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Toddlers are certainly past the sweet cooing stage of an infant that relies completely on parental help for mobility from one place to another. However, they're still at a phase where getting a lift from Mom or Dad is much needed and wanted. Toddlers are the perfect candidates for a backpack carrier. They can get a nice view of the surroundings while enjoying a lift from a parent. And neck muscle control isn't a concern – a requirement for a youngster riding backpack style in a soft carrier.
To get the most mileage out of a toddler carrier, get one you can wear in multiple ways. When traveling, if you anticipate navigating a lot of stairs and crowded areas or simply prefer the use of a baby carrier, try some of these favorites.
For soft carriers, I really like the Ergo Baby ($90-$100). Some carriers will give you strain after half an hour of use. This one should keep you and your little one comfortable for quite a while. This cotton canvas carrier comes full of features like a zippered pocket, padded shoulder straps, and a hood for your little one. You can carry younger infants in front and older tots in the back. It's rugged enough for a hike outdoors and works equally well if you're zipping through the airport.
Another favorite is the Beco Baby Carrier, created by an active, outdoorsy mother who was determined to create a comfortable carrier for taking her son out and about with her. Although the Beco baby carrier is certainly suited for some local hiking, it doesn't look like a carrier styled for the outdoors. Fabric choices like crane patterns over a swath of blossoms or a funky dot print make these carriers much more chic. They're great for back carries, but you can use them as front carriers and hip carriers as well.