
  • Supportive with good weight distribution
  • Includes a mirror for rear view of your child
  • Suitable from birth (if bought with newborn booster pack)

What Could Be Improved:

  • May feel a little bulky on more petite people
  • You will need to purchase the newborn booster pack if you intend to use it from birth
Je Porte Mon Bebe Physiocarrier Harness
£154.93

The infant can be placed forwards, backwards and to the hip. This is a toddler carrier that really focuses on the comfort of both you and baby.


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12/02/2023 04:07 am GMT

BabyBjörn Baby Carrier One Air

Babybjorn carrier
Weight Suitability3.5 – 15 kg
Weight0.95 kg
Carry Positions3 – Front facing in; front facing out; and back carry

BabyBj√∂rn is up there with Ergobaby for being one of the best known names in the carrier market — and the One Air is our favourite of their many models. You’d expect one of the very best baby carriers from BabyBj√∂rn, and the One Air delivers.

It is super comfortable and supportive to wear — we’ve worn it for long walks and hikes with no issues before. The material is soft and breathable for both you and your toddler and it’s easy to adjust the size to fit you both perfectly. The one big disappointment is that the weight limit is only 15kg — the lightest on this list.

So, given all the hype, can it be called the best toddler carrier?

Well, it’s not for older kids, but it’s a fantastic choice for babies and younger toddlers.

What We Love About It:

  • Very comfortable and supportive
  • Very breathable, soft and ventilated material
  • A variety of colours available
  • Machine washable at 40¬įC
  • Easy to adjust straps when child is in
  • Fits a variety of sizes

What Could Be Improved:

  • Expensive, especially given lower weight limit. You’re paying the BabyBj√∂rn premium.
  • You might find a lot of excess strap flapping around if you’re of a smaller build
Best BabyBjörn Carrier
BABYBJ√ĖRN Baby Carrier One Air
£188.90 £148.95

This ergonomic baby carrier is made in soft and airy 3d mesh, which makes babywearing significantly cooler for both you and your baby.

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12/02/2023 04:02 am GMT

What Makes A Good Baby Carrier?

Buying a toddler backpack carrier can feel a little overwhelming as there is a huge amount of choice on the market.

We tested a really wide variety of baby carriers before we picked out the top 11 contenders above, and judged them on a strict set of criteria:

  • Support and comfort
  • Breathability of material
  • Longevity and durability
  • Price

Other, smaller features — like being machine washable, and stylish — fed into our decisions too, but we knew that the 4 criteria above were by the far the most important.

best toddler carriers

Support and Comfort

When you’re carrying your child around, the number one immediate priority will be that it offers enough support and comfort for both you and your child.

The best toddler carriers will distribute the child’s weight evenly through your body. This will ensure that you can carry them for a significant period of time without ending up with a sore back or shoulders.

Look for carriers with a wide waist belt and well padded shoulder straps for maximum comfort for you.

Of course, you also want your toddler to be comfortable too — there’s nothing worse than a thrashing toddler who wants to get out of a baby carrier!

All good carriers will be designed to position your child in a way that promotes good hip health.

Other comfort points include features like a hood to protect from the weather and a soft material that doesn’t rub their skin.

Breathable Material

Leading on from the comfort point, another feature that is really important is the breathability of the carrier material.

That might seem a little picky but trust us when we say that those things can get hot very quickly when there’s a toddler strapped to your body!

A breathable and well ventilated material is beneficial to both you and your baby, as it should regulate your temperature regardless of the season and ensure that you don’t get hot and sticky.

This is often a feature in more expensive toddler carriers but we do think it gives those carriers a major advantage over ones without as it allows you to carry your little one for longer.

The best carriers for breathability are the Ergobaby Omni Breeze, the BabyBjörn One Air and the Osprey Poco Plus.

Longevity and Durability

As opposed to a baby sling, which most parents only use for a few months, a toddler carrier should see you through a good few years.

Of course, in order to make it through those years, it’s going to need to be sturdy and durable. After all, carrying 20+ kg on a regular basis is a big demand!

Alongside the durability of the carrier is its physical capabilities — how many kilograms can it safely carry? Think carefully about how many years you’re likely to use a carrier for and the size and weight of your toddler at the moment.

The highest weight capabilities on our list are the Tula and Izmi toddler carriers — both able to take up to a whopping 27 kg!

Price

Last but not least is the price of the carrier.

You may have been surprised to see that we haven’t chosen any of the cut-price, below ¬£50 options that you can find on places like Amazon.

That’s borne of experience. We know that cheap toddler carriers are a false economy.

If you’re buying cheap, there’s always going to be a compromise somewhere — and it’s usually going to result in a lack of comfort and support. If a carrier isn’t comfortable or supportive, neither you or your toddler are going to want to use it.

So what’s the point?

Just like buying a pushchair, buying a toddler carrier should be viewed as an investment.

Of course, there are still plenty of options and our favourites above range from £60 to over £300, with most falling into the £80-150 bracket.

Other Features to Consider in a Toddler Carrier

The 4 points above are definitely the most important considerations when it comes to buying a toddler carrier, but sometimes the smaller features can sway a decision between two carriers.

Other questions to consider include:

  • Is it machine washable?
  • How stylish does it look?
  • Does it include a hood?
  • Can I breastfeed my baby while wearing it?
  • How bulky is it and is it easy to store?
  • Can it be used for a newborn baby?
  • How many positions can it be used in?
  • Will it fit my body shape?
  • Does it have any added storage?

As you can see in our list above, there are many different toddler carrier designs available — from baby backpacks to comfortable structured slings. The best baby carrier for you is the one that ticks the most boxes for how you plan to use it.


What’s your recommendation for the best baby carrier?

Head over to our advice section for more tips on travelling with a baby or toddler!

AUTHOR PROFILE

Stephanie Osborn

Hi - I'm Steph! I'm a mum to a crazy toddler and there's nothing I love more than taking her out to explore both locally and further afield. Babies and toddlers benefit hugely from experiencing new places and it's great for families to spend this quality time together outside the home. I'm committed to finding the best days out, holidays and activities for families with toddlers, as well as providing you with the best tips, tricks, and product recommendations for making the most of your trips.
Stephanie Osborn

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