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My daughter is not quite Three. When I tell people this they so “oooh she’s big/tall for her age isn’t she?” and she certainly is. Beth is also very wilful and a nightmare to keep track of if she’s not in her trolley. I did have a set of standard reins for her but they were too short and so she was constantly throwing screaming and shouting paddies because she didn’t have freedom to roam. So between a rock and a hard place I lost the aforementioned reins. It wasn’t so bad, she’s walk holding m hand at times and go in the trolley at others.
But now she is getting too big to be always sitting in her trolley so what do I do? Well I sigh and walk into Index to but another set of reins. Beth will not be impressed but what else can I do? When I looked on the relevant page I was struck by something called a “toddler runner.” this looks like a normal back pack but it clips around the waist as well as fitting over the shoulders and has a long “lead” attached to it for parental control. Bingo!
Beth loves her accessories, hats, scarves, bags and especially back packs. I was convinced she’d much more happily wear this bright multicoloured back pack and it looked to me like she/d have more freedom to roam as the lead (sorry to keep referring to it as that but it’s the best word I have to describe it!) seemed fairly long. The only thing holding me back was the price. £9.99 would be a lot to spend on something if it didn’t do the trick but then if she really didn’t like it I could always take it back.
So I take the small rectangular box home with me eager to try out this new contraption. My first reaction to it was “wow that’s bright!” the main back pack is turquoises blue, the front pouch bright orange along with the waist straps with the lead and the shoulder straps being bright yellow. There is 3 reflectors on the bag to, on the fronts of the well padded shoulder straps and one on the yellow flap to the bag on the back of the harness. Well Beth certainly isn’t going to be missed with this on!
Next we try it on for size. On the box it says it is suitable from babies first steps up to them being 4 years of age. This is a synch to put on. Simply lengthen the shoulder straps if need be then place these over the child’s head. Next fasten the waist straps with the click locks, again you can lengthen and shorten this as needed. Make sure that everything is tightened up till its all nice and snug, with the orange pouch on the front in the middle of the child’s chest and you’re done.
On fastening Beth in I could see there were a good couple of inches in this for growth so I do think it will last her up until she is four. Also it could go a lot smaller so I can imagine it fitting her when she was around 12 months (when she started to walk.)
Now the 2 foot long strap that you attach to the back pack is about an inch wide and very thin. It has an enforced handle which is stiff and made of a plasticky material. It is a good size for putting around your wrist and is well attached to the strap. At the other end is a little black plastic clip which attached to one of two elastic hoops at the top of the back of the back pack. These are incredibly well sewn down and you have two there, in case one snaps.
Having the long “lead” detachable means you can use the strong handle on the back of the harness when you are helping your little one walk or later on help them ride a bike or use roller skates. Also you can use the handle to pull your child close or help to guide their direction.
The little back pack isn’t capable of carrying a lot. Beth and I have used it to carry a small toy, some leaves from the park, a small book and some sweeties (not altogether though) but it is not big enough to put any more in it. In that back bag is also a little white label where you can write your name and phone number. Just in case your little one gets lost. Personally I’d just put “ring my mummy on” in that first “name” line as unfortunately you have to be careful with such information in this day and age. However if you’ll be taking your little one to nursery you may need to put your child’s name in it in case it gets lost.
At the front is a little zip up pouch, perfect for putting a few pennies in.
So it looks good, it’s comfortable on (in fact Beth doesn’t like taking it off sometimes) but does it do the trick as a set of reins?
Well off Beth and I toddled to try it out and I must warn you are first experience wasn’t that brilliant. However, this was because she was learning to judge how much scope she had to run and play in. she would try and go to far at first, occasionally causing the strap to ping back pulling her to the floor. She was never really hurt but this was very frustrating.
I am never one to give up on something after the first try so the next day we tried it again and we’d cracked it! Beth knew how far she could go and we managed to walk successfully with Beth only falling on her bottom a couple of times.
We’ve had this harness for about 3 months now and it has been a God Send. We use it all the time and it is still in as good condition as when we got it. The entire thing is surface washable. The only problem is Beth enjoys spinning. If she tries to do this whilst I am holding onto the back pack lead the strap can go across her throat but this is easily un-hooked. It is just something to be vigilant about, especially with very little ones.
What I find great too is that if we go to the park, all I have to do is unhook the strap from the back pack and she can run off to play without me needing to undo the whole thing. Wherever you usually have two tricky clips to undo to take of the strap on a standard set of reigns or you end up taking off the whole thing.
So overall I think this little contraption is excellent and definitely an improvement on your typical child reins. The only negative is how the strap can get caught around a child’s neck, but this can be avoided by adult supervision.
I bought mine from Index for £9.99 and I think that this was a bargain considering the wear Beth has already got out of this item and how much more wear I anticipate she will get too.
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