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It appears that the jury is out on whether parents should use wrist straps or reins on toddlers/young children, especially if you read the parenting forums. Personally, I have never seen the problem with parents using reins/straps on their children as a means of safety and unlike some people I have never thought of them as 'dog leads'.
Our Son has just turned 3 years old and from a young age we have taught him to cross the road safely and to always stop, look and listen for cars etc, however he is very impulsive (as I am sure that most little ones are) and on a few occasions he has managed to break away from me and has run into the road.
Whilst I was heavily pregnant I felt that we had no choice but to use wrist reins on our Son as I was unable to run as fast as I usually could, so I purchase the First Steps children's wrist link strap from eBay and it cost £2.71 including postage.
The First Steps children's wrist link strap is suitable for children aged between 6 months and 4 years old. It is dark Blue in colour (also available in Pink), it's machine washable at 50 degrees, has a fully adjustable strap on child's wrist and an elasticated strap for the parent to wear. The wrist link also complies with BS EN standards.
To use the strap, place the adjustable end of strap around your child's wrist with the hook and loop side up. Adjust the buckle appropriately to ensure your child stays in control. Place your hand through the elasticated strap and ensure that the wrist link is fitted securely.
There are two elasticated loops at the parent's end of the strap. The bottom loop is short and keeps your child close to your side; the other is longer and keeps your child at a distance of 1.5 meters when the strap is extended. This is useful when I am using the wrist link alongside pushing our newborn Son in the pushchair, as I am able to keep both hands on the pushchair without the strap tugging at my Son's wrist.
I also use the wrist link as a training method and make sure that our Son holds my hand when using the link. If he does manage to break free from me he can only run a metre away and I have peace of mind that he's not going to run into the road.
At 3 years old our Son is at the age where he wants to walk/run everywhere and as he no longer goes in his pushchair I find it very useful to use the wrist link, especially when we are in a shopping centre or crowded area, as he tends to just dart off. After using the reins for a couple of months, he will now hold my hand when walking without needing to use the wrist link. I now find that I only need to use the wrist strap if I am taking him and his baby Brother shopping in a busy shopping centre as it is difficult to push the pushchair and ensure that our eldest Son doesn't run off, also it would be quite easy to lose him if it was crowded.
There are no disadvantages to using a child safety wrist link, as long as you don't use it as a substitute for your supervision of your child. Obviously you need to take care when using them on escalators or near automatic doors etc. The only little frustrations that I have is that when crossing the road or changing the direction we are walking in, I need to change over the strap to the other wrist to ensure that my Son remains on the inside of the pavement because as a child I was always taught that children should walk on the inside. The other disadvantage is that it didn't take my Son long to figure out that he could undo the buckle by himself by loosening the wristband; however by this time we did not need to use the wrist link all the time.
Overall, I recommend purchasing the First Steps children's wrist link as it has kept my Son safe from running off into the road, easy to use and gives peace of mind therefore I have to give it 5 stars.
Thanks for reading xx
© sweetdaisy 2011