To Rein or Not to Rein

I used toddler reins on my eldest daughter, and thought nothing of it. My mum had used reins on my brother and I as we lived in London, and travelled on the underground a lot. Safety was important in such a big and busy place so reins were essential to my mum. Maybe because reins were such an integral part of my childhood I thought nothing of using them on my children, until I was looking for a new set for the baby and put the term “toddler reins” into google.

Instantly I was hit, not just with links to reins suppliers as  I was expecting, but with numerous links to arguments against the use of toddler reins. As I say, I had never even given the use of reins a second thought so I was interested in the arguments.

Many refer to reins as a “leash” or “lead” – implying that it is like a dog lead. Many disagree with their use as they feel that to harness your child to you is to take away their freedom.

Agreeably, it can at first feel weird to have your child on reins, but it does not make them like a dog in my opinion. With regards to the second point about removing their freedom, I must say that I wholeheartedly disagree. My baby is 16 months old. She has no concept of danger, either from things she can touch or things she can run in front of. At her age there is no way of teaching her road safety or not to run towards that big dog. I simply could not let her walk on her own. She refuses to hold my hand and wilfully runs in the other direction that I need her to go. For us therefore, reins are a way of maintaining some freedom for her, while I retain ultimate control. She can wander off where she likes, and I will follow, knowing that I can instantly stop her should I need to. Without them, she would be a wild child, and I would be a red-faced, stressed mother running after her – no fun for anyone. Or more likely, she would be truly restrained in her pushchair.

There are all sorts of reins you can purchase today, from the traditional leather ones to ‘rucksack’ style ones. I went for the traditional canvas type so I could put her in the car with them still on – perfect for the school run, but I’m sure most children would love the backpack ones as they come in all sorts of cute designs. That way the reins are fun, as well as practical.

So, reins have the thumbs up from me.  I don’t think that reins hamper toddler’s freedom. I think that for me they are essential for ensuring the safety of my child.



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