Times have changed since I was a child... and
For some reason, many parents seem to view this vital piece of baby safety equipment with suspicion and even derision. They don't want to restrain their toddler because they feel it interferes with their burgeoning desire for independence. Or they don't want to have to go through the trauma of forcing Little Johnny into the buckles and straps of a harness.
Well, that's all very well if you're prepared to run around after them ensuring that they don't get into mischief. However, having made the decision not to use the reins, it's extraordinary how many parents then become so engrossed in conversation with their friends in the playground that they forget all about keeping an eye on Junior, who is scooting around the furthest extremes of the perimeter fence.
Suddenly, there is a furore of activity when it becomes obvious that their youngster is nowhere to be seen. Often, he is just playing hide and seek but some will actually succeed in making a break for it before being restrained by another grown up as they make their way out of the gate onto the main road.
It's daft really because there are so many modern, easy alternatives to those old-fashioned clip, leather and strap straight-jacket baby reins.
Nowadays, backpacks with a rein attachment are very common. These coloured rucksacks are ideal for encouraging even the most reluctant child to carry some of their own belongings on a day out, which liberates one of their parent's arms to hold onto the long lead buckled onto the back. It's less invasive but allows the adult to give a reminding tug if they try to stray too far away.
But the piece de resistance is the genius who designed the Goldbug Animal Backpack Reins. This child-friendly piece of equipment comes in 20 different species of animals - bears, rabbits, butterflies, monkeys, cows, frogs, giraffes, koalas, lambs, lions, ponies, puppies - there's even a unicorn and a dinosaur for the more imaginative child. The straps can be adjusted as your child grows and the buckle allows it to be removed so that it can be used as a regular backpack when the rein is not needed.
Most importantly, instead of the conventional rein attachment, it is the tail of each animal that is used to maintain the connection between parent and child. What a difference this one minor adaptation can make to the delicate ego of budding adventurers.
Invest in one of these ingenious alternatives to old-time baby reins and help your child retain their personal street cred whilst still ensuring their safety.
Ashley J Downs enjoys finding the best products to help make childcare easier.
To find baby shops online and animal backpack reins