Best Baby Carriers | ERGO Baby Carrier | Weight Limit

Is There a Doctor in the House? Should You Carry a 40 Pound Kid In a Baby Carrier?

Mom Jeanine
April 5, 2011


Baby Carriers, Baby Gear, Good Question, hot topic, Jeanine Edwards

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A few weeks back, my coworker came into the office astounded by something she’d seen on the street: a big kid in a baby carrier. I laughed it off because I too have seen kids in baby carriers who clearly should be walking. But hey, I’m not the one carrying the kid, so who cares, right?

Except as I was recently researching the best baby carriers for a friend, I was suddenly astounded by the weight limit on some of these baby carriers. The ERGO Baby Carrier, which is arguably one of the best baby carriers on the market, has a weight limit of 40 pounds. 40 pounds!!

Now let’s be honest: who the heck is carrying around a 40 pound kid in a baby carrier? There’s a reason it’s called a baby carrier–because it’s for babies! The thought of it just makes my back sore. Walking around with that much weight on your back for any extended period of time has to be bad for you, no?

Doctors and doctor moms alike, help me out here: should we be carrying around 40 pound kids? When did you stop carrying your child in a baby carrier? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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  • KS
    April 5, 2011

  • Seriously, posts like this and other previous judgmental posts are making me cancel my subscription to this blog. No one should be judging anothers parenting style. You have no idea the circumstances involved in a child of any age being carried. Maybe the child is ill, injured or has other issues! I was sneered at for carrying my 18 month old daughter who weighed less than 20 pounds at the time. A woman told me my child was too big to be carried! I should add that we had just finished a difficult appointment with lots of blood taking etc at a GI dr just minutes before and my child was simply tuckerd out AND being far from home by subway (NYC) I didnt have a stroller handy. Which brings up another point-I don’t use a STROLLER because they make ME crazy. I don’t frown upon other mommies pushing their 5-6 year olds in a stroller simply because I wouldn’t. Jeez, get off your high horse. You have zero right to judge these people. Maybe you should say something personally to the next person you see carrying around a child you deem too big to carry-even if the child is 8!! I gaurantee you won’t win a new friend and you might just leave without a head. I can also gaurantee that as you walk away embarrassed you will hear the parent telling their too heavy to carry child why it’s wrong to judge others the way you’ve just judged them!

  • Katherine
    April 5, 2011

  • Yeah, a child who weighs 40 lbs is quite a load to carry, but I’d rather have a tired kiddo on my back in an Ergo than dragging a tantruming kid because he is “big enough to walk.” I haven’t worn my older son in a carrier since he was about 2 1/2 (about 30 lbs), but I stopped when he indicated that he preferred to walk. However, walking with him can be a slow, rather tortured process, and I’d rather strap him on my back and haul @$$ in an airport than mosy and miss a flight.

    Also, I have known a one year old who already weighed 35 lbs (he had very tall, muscular parents and was exclusively breastfed, so don’t think they were stuffing him with poptarts or something), and he was certainly still a baby who needed to be carried.

    I avoided using a stroller when I had only one child, and now that I have two, I still prefer to use an Ergo or a wrap with the 27 lb. toddler and walk with the older child if we are in a crowded place and not on a tight schedule. With obesity rates soaring, why would a child who can walk be carted around everywhere in a stroller, right? But they too have a place; I understand why parents use them, and I wouldn’t denigrate somebody else’s parenting choices because they are not my own. Maybe the kid has asthma, maybe they already walked three miles and are tuckered out, maybe the mom has a bad back…who am I to say?

  • JA
    April 5, 2011

  • I too am sick and tired of being judged, you have no idea of my circumstances and I have come home in tears because of ignorant and uncalled for comments. My daughter is almost 4 but has Cystic Fibrosis, I will still put her in a jogging stroller to take the dog for a walk, the cold weather can bring on a severe coughing fit and the heat and humidity has her little lungs working so hard that she is sobbing before we get halfway down the street. She is also on a high fat and high salt, I’m sure the holier than though’s can also preach about that too….we used a carrier up until 6 months ago as it was a great way to keep her close to us and away from touching potentially dirty (bacteria) things. What is harmless to us can at the very least put her in hospital on IV’s and the worst case scenario, kill her. Before you judge another, step out of your perfect life and consider that just maybe someone else is dealing with alot more than you could ever imagine and a CHILD carrier is a necessity and not because they just have what you deem a lazy child !!

  • Heather
    April 5, 2011

  • I am happy to see that others have already pointed out the ridiculous assumptions made about carrying older children. Do you have a child? Kids still want to be carried at 3 and 4. Ergo carriers make that possible. It is far more comfortable than carrying a child in your arms or a piggy back ride (while the child squeezes your neck). A carrier is an alternative to a stroller. Do you feel the same way about a 35lb child in a stroller?

  • Catherine
    April 5, 2011

  • Ok, I am sure you can all come up with out of the ordinary examples of a nearly 40 lb kid that needs to be carried but on the whole….that kid should be walking. For the parents sake, for the child’s independence and development and for the exercise!

  • cassie
    April 5, 2011

  • i think they make weight limits at 40lbs because some kids are big for their age. i have small kids but my friend has BIG kids..i mean when he was 2 years old he looked 4. so he was big but still a i can see how he would be carried..

  • CountryMama
    April 5, 2011

  • My son is 28 lbs and 2 years old and I keep my ergo in my car in case I end up somewhere where I need both my hands and he wants to be held/carried/ or nap. I doubt anyone would judge a parent carrying a 4 year old sleepy/upset child so why would you scoff at the same parent throwing them into a carrier if they are within the weight limits of the carrier? It’s better for the parents backs and let’s them be hands free. It’s not like parents use carriers to the detrement to their childrens developement. My son has been walking since he was 10 months. He is VERY independent and loves to walk on his own but sometimes he wants to be held/carried and a carrier allows a comfy back carry for this small mama. Kudos for those mamas that use carriers, i’m sure they are saving thousands in lack of chiropractic bills!

  • Sandra
    April 5, 2011

  • Yes, I agree with KS and Katherine and others who have pointed out that it’s judgmental to say you shouldn’t be carrying around a child who is a certain weight, can walk on his/her own, etc. I love carrying my 17-month-old daughter in a baby carrier because I am petite and she is not, and it hurts my back to carry her (on my hip, in my arms, etc.) without the support of my ergo or boba. I do love to see her walk and she enjoys it (it’s so cute!) but sometimes I need to get things done within a certain time frame — grocery shopping, running errands — and I don’t have the luxury of waiting for her as she walks, stumbles, goes in different directions. I also take public transportation so it would be a pain to use a stroller. I may not be using the baby carrier in a year or two but hey, for now, it works for me and I will keep doing it until it doesn’t make sense for me to do so anymore. So yes, people have their reasons for doing things, and they shouldn’t really have to explain (as I have done here), as it is really no one else’s business why someone is carrying his/her little one in a baby carrier.

  • MrsQriist
    April 5, 2011

  • I have a 26lb 1 year old who has been above 80th percentile for height and weight since he was born, and if he reaches 40lbs before he’s ready to stop being held, you can bet he’ll still be on my back. How else am I supposed to get a toddler and a load of groceries up 2 flights of stairs?

    On a side note, anyone interested in the carrier in the picture here with the big kid in it (the one with stirrups for long legs), it’s a Boba. Also, please beware of the market slings posted as they are the (infamous) bag sling type and, like all carriers, should be used with extreme caution and knowledge of proper baby positioning. Such info can be found on

  • MaineMumma
    April 5, 2011

  • I have boys that are almost 5 and 8 years old. We still bring an Ergo for the 5 YO when we hike or go on any extended adventure, and it’s a lifesaver. The 8 year old rode in it up until he was about 6 (not a weight issue, but legs too long!). My husband and I wore Bjorns and slings as long as possible.
    Independence?? They have plenty of time for that. I have 2 well-adjusted, social, smart boys, one who breastfed until 2.5 and one until his 4th birthday (OMG!!! judge that one!!!), and we always have co-slept.
    It’s all about being comfortable (and NOT threatened) by one’s own choices, not feeling they should be justified, and at the same time NOT judging what others do, no matter what you think about it.
    At the end of the day, I never regret holding my kids and/or spending time with them; on their terms. It’s what they (in my opinion) crave, and need to learn to be caring, connected people.

  • April
    April 5, 2011

  • Actually, someone once told me that the Ergo’s are advertised as having a max weight limit of 40 lbs, but they’re actually tested to 90 lbs. Why not! Carry the kid when they need to be carried! Did we not all ride on our parents backs and shoulders when we were little/big kids?

  • Rebecca
    April 6, 2011

  • Wow, thank you for alerting me that such a product existed! I had no idea that carriers went to 40 pounds. Would I use one to carry my healthy, able-bodied 35 pound kid? You betcha, now that I know they exist….

    Would I use it to carry him EXCLUSIVELY and “stunt his development” like some closed-minded people on here would suggest? Of course not. Duh. But there are times when you’re out and about and the kid is DONE. Just done. Or there are times when he just wants to go piggy back riding….I sure would rather have him strapped in there than just hangin on.

    I thought the condensending nature of the blog was very harsh and abrasive.

  • Hannah
    April 6, 2011

  • I, too, have a very strong opinion; if you don’t like what you’re reading, then just disagree. It’s a fashion blog. Don’t get so stirred up.

    @KS – you had an opportunity to make a very good and very valid point: there are some children who have needs that go beyond what some of us experience. You COULD have made that point in a clear fashion, and educated me and the rest of the readers here, but you chose to freak out, and to you I say: TL;DR.

    Most of us DO see children that we assume are fully capable of walking around, but are in strollers or carriers not because of any challenges on THEIR part, but because their parents are those overly-obsessive types. I totally get what Jeanine is saying here, and I understand that folks may have examples of her being wrong, but then educate the rest of us. Don’t throw a hissy fit and stomp out of the room.

  • Joy
    April 6, 2011

  • I am perfectly fine if other wear their children much longer. Maybe they were doing it for safety concerns. I wear my DD all the time. She is only 18mo, but I intend to wear her as long as possible. There are times that a stroller just doesn’t make sense (ie, small areas). And also there are times that I would much rather someone wear their child than take the chance of the child running off like any normal child would do.

  • Sheila
    April 6, 2011

  • I have no problem carrying my 26 lb who turns 3 next week on my back – and honestly, my husband and I have no problem carrying him on our front either. I personally only carry him in our Boba, DreamCarrier, or wrap when he’s too tired to walk. I guess I’m not super strong because it’s difficult for me to carry him in my arms for long periods of time like walking back to our car after spending some time at Disneyland. I typically take him alone, and I can’t imagine keeping track of a stroller and a child who likes to run, by myself. It’s just so easy to have a carrier around my waist or a wrap in my purse. To each his own – what may be easier for me may not be easier for you.

  • Sheila
    April 6, 2011

  • Oh, and I forgot to mention, if you have a good carrier that distributes the child’s weight properly, 40 lbs doesn’t feel too bad – I’ve carried the cousins. So, no crotch-riding carriers like in The Hangover. (Even though I think that movie is hilarious!)

  • Andrea
    April 10, 2011

  • Wow. These comments have really scared me! My almost 1 year old has a corrected age of 7 months due to extreme prematurity and also a cystic fibrosis diagnosis, so we’ve been pretty housebound (once he came home from the hospital at 5 months old) because of oxygen needs and a feeding tube. That, along with our special circumstances, have kind of shielded me from other mothers’ judgment I think. But I can’t believe that people are so contentious about how you get your own child around! It seems I can look forward to snarky looks or comments whether I use a carrier OR a stroller OR let my child walk… I honestly don’t think that much about what other people are doing and it is really weird that everyone else does. I think this post was meant to be a little bit light hearted, though maybe the author was a bit naive about the many parents who obviously do carry 40 lb children. But as someone else mentioned, this could just be a chance to educate and share experiences, not yell and freak out. Whew.

  • erica
    April 12, 2011

  • my son is only 25 lbs at 2 years, but i still carry him on my back. i can barely feel his weight thanks to my wonderful carrier. we’ll see how it goes once he hits 30.

    the kelty structured back carriers for hiking can accommodate children up to 50 lbs. do we need to ask a doctor whether or not this is ok, or should we assume that the manufacturers know what they’re doing?

  • Seasyn McDowell
    September 1, 2011

  • I carry both my kids nearly on a daily basis on my back in the Ergo. They are currently 3 year and 4 years (both are currently 36 pounds). They are 13 months apart and the ergo allows me to have one of my kids on my back and another in a shopping cart while I do shopping trips and such…It makes me feel safe knowing my kids are near me at all times in such busy places such as the super market…It also helps when one of them are cranky or tired…they have taken many a naps on my back in the Ergo…I often wear them at amusement parks as well…holding one childs hand and wearing another…it also allows the parent to have hands free, so it comes in handy during travel…The last thing I want is my toddler running around a busy airport while I am juggling the luggage… for me it is very helpful and really gives me piece of mind knowing where my child is at all times…knowing they are also comfortable and having a close connection through being held… I understand that baby wearing a toddler is not for everyone, but I recommend it to others, especially those who rule out baby wearing past the time their children can walk…it has been a total lifesaver for me!

  • kat
    May 14, 2012

  • it seems like it is situational- I personally think that if a child can walk, they should, but there are certain situations that it may be better to carry them. For example, somebody mentioned the airport, maybe you are late…or lets say you plan a hike up a mountain where you thought your 6 year old could make it…but got really tired. It seems that for certain situations it would be VERY convenient to have; HOWEVER, I do think many people use the carrying option with a ‘walkable’ child because they have not started discipline early and their kids don’t listen/run away/throw tantrums etc…. I have been there- it takes time and a butt ton of patience to have a ‘loose’ kid in the store, and if things go ‘wrong’ and they start misbehaving, it takes a lot to keep it together—it is SOOO much easier to be like “okay, im going to strap you to me and then we won’t have a problem” LOL..yes, i have been there. But yes, let’s not judge parents, lets have grace for them to learn and if we are going to suggest things, lets do it with the intention to make their life easier and happier, not to make ourselves feel like better parents than them :)))

  • ann
    June 13, 2012

  • My son was born 10lbs and 6oz. At his 9 month checkup he weighed 28lbs 6oz. I am ordering the ergo carrier now as he is going through a needy phase and I need a way to carry him without killing my arms and back. He is almost one years now, probably at least 30lbs. He’s in size 4t clothing. He is huge and beautiful and healthy! He is not chubby, he is off the charts but for his height and weight the doctor said he is at 50%, meaning he could weigh a lot more than what he does. That being said, of course there is a need for big carriers, and even if its a 4-5 year old kid, who cares?! That’s the parents decision to carry a child that old. I feel cheated in some ways as my son is so young and has already outgrown his swing, bouncy, and johnny jumper. Count your blessings. I doubt anyone is going to look back and say I wish I had held/carried my kid less.

  • Erin
    June 25, 2012

  • I carry my 5 year old daughter who weighs 42 lbs in my Ergo. She can’t hike for as long as I want to, so I take the Ergo and carry her when she gets tired. It is so much better than stopping every 5 minutes to deal with a cranky kid, and it gives me a workout. Soldiers carry way more than 40 lbs on their backs, and I’ve backpacked with a heavier pack than 40 lbs, so while it’s probably not the best thing for my back, it’s not going to kill me. The Ergo is designed to prevent back injuries, and it definitely does just that. (I sound like I work for them. I swear, I don’t!) I don’t have a problem with carrying my child when she needs a lift. I’d want someone to do the same with me if I were too tired to walk the distance my fellow hikers were going!

  • AW
    July 30, 2012

  • Guess what? I had two very big babies who grew up to be two very big and healthy toddlers. When I traveled overseas to visit family, yes, I did carry my 40 pound almost 2.5 year old on my back. You know why? Because I didn’t want to have to deal with a stroller and luggage. Instead I took my 3.5 year old by the hand, popped my younger kid on my back in the Ergo Sport and pulled my suitcase with the other. We all have reasons for doing the things we do and for you to sit here judging people like me who are just trying their hardest to make their lives simpler is just pathetic.

  • Georgia
    September 26, 2012

  • Stumbled on this post as Im looking for carrier for my daughter. She is a tall, 32lb. two and a half year old (almost 3!) and is growing out of the Ergo, length-wise. I carry her because she has leukemia and, due to her various chemotherapies, she needs to be carried frequently. Even if she were not sick, I would not bother taking the time to judge another parent’s decision – especially in something as benign and non-harmful as length of baby- wearing. There are a lot of reasons someone might wear their “older” baby/child – seems like something not worthy of passing judgement.

  • CH
    April 3, 2013

  • I resent your comments. My child is a 40 lb special needs child who has difficulty walking. The ONLY way for us to have an enjoyable, safe time doing family activities, such as hiking, is to put my daughter in a backpack. This may seem like a worthless item to you, but in our world it is a matter of keeping our daughter safe while doing things a “normal” family does. It’s a HUGE deal to us! Please learn to refrain from statements such as, “…who the heck is carrying around a 40 lb kid in a baby carrier…” until you walk a day in our shoes.

  • M
    April 27, 2013

  • We still carry my 40lb child…… who can’t walk yet due to his low muscle tone. My son LOOKS like any other child. Sometimes looks can be deceiving.

  • Theressa
    December 8, 2013

  • Regardless of parenting circumstances… I just have a big baby because she’s breastfed. She is about 27 lbs, 29 inches… and she’s just hit her seventh month. So a 40lb carrier would be ideal for someone like me. However, seeing a 3 yr old in an infant carrier seems kinda preposterous, doesn’t?

  • Tiffany
    June 19, 2014

  • My son is 19 months and 35lbs. He is not overweight, he is also very tall. We live in Korea right now (military) and not everywhere is stroller friendly ( so many stairs). I make him walk as much as he can, but it’s nice to have the ergo as a back up when he gets tired. He is starting to hurt my back though, so I think the ergo’s time is coming to a close. In my case, the 40 lb weight limit is probably a pretty accurate estimate:)