Its easy to look at a toddler walking harness and shrug and think “I would never use one”! Times have changed and so, thankfully, have walking harnesses. When we started our business, we found baby and toddler walking harnesses were one of the first products people were asking for. For that reason, we have grown to now have one of the widest variety of child walking harnesses you will find on the Australian market.
Why do travellers use a child walking harness?
Quite simply, a walking harness could be considered when;
- parents are wary of taking their child into an unknown situation
- parents are looking for a dual purpose item – something that can hold items while fitting the child comfortably
- as a ‘piece of mind’ option for parents travelling alone with single or multiple kids
- a parent is ill (or pregnant or with an elderly grandparent etc) and may not feel confident in bending to hold a child’s hand or being able to run after them if necessary
- times when a parent doesn’t want to use a stroller, but are concerned about the environment the child will be walking in
We sold our first walking harness here at Little Gulliver back in 2008, giving us a clear understanding of why some families choose to use a toddler walking harness for travel. At the time, I had a lovely long phone conversation with a gorgeous British ex-pat mum. She was flying home to the UK (solo) with her newborn and toddler and had concerns about her 2 connecting flights. For a trip like this she felt a walking harness was a necessity – as she had to go through customs and security and felt their would be times she would have to take her eyes off the kids – piece of mind while away from home.
Where did walking harnesses originate?
I’ve always enjoyed reading how things originated. One of my favourites is the recent invention of “blue” for boys and “pink” for girls (did you know the boys colour used to be pink)? I also find the use of walking harnesses for children fascinating. I assumed they came about during this century, characteristic of a society where adults are becoming increasingly wary of kids and their environment (“don’t play in the dirt” etc). But no, surprisingly, according to this research, they have been around for centuries! Check out the article Children’s Walking Harnesses / Reins. It seems they were very popular in London in the 17th century when the city became busier, more dangerous and crowded with horses and carts and the like.
What style of walking harness is available?
Wrist to wrist
If you’re not sure if you want or need a harness, maybe try a wrist buddy. Small enough to sit in your pocket. It is a slightly
elastic harness which uses velcro to secure to the child’s wrist and has an end loop which can be held by the parent. Manufactured by Dreambaby, our friends at Travel With Tots did a great review here.
The Moose Noose is very popular. While its not subtle in its look, kids love the red colour and bendy cord. Depending on which side of the 80’s you were born, you could liken the cord to an old-style telephone cord. Its very secure and robust in its make. It attaches to parent and child via a velcro wrist band.
Walking and Sitting
The Dreambaby option is a basic chest harness with a loop style harness strap, which can also be fitted to a chair. It is small, so can be easily packed and has a more traditional style harness “look” to it.
Backpack with Removable Rein
The original Goldbug harness buddy is a classic and a lovable furry friend, popular the world over. It is worn like a backpack, with 2 chest clips for comfort and stability while wearing. There is a small pouch in the backpack (the size and shape of this varies depending on which style you choose). The “harness” is detachable, so the child can wear the harness buddy, with the harness strap stored in the pouch in case it is needed.
Another cute feature is that the buddy is facing the child’s back, so its kind of “piggy backing” the child, not looking behind them. Too cute!
Another recognisable friend (that you may not have realised is a child walking harness) is the Skip Hop mini backpack with reins. It has a single chest clip for the child’s comfort and stability and a detachable rein. It also has a write on name tag inside and a side pocket for a small storage such as a drink bottle. It has all the features of a normal backpack – just in a mini size. The detachable walking harness has sturdy metal hardware.
Whenever and where-ever you need an “extension of holding hands”, Little Gulliver has a specialised range of child walking harnesses to choose from and we’re always happy to help.