Introduction: How to Wear Your Older Toddler/preschooler in a Toddler Tula or Other Soft Structured Carrier (SSC) or Buckle Carrier (front Carry)
A toddler tula is much larger than a standard or baby sized Tula. Other brands also offer an older child carrier and this tutorial is relevant to any soft structured carrier (SSC) with buckles.
Your child needs to be well fitting in at least a size 2 pants to fit this size carrier knee to knee.
This carrier is our go to for our three and a half year old when we go on bushwalks particularly.
Step 1: Fit the Carrier Around Your Waist and Buckle.
Place the waist strap around you (with the safety warning tag against you) and buckle.
Thread the clip through the elastic safety strap at the end of the waist band (this is protect you I the off chance your buckle comes undone or breaks, you will feel it if this was to happen well before the elastic stretches enough that your child may fall or slip). Then clip the buckle, giving it a tug afterwards to check it has closed properly.
Pull the strap to tighten the waist band, positioning the carrier body panel in the middle of yourself with the safety label facing your pelvis.
Step 2: Grab Your Child
Grab your child and pick them up in front of you. Lift their legs up around your waist, making sure they are higher than the waist band.
Step 3: Pull Up the Back Panel Over Their Back
Pull up each side of the body panel while you jiggle your child into the seat created by the waist band and bottom of the body panel. This is key to making this comfortable for both of you.
Step 4: Place Arms Through Shoulder Straps One at a Time
Holding your child's back with one hand, place the other through the shoulder strap and pull it on like you would a backpack.
Repeat with the other side.
Step 5: Do Up Shoulder Strap
Reaching behind your head, do the clip up between your shoulder straps.
Another easy alternative is to get someone else to do this clip up for you.
Step 6: Re-jiggle and Tighten
Again pull up the back panel and jiggle you child in. Once you have done so tighten or loosen you shoulder straps to make it comfortable to you both.
Arms out is ok but I try to convince my 3.5 year old to put his arms in when I'm getting him up and once we are fitted he can pull his arms out again as I know he has a deep seat.
Another way to ensure a deep seat is to gently push up on your child's feet to raise their knees and push their bum right down into the "M" position (this is not nessicary for safety at this age but just comfort).
Step 7: Done!
Front carries with a preschooler are great for cuddles and walks etc and are much easier on my back than holding him in my arms. Also when my son is sick or feeling off, putting in a front carry and going for a walk around the garden or up the road does wonders.
But if I was wanting to do something (like dishes or hanging out the washing) or was going on a bushwalk, I would prefer to back carry so I can see my feet and have space in front of me.