You know we are a strong advocate of the belief that one should keep an active lifestyle even after having a baby, even more so, in fact, so that you can have the energy and stamina to keep up with your little one.
And one activity that we'd always recommend is hiking. Not only is it a considerably low intensity activity compare to many other sports, it is one that you can do it together with your child - if you have the right toddler carrier.
1. All You Need To Know About Toddler Carrier
A. What Is A Toddler Carrier
Similar to but not quite the same as baby carriers, a toddler carrier is much more heavy duty in that it is designated for bigger babies or toddlers, which is why some may also refer it as a plus size baby carrier. It is usually carry on the back instead of the front like some regular baby carriers do, hence it is also commonly known as backpack carrier because it functions similar to one, with extra compartments to allow you carry other necessities besides your child. Because of their ruggedness, many often regard this type as the best baby carrier for dad.
One thing with toddler carrier is that it usually does not have additional head and body support like regular baby carriers have, which is why you shouldn't put a newborn in. In fact, you should only use one when your child is able to fully support his/her head and sit unassisted for long periods of time. Toddler carriers do have straps and harnesses to keep your toddler safe though, as they will be wriggling and moving more often than younger babies.
B. Why Do You Need A Toddler Carrier
Let's face it, strollers, no matter what type, just won't cut it on outdoor trails. The wheels get stuck or break. How is your child ever to really experience nature sitting low to the ground on smooth paths?
Why a toddler hiking backpack carrier and not the usual front carriers then? Well, you need one because you need to see where your feet are going to land on rough terrain. Having an obstacle in your line of vision (cute and all as they are) is a recipe for disaster. With a toddler carrier as such, it makes manoeuvring difficult terrains easier and keeps you and your child safe as you hike along. And it allows your child to sit up high and see things they never would from a stroller.
C. When Not To Use A Toddler Carrier
While toddler carriers are perfect for hiking, camping and travelling, they are not suitable for activities like skiing, running and bicycling (this and this are good alternatives) - basically, activities where there is a higher risk of you falling on your back. Motorcycles are definitely a no-no. Hiking and the likes are a-okay because you'll be walking steadily and slower on grounds with a sure footing (we do not recommend if your trail is rocky and uneven).
D. Safety Features
1. Safety Harness / Straps
Although most toddler carriers would have safety harness incorporated, there are some that do not come with one. It is therefore imperative that this be the first feature you look for when choosing a toddler carrier because as mentioned above, toddlers are more mobile than newborns and babies. They tend to wiggle and move around more so it is important to strap them in to keep them safe.
2. CPSC Certification
A toddler hiking backpack carrier should also be CPSC certified, which is a regulation to prevent your child from being exposed to dangers like sharp edges and to make sure the toddler carrier has proper strapping system and does not collapse. Stay away from any that does not specify its certification.
3. Weight Limitation
Different brands and models will have different weight limitation but one thing we would like to stress is that you should always adhere to the weight limitation of your toddler carrier. Sometimes, just the numbers itself may not be an accurate indication. If you find that the straps/harness is too tight on your child even after adjustments, it is perhaps time to retire the toddler carrier. Vice versa, if the straps are too loose, you should look for another one because it is likely that this is not the best toddler backpack carrier for you.
Also, make sure to check if the weight limitation specified means your child's weigh only, or the combination of your child and everything else you carry on your carrier. As a general guideline, most toddler carriers have a weight limitation of 50 pounds as a whole.
2. Top 8 Best Toddler Carrier For Hiking
3. Before You Go ...
There are other activities that you can enjoy with your child apart from hiking and camping. One of that is biking but if you'd remember our advice in the beginning of this baby carrier reviews, you'll know that toddler carrier is not suitable for such activity. For that, there are two other options - bike carrier for toddler and bike trailer. If this is your preference, never ever forget this one very important accessory and with that, enjoy every bit of your outdoor adventure with your little one!