How long can my toddler ride in a sling or backpack?
Toting your tot has many benefits, and may be something you and Baby have done since he was brand new. Wearing your toddler means easier navigation through crowded areas than with a stroller, and offers the added benefit of leaving your hands free – pretty nice when you feel like you always have your hands full!
As with most baby contraptions, the type of carrier you use to carry Baby will need to change as he grows. Here’s a rundown on which carriers are still safe, and which should be retired by Baby’s age.
- Slings: These carriers are great for smaller babies, and offer the flexibility of varied positions, while still keeping your little one close. Though slings are a great choice for wearing young children around the house, or for minimal travel, slings tend to max out around 20 pounds. After that, Baby will start to feel confined and cramped, which means it’ll probably be time to try something new.
- Front carriers: These snug-fitting carriers offer both shoulder and waist or hip straps, and are a secure choice for infants and toddlers. In a front carrier, Baby can face inward or outward, and you can adjust the straps to distribute the weight in a comfortable way. While most carriers hold little ones up to 30 pounds, as Baby grows, you may find you’re becoming a bit less comfortable hauling around that extra weight. If your front carrier becomes a challenge, or painful, it may be time to consider a backpack.
- Baby backpack: Backpacks make great carriers for toddlers, offering the security of babywearing, with the benefit of extra comfort. Choose a lightweight model to avoid carrying extra weight, with an adjustable seat and harness for Baby. For heavier toddlers, you can also seek out a model with a waist belt, allowing his weight to transfer from your shoulders to your hips. Backpack bonus? Many models come with pockets for storing the essentials!
Baby is growing, but that doesn’t mean your babywearing days have to come to an end – just be sure he is secure in the carrier, and fits the size limits outlined by the manufacturer. When babywearing, remember the following safety tips:
- Never cook with your child in a carrier.
- Avoid climbing ladders and onto stools.
- Avoid risky activities like bike riding or skating.
- Do not reach for items overhead, as they can fall and hit your child.