If you’re wanting to use a sling or carrier with your older child then there are many options available to you. But what is the ‘best’ sling for a toddler or preschooler? Well, the best sling is the one which is safe and the one which is comfortable for your child and for you – and that can be different for everyone!
There are still plenty of reasons why you might want to carry an older child, and many people carry into toddlerhood and beyond!
For this blog I’m covering slings for children who are the size of an average 2 year old and above.
Slings for 2-4 year olds
If you like using a woven wrap you can continue to do so! As your child gets older you might want to change what carry you use, such as moving to a multi layer carry with a longer wrap. You also might want to change your wrap if you’re not comfortable, to something thicker or with a denser weave or with a different blend – although sometimes you can’t go wrong with a great all cotton wrap!
Ring Slings can be useful for children who want to get up and down a lot, as they are quick to put on and adjust! With older children you might want a thicker or denser ring sling, or a different blend if you’re no longer comfortable. You might also want your child more on your hip or even on your back!
Meh Dais and Half Buckles
If you want something with more structure than a wrap but less structure than a buckle carrier, then a meh dai could be a great option. Many companies make toddler size meh dais which suit children in this age group.
Onbuhimo are quick and easy carriers to use for older children as they can step in and be lifted onto your back very easily. With no waistband they are also very lightweight carriers, and easy to use if you’re pregnant as well. Within this group you will find loop or ring onbuhimo with long tie straps, or buckle onbuhimo with buckles or adjusters on webbing. Many companies make specifically toddler sized onbuhimos for children in this age group.
There is a huge range of toddler size buckle carriers out there which will generally fit from around age 2 to around age 3 or 4. What you like will depend on body shape and size as well as personal preferences and your child’s shape and size so it might take a little while to find the right option.
At the lightweight and less structured end of the spectrum you have Integra Size 2, Toddler Sleepy Nico, Toddler Wompat, Toddler Neko Switch, Lenny Lamb Toddler Carrier, Pouchlings Toddler Size
More structured options include the Beco Toddler, Toddler Tula, JPMBB PhysioCarrier, Lillebaby CarryOn, Toddler Kinderpack, Toddler Rose and Rebellion, Easy Feel Extend Plus
There are also some adjustable carriers suitable from younger than this age group which will also last to at least age 3. These include the Lenny Lamb Up or Upgrade, Isara Toddler, Izmi Toddler, Toddler Emeibaby, Limas Flex, Mamaruga Zensling, Mamaruga Zebulo
Slings for 4 year olds and beyond
Woven Wraps, Ring Slings, Meh Dai and Onbuhimo
All of the advice above applies for preschoolers and older children for these types of carrier. You might find that toddler size Meh Dai and Onbuhimo are getting small, and many places don’t do preschool size options to buy off the shelf. There are places who will make you one to your size specification however, we recommend Pouchlings and Melliapis.
By age 4 some children are growing out of toddler size carriers, though you may find that some of the larger carriers still fit well. There are brands who make preschool size carriers which fit larger children.
At the less structured end you have the Integra Size 3, Preschool Wompat, Toddler Neko Switch.
For more structured carriers the Toddler Tula, Beco Toddler, Toddler Emeibaby, Preschool Rose and Rebellion, Preschool Kinderpack, Easy Feel Extend Plus and Easy Feel Preschool
Some of these carriers will carry children comfortably to age 5, 6, 7 or even older!