If you like the idea of your newly walking toddler roaming around and discovering life but are worried about their safety and protection, then you need to get yourself a pair of baby reins.
Some people are on the fence about baby reins, feeling like they have their child on a lead as they would their dog, but other mums swear by them - and the pros far outweigh the cons. A child harness can prevent many accidents from occurring.
In this article
What are baby reins?
Baby or toddler reins are a safety harness your child wears, with a strap that you can hold to make sure that they don't wander too far away from you. At toddler age they have zero awareness of danger, so baby reins can give them the freedom to explore but within a safe distance from you.
Are baby reins safe?
They're safer than holding your child's hand as there's less risk that they will snatch away from you, or that you will unwillingly hurt them when pulling them out of danger – for example if in a car park and you suddenly see a car coming.
They're designed to be comfortable for your child to wear when running or walking around, although there is a risk that they could rub your child if not fitted correctly, or if in direct contact with skin. Look out for red patches and if they do occur, a different type of baby rein could help – or just adjust the straps.
If you have one of those tots who seems to have discovered running before walking, then you'll know that far from being cruel and unfair to the child, baby reins are an essential item for keeping your baby safe.
What are the different types of baby reins?
Baby reins are usually worn around the child's chest or waist, but some types can also be worn as backpacks. They can be extremely helpful when you are travelling to an unfamiliar place or when you are in especially crowded areas such as shopping centres, fairs, or theme parks.
From practical and brightly coloured to stylish leopard print, there are plenty to choose from. These leopard-print reins caught our eye on Instagram (thanks to @thecullentwins):
What are the best baby and toddler reins?
Scroll down to see our choice of the best toddler reins you can buy in the UK:
A cute character backpack for young toddlers that includes detachable safety reins. Gives independence to your toddler but also ensures their safety whilst walking around.
Fully adjustable as your child grows, the Cuggl Harness can be used to keep a hold of your little one as they toddle on their own, or to secure them safely by the side of the pushchair as you push it along. Reins are detachable so you can quickly release your child at the park or playground, or if they get tangled.
These walking reins and harness stability and support to your little one as they get used to walking in the big wide world. With easily adjustable waist and shoulder straps and detachable walking reins, this harness can grow with your little one and their ever changing needs, from 6 months to 4 years.
A fun way to keep active little adventurers safe while you're out and about, this clever design will allow you to teach them to walk by helping with balance and confidence while keeping them safe and secure by your side.
A simple rein system, with brightly coloured straps that can be washed easily. You can use the anchor straps for pushchairs or just as a simple walking reins.
Tested by Sophie Knight, mum to Eli, aged two: "I wanted a simple pair of reins for nipping out to the shops now my little boy is happy walking around but I don't want him to go too far. This set fits the bill and is very no-frills. Eli likes the bright colours and is happy to wear them. The clip can be a bit stiff and fiddly when you're wrestling to get him back into the car quickly and safely, but on the whole I'm happy with these, and it's great that you can wash them. He has a rucksack with reins too, but these are great for short walks out and about. I like choosing Clippasafe as a brand for safety gear as I know I can rely on them."
Instead of just being reins, this is a rucksack for your little one with reins attached. Suitable for children aged from 12 to 36 months; it's adjustable at the shoulders and also the chest. The rein/strap is removable so it can be used later as a simple backpack. You can find it in 10 different designs.
Tested by Sophie Knight, mum to Eli, aged 2: "We have this bag in the rabbit design, which I love because when Eli's walking towards me, I can just see these little rabbit ears poking over his shoulders! I love this as it's a small enough rucksack for him to be happy to carry, and you can either stuff it full of wipes and nappies, or his packed lunch when we're off on adventures. The reins are an added bonus and gives me peace of mind (although it does look a bit like I'm walking the dog). It's not just useful but it gets lots of comments from people when we're out and about thanks to the fun design. Plus having a character makes Eli more eager to wear it."
This is a fuss-free harness that is super easy to use, as it comes with a cute range of animal designs that your child will want to wear. It can also grow with your kid, so you don't need to invest in a new one every few months. It fits from 6 to 48 months so this makes it a great investment.
If you want your little one to rock a bit of sass as they wobble down the street, check out these gorgeous leopard-print reins from Onk.
Contributing editor Sophie Knight said: "I personally am obsessed with leopard print in my own wardrobe, so these get a big tick from me!"
This is a different kind of baby rein, with a comfortable wristband for both child and parent. If you don't really like the idea of using traditional baby and toddler reins, this is can be a safe alternative. The Zooawa wrist link comes in an array of colours to choose from and have a wide range of motion for maximum flexibility and comfort.
These cute teddy bear reins can be used by children up to 4 years old. There's a quick release button on the reins so you can free your child fast if you need to, and you can also use it as a safety harness for a highchair or a stroller.
The Adventure Belt fits children aged 18 months and above. It is a double belt, one fits the child and one fits the parent and can be used in crowded places to prevent a child from getting lost. The design is British and follows all UK standard safety regulations. It is a discreet, neutral and comfortable alternative to traditional children's reins as it is entirely hands free.