Every so often I get a parent of a 9-12 month old ask me about toddler carriers. And I get it ... today I stood in the shoe shop and practically begged the assistant measuring Tom's feet to let me have the size 9's instead of the 8.5's even though he said the 9's would really be too big and Tom wouldn't be able to walk as well in them. So yes, I really do understand why parents are asking me... of course they want the bigger size. So would I.
But why I hate the term "Toddler Carrier" is this term is really really misleading!!
- The term Toddler is pretty broad and has different meanings. I.e.the Oxford English dictionary defines it as "a young child who is just beginning to walk". Wikipedia gives it as "a child 12-36 months old" and GAP (the clothing store) says ages 1-5!
- The age children start to walk at is really variable - anytime between 9 months to 17 months is considered completely normal yet a 9 month old and a 17 month old are a very different size (as are a 12 month old vs a 36 month old as above).
- Calling the next size up a Toddler size gives the impression that the Standard size only fits babies... but that's not true. Most last well into toddlerhood as can be seen here. In fact many don't work that well with a newborn and work best from 4-5 months anyway.
- Some of these so called Toddler sizes are COMPLETELY huge - Whatever your definition of Toddler!!! For example I tried my son in a Beco Toddler when he was aged 2 years and 3 months and it was too big for him. He didn't grow into the Toddler Connecta until he was 2 years old and still fits pretty comfortably age 4.
It frustrates me because how is a parent supposed to know that the 'Toddler size' is massive and probably won't fit until 2ish at the earliest? I mean some kids have been toddling over a year by then! And still fitting at age 4... that child will be going to school imminently .. they are not a toddler!! Interestingly, while Tula, Connecta, Isara, Sleepy Nico and many others all call their carriers toddler sized, Lillebaby chose the name the Lillebaby Carry On. I've yet to try one so can't comment on the carrier, but I like the name so much better, it is FAR more descriptive... its the size for when you're little one has outgrown their standard size carrier but you've found you'd like to continue, you'd like to carry on carrying.