Toddler Size Carriers
“Do you make toddler size Mei Tais?” “Can you make this onbu in a wider body?”
I get asked these questions from time to time, and thought I’d write out a quick post explaining. The answer is “no,” but the explanation isn’t as simple.
First, I usually blame it on federal regulations. And that is the main reason. I *could* make toddler size carriers, but I’d have to have them lab tested separately, and lab tests are currently running about $1000 per item tested. Before the ASTM standard became mandatory, I did make toddler size carriers, but never made enough profit on them as a product line to in any way justify spending that kind of money. Yes, expensive regulations do tend to favor bigger businesses. We had to respond to the ASTM standard by cutting product lines.
But second, I don’t believe that most people really need a toddler size carrier. Most toddlers can be safely and comfortably worn in a regular size carrier. As long as a carrier supports a toddler’s thighs (so they’re not dangling from their crotch) and is high enough on their back to keep them from flipping out (about up to armpits), and they’re within the weight range of the carrier, it’s safe to wear a toddler in. The babywearing industry has largely created a nice market for itself in convincing parents that they need to upgrade to a series of ever-larger carriers, but for many (perhaps most) families, this isn’t really necessary. (And it makes me sad to know that some families choose to stop wearing their toddlers on the mistaken belief that they can’t wear their toddlers in standard size carriers, and they can’t afford a toddler-specific carrier.)
Certainly, you might want – or need – to upgrade to a toddler carrier. Absolutely, if your current carrier doesn’t support your child’s thighs, isn’t tall enough to keep them in, or doesn’t have a high enough weight range to be safe, you should NOT wear your toddler in it. Even if your big kid fits safely in your standard size carrier, if you wear him or her often, if wearing him or her is physically painful for either of you, or you just have extra money sitting around, you may just WANT to upgrade.
But if you’re investing in a new carrier for your older toddler or preschooler, chances are good (and experience certainly shows) that you’re going to lean towards choosing something with a much higher weight range and with lots of padding and buckles – and that’s probably a very good choice for carrying around a lot of weight for long periods of time. And if that’s what you want, you’ll need to look elsewhere anyway! There are some really great brands out there.