People have been using fabric creations to carry their babies on their bodies for centuries. In ancient times, babywearing was used as a means of survival, but today it's widely acknowledged as one of the most natural ways to promote bonding between parent and child.
Sure, you could cart your child around in a stroller, but this method has a ton of advantages.
With modern baby carriers’ improved features, babywearing has become a large market that provides carrier options for every budget and style.
Despite what the name might suggest, babywearing isn’t just for babies.
Many parents wear their children well into toddlerhood. One of the simplest and most affordable ways to wear your toddler is to use a ring sling.
With the busyness that comes with toddlerhood, finding the best ring sling for a toddler can be useful for many situations. For example, when you're shopping and little hands keep grabbing things off the shelves, a ring sling can be a quick fix to get you in and out of the store, disaster free.
A ring sling can be very comforting on sick days when your little one isn't feeling well and needs cuddles. Wearing your toddler in a sling can even be a safety precaution if you have a runner who tends to take off in parking lots.
While other carriers can be cumbersome and impractical, ring slings are a quick option for running errands and are easy to store in the car or diaper bag.
Like most baby carriers, ring slings can sometimes be a little tricky to master. Luckily, practice makes perfect and there are hundreds of videos online that demonstrate various carry positions.
When looking for the best ring sling for a toddler, you'll want one that will have enough fabric to create a deep seat and fit your toddler in a natural seated position.
You also want to find a sling that uses solid babywearing rings instead of welded craft rings, as they aren’t secure enough to support your child's weight.
The sling must be long enough to fit around you and your toddler and still have enough length leftover for extra “tails” to keep it from slipping through the rings.
The ideal ring sling will support your toddler’s bottom with the fabric reaching from the back of one knee to the back of the other knee. This ergonomic position will make the ring sling more comfortable for both toddler and parent.
Below, you’ll find reviews of some of our favorite toddler slings to help you find the best one for you. But before we get started, here's a little overview of the best slings on the market.
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Hip Baby Wrap Ring Sling
- Can be used to carry child tummy to tummy or on the hip
LILLEbaby Ring Sling
- For kids up to 33 lbs.
Lite-on-Shoulder Baby Sling
- Design allows for a deep pocket, to better carry your toddler
Mo+m Ring Sling Baby Carrier & Nursing Cover
- For kids up to 36 lbs.
Vlokup Baby Ring Sling
- Fits kids up to 40 lbs.
This ring sling is easily adjustable to fit babies as small as 8 pounds and toddlers as big as 35 pounds, allowing it to grow with your child from infancy to toddlerhood.
The wide fabric creates an ergonomic design that distributes the child's weight evenly across the parent's body, relieving the shoulder and neck from bearing all the weight. To avoid unnecessary shoulder strain, it's best to fan the fabric wide across the shoulder.
These fair-trade ring slings are handwoven in India with breathable cotton and eco-friendly, non-toxic dye, with the result that every ring sling is as beautiful as it is unique.
Since the ring sling is sent out in loom condition, the fabric may feel a little stiff until you wash it and break it in. It can be machine washed on cool and tumble dried on low, so it will be toddler ready in no time!
With its solid aluminum rings, quality woven fabric, and triple reinforced seams, this ring sling is an excellent option.
We just love that this ring sling is handwoven in India using fair trade practices. This unique sling is made with eco-friendly breathable cotton and non-toxic dyes to help keep your home toxic chemical-free and your environmental footprint small.
This ring sling’s wide band makes the perfect pouch for a deep seat that will comfortably hold your toddler in a natural seated position. What's more, it's lightweight and is made with breathable linen to help keep you and your baby from sweltering in warm summer months.
The removable zippered pouch can be used to carry your essentials, and it also provides an optional layer of padding between the rings and your shoulder, for optimal comfort.
While it's machine washable, it will retain its shape and achieve maximum softness by hang drying and ironing.
We also love how this ring sling rolls up neatly to fit in any diaper bag so that you can always have it when you need it, because you never know when that might be with an unpredictable toddler!
The zippered pouch makes this ring sling perfect for quick trips to the park. It allows you to pack a spare diaper, keys, cell phone, or even a favorite toy. The fact that the pouch also serves as optional shoulder padding for additional comfort is great when you're carrying a heavy child.
The lightly padded shoulder portion of this toddler sling distributes your growing child's weight evenly through your torso and prevents you from straining your neck. The padded railings and deep seat provide cushioned knee-to-knee support, so your little one will be comfortable even on long outings.
Made from cast copper zinc alloy, this sling's rings are stronger than standard aluminum rings and do not have welded points, which can often become weak.
This ring sling is made of lightweight cotton sateen and weighs just 10 oz, making it compact enough to be stored anywhere. Just toss it in the diaper bag or roll it up in your glove compartment so that you always have it with you!
The padded railings on this sling provide an additional layer of comfort for your toddler's legs. Anyone who has ever had an uncomfortable toddler knows how much of a blessing this feature is!
This soft cotton ring sling is comfortable and sturdy without being too thick. It allows you and your toddler to feel supported without getting overheated. Doubling as a breastfeeding cover, the sling includes a neck strap that allows you to fully cover yourself and your toddler during feeding time.
With a built-in storage pouch, you can carry your essentials in the sling during errands without having to juggle a cumbersome diaper bag into every store.
Like most woven slings, you can expect the fabric to be a little stiff directly out of package, but after a good wash it will be soft and supportive for your toddler.
This ring sling comes in a gender-neutral grey with a French inspired pattern that makes it as fashionable as it is functional.
Thanks to the included neck strap, this ring sling doubles as a breastfeeding cover to give you and your little one privacy to nurse anywhere.
This ring sling's manufacturer, Vlokup, is a business member of Baby Carrier Industry Alliance, so you can be assured that child safety is their biggest priority when designing carriers.
The padded upper and lower rails along with the wide fabric create as deep supportive seat that will hold your toddler in a natural ergonomic seated position.
With a weight limit of 40 pounds (the highest on our list), this ring sling is designed to grow with your child from a newborn all the way through toddlerhood.
The breathable cotton is sturdy enough to support your toddler yet light enough to keep you from sweltering in hot climates.
The padded shoulder is designed to keep you comfortable even during long walks or marathon shopping trips.
This BCIA-compliant ring sling has a weight limit up to 40 pounds, so it can support most toddlers. Your little one may be growing fast, but this ring sling will certainly grow with him!
Parenting a toddler can be hard. We get it. In our home, the 21-month-old is affectionately referred to as our “Tiny Toddler Terrorist”. While incredibly adorable, toddlers are well known for being busy little people.
All the day-to-day chaos that is parenthood can be made a little more manageable with the use of a ring sling. Toddler wearing can come in handy whether you're running errands, walking home from the park, or trying to console a sick child. For more carrier ideas, check out these suggestions for dads, and these for nursing.
The best ring sling for toddlers will be wide enough to create a deep ergonomic seat, have solid rings designed for baby carriers, and be long enough to secure around you and your toddler.
Having these features will not only make the carrier safer, it will also be more comfortable for you and your child. After you’ve found the right ring sling for you, all that’s left to do is to keep calm and carry on!
Featured image: Kristi Hayes-Devlin
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