Baby carrying does not stop after your baby’s first birthday. She still would rather be near mom and dad than buckled into a stroller.
There are also times that carriers are a necessity, when you may be in a crowded area or on terrain that is not so stroller friendly.
But many baby carriers do not give the support you need to carry a tall, heavy one year old, despite many companies advertising that their carriers are capable of carrying a baby beyond one year.
Thankfully, there are some carriers that do support a growing baby while still remaining comfortable for both parent and baby.
What Makes a Carrier Great for a One Year Old?
You can afford to be a little less picky with a carrier for your toddler than you can be for your infant. Ergonomics are not as much of a concern, and you do not need to worry about support for the head and neck.
But there are still some things you want to consider when purchasing a carrier for your one year old.
You are going to want something that offers different carrying positions. Being an older baby, she will likely be more curious and interactive, so having the option to face out is good.
On the other hand, when it is time for a nap, facing in is a must.
From personal experience, I can also say that the ability to carry baby on your back is a necessity, as she will soon be too tall for you to see around when carrying on the front.
Carrying a heavy baby means you need additionally cushion and support in your carrier, particularly in the shoulder and lumbar area.
You want the carrier to take on the bulk of your baby’s weight so that you can remain upright and comfortable during long wears.
Ease of Use
You will not always have someone around to help, and while trying to buckle in a squirming child, you do not want more buckles -- especially in hard to reach places -- than necessary.
By the time your child is walking regularly, you will also be wanting something that is easy to take them out of and put back in, since she will likely want to stretch her legs often.
While some of the carriers we will see can also take your child into her second year of life, you are likely not going to be using it on a regular basis.
You do not want to end up paying more than you need to for something that will only be used occasionally.
Best Baby Carriers for One Year Old
Ergobaby carriers are designed with safety and comfort in mind, for both parent and baby. Out of the multiple baby carriers we looked at, this one is one of the best when it comes to supporting the size of a one year old.
This carrier can be used in a front carry, both facing in and facing out, and can be used on the back.
The additional cushion and support in the lumbar and shoulders takes the weight off of your shoulders and back, redistributing it to your waist where it should be.
Ergobaby keeps your little one’s safety in mind, as well, with the built-in sun shade hood and ergonomic seat.
The mesh material allows airflow in and out, keeping both you and your baby cool in warm weather. The baby hood is also protects your baby by blocking out the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Due to the positioning of the buckle on the back, it can be hard to fasten and adjust this carrier alone when using it in a front carry position.
Compared to other similar carriers, this one seems a bit on the higher price scale.
When it comes to baby carriers, the name BABYBJORN stands above them all.
his newer design, updated in 2015, has been improved with additional padding in the shoulders and a wider, more supportive waistband. It also comes in 24 different colors and features all carry positions, including front carry face out.
We like this carry because of how easy it is to use. It can be used from birth with the inner seat height being adjustable (supporting babies from 8-33 pounds), is easily convertible, and can even be put on by one person since there is no back clip to fasten.
this carrier is comparable to the Ergo 360, but with quick release straps on the BABYBJORN, this one is easier to get in and out of quickly.
in addition to the quick release straps, this carrier is also designed to be put on over your head due to it not having a back clip between the straps. This eliminates the hassle of needing another person to clip it for you and makes it easy to put it on alone.
This carrier is a bit on the bulky side, and shorter or more petite people may find that it does not fit them well.
You will definitely be paying for the name when buying this carrier, and depending on the color you choose, you could be shelling out a pretty penny to have this.
Boba is another name that is well known for their trustworthy baby carriers, particularly their versatile wraps.
This one, however, is a soft structured carrier, designed to carry babies from 7-45 pounds, with a removable infant insert and foot straps for older babies and toddlers.
This carrier is by far the best for going completely hands-free. It features a purse strap holder, which is unique to this carrier, and a pocket that is big enough to hold cash, credit card, driver’s license, and cell phone.
No need to fuss with keeping a purse on your shoulder, as this carrier features a purse strap holder on the shoulder. You can also travel light by using the pocket on the carrier to hold your cards, cash, and phone.
Includes a removable infant insert and foot straps for older children, and can be easily adjusted to fit the wearer and the baby.
This carrier is a bit limited by not offering a front facing position for more alert and curious babies.
With the design of this carrier, your baby may feel a bit cramped until she is tall enough to be able to put her arms over the carrier frame.
This is the baby carrier that I opted for (in addition to the Boba Wrap for the earlier months), simply choosing it due to its versatility and low price point.
We have included it in our list as the most affordable choice for a baby carrier that will take you through your baby’s first year.
The Infantino Flip Advanced features all carrying positions, and its seat width can be easily adjusted to fit your growing baby. It can support up to 32 pounds, and is machine washable. We just wish it was available in more colors.
There are very few buckles and straps that need to be changed to switch the carry position, and it is easy for multiple wearers to adjust this carrier to their size quickly.
The structure of this carrier allows it to be used right away without being too deep to carry an infant.
Whether you are a stocky, muscular man, or a petite, small-framed woman, this carrier is likely to fit you just fine.
Because no infant insert is needed for this carrier, the seat is very shallow, which makes front carrying after one year difficult due to your baby’s height.
There is very little cushion to this carrier, and after a year of use, it begins to wear thin and lose its structure, digging into your shoulders and making it uncomfortable to wear over long periods with a heavy baby.
Best for children who want to walk a lot, 8-35 lbs, 100% cotton with aluminum rings, lightweight (best for mobile baby)
Finally, we wanted to include sling in our list that is able to support the weight of a toddler. Slings are ideal for those babies who want to get down and walk a lot but who also like to be carried occasionally.
This ring sling by Hip Baby is available in 26 colors and can hold up to 35 pounds. It is made of 100% breathable cotton so you can be sure to stay cool even in those warm summer months.
Best of all, it is lightweight and easy to pack into a bag to have handy in can your toddler wants to be carried.
There is virtually no adjustment needed for this carrier. You can just throw it across your body and make some minor adjustments to the length, and you are good to go.
The cotton fabric is gentle on your baby’s and your skin, and the thick material is relatively comfortable when fanned across your shoulder.
There is no versatility with this carrier as it can only be used in a front hip carrying position.
With no structure or padding, this carrier will likely become uncomfortable if you are trying to wear it for a long period of time.
While all of the carriers we looked at are great for the parent of a one year old, our overall winner would have to be the Ergobaby 360.
It is comfortable for long periods of wearing, can be worn in all carry positions, and is relatively easy to use, especially when wearing on the back.
The only downside to this carrier is the cost, but if you decide to purchase the infant insert, this carrier is a good investment to take you through your baby’s early years.