Best Slings for Toddlers

Best Slings for Toddlers

Choosing the right sling for you and your child is an important process, not least when carrying a toddler. Use our guide below to help you make an informed choice and find a wrap that you will both love.

Tsuru Granada wrap

While bigger babies and toddlers are keen to explore the world around them with their newfound mobility, they are still young and vulnerable, and need the closeness from being in a parent’s arms as much as they ever did.

Slings come in very handy when wee legs get tired or it is safer and more convenient to have them up with you. Using a sling instead of carrying in-arms with their increasing weight can help avoid back strain, with a well adjusted sling. You can pack a sling into your bag easily to have with you 'just in case', and this saves having to trail a buggy around with you.

As your child grows he may enjoy the vantage point of a hip carry or a back carry, and you may appreciate the change of position. However, there is no substitute for a front carry for sleepy or off-colour children.

Wrap or ring sling?

A woven wrap is wrapped around you and your child, binding you both closely together. The fabric is mouldable, ensuring a snug, smooth fit, and it can be tied in such a way to provide excellent support to your heavy child, and comfortable weight distribution widely across your body. Wraps are infinitely adjustable and can be tied in many different ways.

Many people will continue to use the same long wraps they used for their newborn, in the same carries, and also in different carries, such as the Robin’s Hip Carry with the tails tied around the waist for extra support, or a back carry like the Rucksack (or 'ruck') Carry tied with a Tibetan finish. Another popular option with a long wrap that has several layers of support across the wearer and the baby is the Double Hammock Carry. Multi-layer carries can feel more supportive and there are many variations, as wraps are extremely versatile.

Some people will use shorter wraps, to enable their child to get up and down from the sling quickly and often, (which is more common as children grow and become more independent). There are many ways to tie shorter wraps to still ensure security and comfort for child and wearer, on the front, hip (rebozo carries) or back carries. The shorter length can mean the carry feels cooler and may be quicker to tie, with shorter tails to deal with.

All these carries have different levels of complexity and everyone will have their own preference for what works best for each individual dyad. Some people will choose to change the fibre content of their wrap or ring sling as their child gets heavier, if they feel the need for more support, however, Oscha cotton is dense and supportive.

Ring slings are still an excellent choice for the bigger child. They allow good visibility and are quick to put on and take off again, most useful for children who want to walk but still get tired. The width of the fabric can be broadly spread across your shoulder and upper back for comfortable weight distribution.

Deciding on a fabric

Oscha Slings are sturdy and will not sag when tied well, even when broken in to be floppy soft.

For a “toddler-worthy” sling, a few qualities are especially valuable, such as sturdiness and supportiveness, as well as “cushiness” which means a feeling of softness on the shoulder despite the weight of the child. Fabrics that do not sag or slip from their positions are useful, so some level of grippiness is welcome, as long as it is not too hard to make the passes. It is usually easier to wrap heavier children in sturdier, thicker wraps than their newborn counterparts, as their increased weight and volume provides a counterbalance for the tension needed to make the wrap smooth.

Oscha’s sturdy, densely woven cotton is still toddler worthy, especially in the thicker combed cotton blends.

Adding extra fibres renowned for their supportiveness to make other blends can increase the supportiveness even further, while retaining some of the softness of cotton. The 50% linen, 50% hemp and 25% wild silk wraps are particularly popular blends.

Sonora Pothos wrap

Wool can be very toddlerworthy too; the mohair blends and the 46% lambswool have a great deal of cush on the shoulders, and the wool fibres have a natural elasticity which adds some bounce to the strength.

Triblend wraps can be very supportive, as can the 100% Irish linen (which has a good deal of grip and is rock solid).

Some people will enjoy multi-layer carries with the thinner, smoother wraps (bamboo or cashmere) which are very easy to wrap with to get a good snug fit. This is important with carrying bigger kids; taking care with good weight distribution and concentrating on pulling out any slack that can dig later on.

Some wraps (such as the super soft pima cottons or the lighter summer weight wraps) may be better in multilayer carries than single layer with heavy children.

You may also wish to consider the season which you are using your sling; short wraps, or lighter, cooler wraps in multilayer carries may be more pleasant in summer. Denser, heavier wraps in multilayer carries can be warm and snuggly in winter.

But most of all, choose something you love as that will be what you use!