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If you’re in a hurry and just want to find out what the best toddler harness is, I’d recommend the Munchkin Brica by-My-Side Safety Harness Backpack.
Toddlers are active little things and love to have the independence to walk on their own. Remember the day when your little one refused to ride in the stroller? I certainly do—everything changed after this day.
A toddler harness allows your little one the freedom to walk, but with some control, so the parent can ensure they don’t run off into the crowd. I’ll explain how to choose the best toddler harness according to the needs of you and your child.
Here are the toddler harnesses I will be reviewing:
Is a Safety Harness the Right Thing for us?
If you’re a parent to a toddler who just started walking, you surely are super proud of your child. It’s an emotional time. In a blink of an eye, your little one starts walking completely independently and discovers the world on his or her own.
A higher level of mobility and independence can go hand in hand with more risks and unforeseen circumstances. You soon might face situations where you can’t keep up with your child’s pace and energy in day-to-day life.
Grocery shopping, traveling, and Sunday family excursions might turn into stressful experiences if your toddler is in a phase in which he or she doesn’t always like to listen to what you, the parents, want. And what parents want is simple: the utmost safety and well-being of their child.
Having children doesn’t mean “just” having children. We still need and want to manage work and social life as well as showing and explaining the world to our children. Since toddlers cannot yet fully comprehend the meaning of safety, it sometimes might be necessary to draw on some helpful tools to make life easier—for parents and children.
Walking around with your child attached to a safety harness or a leash will most probably lead to controversy among your own family and especially among other members of society. Still, some situations might be much more manageable and safe for you and your child with one of these handy safety devices.
If you have a toddler that runs off, who doesn’t listen to your “stops,” and is likely to get lost, you might be better off ignoring judging looks from strangers and securing your child’s life with a well-fitted and comfortable, practical safety harness.
Why Would It Be Necessary to Use a Safety Harness?
The first and most obvious reason is to prevent your child from getting into dangerous situations. Busy streets, shopping malls, or unknown terrain while traveling can pose unpredictable risks to your child if they’re not 100 percent reliably responding to the parents’ requests.
This can be a temporary phase in your child’s development, the combination of a specific age and a strong character, or a side effect of learning difficulties. No matter the reason behind your child’s behavior, as a parent, you’re most likely to know when and if an additional tool is necessary to ensure the safety of your beloved child.
What Are the Advantages of Safety Harnesses?
A toddler who runs off regularly leaves parents asking themselves what to do. Of course, the first and most important thing is to talk to your child and explain (over and over again) why it’s essential to listen to what mom and dad are saying.
Sometimes children need longer to understand than our lifestyle allows. In these situations, it can be useful—and a lifesaver—to use a safety harness, e.g., while traveling or spending time in crowded areas such as theme parks or shopping malls.
How Do I Choose the Best Toddler Harness for My Child?
The range of products is diverse and reaches from wrist-to-wrist chains, back, and backpack harnesses to plain safety leashes. The right choice depends mainly on the age and size of your child and the way you want to use the harness.
Small children might enjoy back harnesses that have a stuffed toy animal attached to the leash. Children from the age of two and above might prefer a harness that’s attached to a small-sized backpack to carry their favorite toy or a snack.
Kids who need to travel in car seats might find the plain safety leashes most comfortable since they don’t come with bulky extras. Wrist-to-wrist chains can be great for toddlers who also enjoy walking side by side with their parents and holding hands.
What Are the Important Factors When Choosing a Safety Harness?
When choosing the best toddler leash, take these factors into consideration:
- If possible, try out different types of safety harnesses. Make sure the material is comfortable for your child.
- Check the stability and location of hooks and loops. Are they made from metal or plastic? Is the leash attached to the top or bottom of the safety harness?
- Depending on the activity of your child and your size, the length of the leash might be relevant.
- Be aware that an inconvenient location of the attachment-loop and a short leash might let your toddler fall easily when starting to run off!
How Do I Deal With Judgemental Looks From Strangers?
As mentioned above, attaching your child to a safety harness may lead to unrequested judgment or advice from strangers. My advice to you is to always keep in mind the safety of your child and make this your priority.
As soon as your toddler learns to listen and understand the risks of walking freely, you will no longer need a safety harness. Until then, make it as comfortable as possible for your child and try to make learning these important things as fun as possible whenever you can.
My Toddler Harness Reviews
I carried out some detailed research using professional recommendations and real customer opinions to put together a list of the top products on the market.
The Munchkin Brica-By-My-Side Safety Harness Backpack is a compromise between a backpack and a toddler leash. It’s a little backpack, equipped with a connection piece to hook on a leash.
It comes in two different color combinations and has two stretchy loops on the front, which can be used to carry your child’s favorite stuffed animal. The inside of the backpack provides a little space for two or three diapers, a sippy cup, or another toy that fits into it.
The backpack is fastened with buckles on the front area of your child’s body. A positive feature of this safety device is that you can unhook the leash, so your child might use the backpack even if you don’t need the leash—e.g., for kindergarten or to play with at home.
Though the harness is a bag at the same time which might make it easier for your child to accept the use of it, many customers criticize that the backpack has to be buckled not to fall off. Also, the straps don’t provide any padding. This might be problematic since the skin of your little one’s arms and shoulders can get irritated when running and being held back by the leash.
The leash features a shock-absorbing tether, which reduces tension if your kid tries to run and makes it more comfortable as they bounce back. The reflective material ensures your little one will be seen after dark, just in case you stay out late. This device is recommended for children aged 18 months or older.
The Blisstime Wrist Link for babies, toddlers, and children is a simple and affordable device to prevent your child from running off in public areas. It’s available in two different lengths, depending on your needs, either 59 or 98.4 inches.
The rope, made of stainless steel wrapped in plastic, has two adjustable wristbands on each end. It’s used by attaching the two different-sized wristbands (one for children, one for adults) to you and your child’s wrists. The hook and loop system allows you to adjust and attach the wristbands easily.
While you go at your own pace, the Blisstime Anti-Lost Wrist Link allows your child to walk either next to you, in front of you, or behind you since the wristband-connectors work with a 360-degree rotation system. This will prevent your child from potentially twisting their wrist.
Depending on the distance between you and your child, the chain stretches and shrinks, so it isn’t dragged over the ground. This might be an advantage if your child also likes to walk right next to you, since you’ll both be safe from stumbling over the rope.
The wrist chain is made with a double hook and loop system to prevent your child from conveniently taking it off on their own.
This system is good for older toddlers who are too big for traditional harnesses. However, some children might not like the feeling of wearing it as feels unnatural around their hand.
This backpack harness by Eric Carle is a safety harness in the shape of a stuffed animal. It’s made from machine washable, soft material (100 percent polyester) and comes either as an elephant or a bear.
Both options have zippered compartments, which fit a small toy, several diapers, a sippy cup, or some snacks. Be reminded that the back part of the backpack does not include cushioning, so any hard item inside the backpack might push through and lead to an uncomfortable feeling for your child.
The backpack harness is attached with adjustable safety buckles over the shoulders and chest of your child so that it can grow with them. The detachable leash at the bottom of the backpack allows the use of the backpack only (without the leash) when required.
The manufacturer sells this product for walking toddlers from 12 months old. Parents recommend it until around the age of three since the straps are too short for older children. Even though the straps are adjustable, the missing padding can lead to sore shoulders and skin irritation when your little one runs off (or attempts to), and the harness is pulled.
The leash is made from the same material as the animal-backpack. It’s not flexible or stretchy, which might make it uncomfortable for both children and parents to use this safety device as there’s no shock absorption.
Due to the cute shape, the backpack function, and the soft material, this harness seems to show a high acceptance with toddlers. I know my kids would love the look of this and be proud to wear it. Additionally, parents report higher approval from friends, family, and strangers than with conventional harnesses.
The Eplaza Walking Safety Belt Harness is a safety device that should fit your toddler until the age of three. It comes in many different designs, shapes, and colors. Depending on the model, you purchase the harness with or without a backpack.
There are also buying options that include a wrist-safety chain. Depending on your toddler’s preferences, you might choose from butterfly or bee wings, or a penguin shape, all in different colors.
The materials used are polyester and cotton, which allows your child’s skin to breathe more than with the usual all-polyester models. Furthermore, the straps touching your toddler’s skin are also made from a polyester-cotton mix, which might be more comfortable than the models with polyester straps.
The safety harness comes with a detachable leash, which is connected with stainless steel heavy-duty clips and D-rings. Therefore, the connection between harness and leash—when clipping it on and off—is more durable than competitive models with plastic connectors.
Depending on the model, your toddler can use this device as a backpack only, or a cute accessory, when used without the leash. The affordable harness comes with adjustable straps and is buckled from the front, over your child’s chest.
It’s hand-washable, and the different designs and colors might make it easier for you to choose the one that your toddler will be happy to wear. Even better—let them choose it with you.
The Diono Safety harness is a nylon harness that’s available for a lower price than the ones reviewed before. The harness comes in a plain black design with a leash-like look. It’s machine-washable and will fit toddlers aged between two and four years.
The leash itself has a loop at the parent’s end and is about 4 feet long. It can be shortened quick and easy with a snap buckle. This way, your toddler walks closer to you when needed.
Unlike harnesses that come with a backpack, the Diono safety harness is fastened at the back of your child with velcro. Therefore, you have to pull the harness over your toddler’s head, then adjust the shoulder straps on the back and finally close it with the velcro. Some might find this too complicated to apply to an active child.
Depending on your kid’s strength, some might experience the velcro opening while they are running and pulling on the leash.
An advantage of toddler safety harnesses that don’t include a backpack or a cute wing-design is that your toddler can easily be seated into a car seat without removing the harness. The harness can be buckled onto your child at home, and he or she would still be comfortable sitting in the car since this model is not big and bulky. A walk through the zoo or the park can start immediately upon arrival without adjusting the safety harness.
Though the material is said to be soft and comfortable, it’s not padded so could dig in to your little one’s precious skin if they pull too hard.
The Yodo Kids Insulated Toddler Backpack is a combination of a toddler’s backpack, and lunch bag, and a safety harness. It’s suitable for children aged one to four years and comes in different cute 3D-designs and colors, including a shark, dinosaur, owl, and unicorn. It’s basically a kid’s backpack with a detachable leash, which is hooked with a metal clip.
The straps of the backpack are padded, which makes it much more comfortable for your little one to wear. It has a buckle, which closes over your child’s chest. The backpack can be worn with or without closing this buckle, which is a significant advantage to most other backpack-harnesses. If worn as a safety-device, the chest buckle is closed, and the leash is attached to the loop at the bottom of the backpack.
The washable BPA-free lining insulates snacks or drinks, keeping their temperature for up to 3 hours. Therefore this backpack can be suitable as a lunch bag for kindergarten or outdoor-trips. There’s also side pockets included for a sippy cup or a little drinking bottle.
The size of this backpack harness is slightly bigger than the ones reviewed above and therefore usable for a more extended period as your toddler grows. Since the backpack provides plenty of space for your toddler’s favorite things, they might accept it more without feeling restrained.
The name-tag at the back of the backpack provides a space for name and phone number, in case the bag gets lost. Compared to other backpack harnesses, this model is slightly pricier; however, it combines a lot of features that might be practical and fun for your toddler.
The Kid Keeper by Mommy’s Helper is a basic harness attached to a leash. While it may be plain, it’s affordable and does the job of keeping your little one safe. The device has adjustable shoulder straps and closes across the torso area.
The leash can be detached, which makes it possible to keep the harness on your toddler when seated in a car seat. Furthermore, the leash can be shortened and with the double swivel snap design, it allows you to secure the toddler to a high chair or a shopping cart.
The connectors between leash and harness are made from plastic, which might not be sturdy enough for a strong, running child. The Kid Keeper is adjustable to fit chest sizes from 14 to 25.5 inches. The strap length adjusts from 30 to 42 inches and swivels to avoid tangles.
Although the manufacturer describes the shoulder straps as padded, the padding might not be thick enough to ensure comfort for your child. The straps might rub your toddler’s skin on their neck and arms if they’re not wearing clothes that cover these areas adequately.
Putting the harness on your toddler and adjusting the straps can be difficult if your little one is wiggling and not patient enough to wait until the harness fits perfectly.
The safety harness is machine washable and comes in a blue color. It’s pretty similar to the Diono safety harness in function and price.
The Goldbug Animal safety harness is a combination of a cute little backpack and a toddler safety leash. It comes in several stuffed animal designs—including a monkey, giraffe, lion, pig, panda and elephant—and is made from soft, fluffy material. If your child loves animals, they’ll likely enjoy this cute model.
The backpack provides a little pocket, which closes with velcro. The tiny pocket doesn’t fit much, though a little snack or keys will fit inside.
The animal backpack includes a leash, which is hooked at the bottom of the animal. The leash itself is comparably short but can be detached, so the animal can be used as a little backpack or toy when the harness function isn’t needed.
The shoulder straps come in the shape of classic backpack straps are adjustable. They’re softly padded with the same fabric as the stuffed animal.
The backpack straps can be buckled in the front over your toddler’s chest and belly. The buckles, as well as the connectors between backpack and leash, are made from plastic in the matching color of the animal.
The Goldbug backpack safety harness is suitable for children starting from 18 months and up. Since this model comes in the shape of different adorable animals, it’s likely that with the right choice, your child will accept and enjoy wearing the harness.
The design is made to be fun for your child; however, the short leash might be problematic for you to use if you’re tall and your toddler’s a runner.
The Lehoo Castle Toddler Leash is an all-in-one solution if you need a flexible safety harness system. It includes a harness—which is attached to your toddler’s body by shoulder straps and a front buckle—and an extra anti-lost wrist link for your toddler’s wrist.
The harness comes in different shapes and animal designs—including a dinosaur, lion, and more basic designs. The area which touches the back of your child features soft padding made from breathable, airy material. The shoulder straps are adjustable to fit the size of your toddler and are made from breathable cotton.
When using the harness, you can hook the cotton leash into one of the metal connectors to prevent your little one from running off. Another option is to connect one end of the anti-lost wristband to the harness and the other end to your wrist. While the cotton leash is 5.2-foot long, the shrinking chain of the anti-lost wrist leash can extend up to 8.2 feet.
Another option is using the anti-lost wrist-to-wrist chain. It consists of a breathable, soft wristband for your child at one end and one for you at the other end. The anti-lost wrist link is made of stainless steel wire and durable PU material, which is safe to the human body and is difficult to be cut off—even with a knife.
Since this set is available in several options, colors, and designs, it provides an affordable, versatile, and child-friendly way of keeping your toddler safe.
The Skip Hop Toddler Leash and Harness Backpack comes in various different designs including a dinosaur, giraffe, dog, and owl. It combines the functions of a small children’s backpack and a safety leash.
The padded shoulder straps can be adjusted to your child’s size. An adjustable front buckle, which is closed over your toddler’s chest, provides the necessary security to prevent the backpack from falling off when used as a safety harness.
The backpack comes with a leash, which is hooked into the bottom of the backpack with a D-ring made from sturdy metal. The connector on the leash-side is also made from metal, and the other end of the leash has a loop for the parent’s hand. This is a practical and high-quality feature and provides the necessary safety for you and your little one.
The backpack can be used by your child to carry several items, such as a sippy cup, snacks, or diapers. On the side of the backpack, there are two pockets made from a mesh material.
This Skip Hop model is suitable for children starting from the age of 12 months old and—due to its size—can be used up to the age of four. Without the leash, the backpack can be used for kindergarten, days out, and vacations.
The affordable backpack harness combination is likely to be accepted and loved by your child since wearing the bag might make your toddler feel like a grown-up. The cute designs and bright, friendly colors might distract your toddler from the harness function and make him or her simply enjoy carrying favorite items in their own little backpack.
Though they all offer a range of benefits, the winner of my reviews has to be the Munchkin Brica by-My-Side Safety Harness Backpack.
The detachable leash, unlike most others, features a shock-absorbing tether to reduce tension and improve comfort, especially for active toddlers. The backpack can fit several items, making the device useful in many ways. These features, along with the cute and comfortable design and reflective material, have convinced me to name this product the best toddler harness around.