Danny had reins when he first started to walk, at twelve months old.
Reins are the most ideal form of safety harness for babies up to the age of two and a half years, mainly because not only do they keep your child close, but tiny legs and feet tend to trip more on the dips and bumps in the pavement.
Reins help you as a parent and in turn, help your child to stand upright again because the straps fully support your child’s body.
For Danny, however, he was just too big to manage on the reins after he was two, especially when he was protesting and particularly, as I had Charlie to supervise as well.
When Danny’s lift obsession and disappearance in the city centre, resulted in the introduction of a wrist strap (when he was four years old), Danny learnt quickly how to release himself from the strap (he hates things on his wrist, even to this day, does not want to wear a watch or the wristband at the Theme Parks). So it was not useful as a measure to keep Danny safe.
In studying on the Internet, what is available now, I notice that you can purchase child backpacks with a long safety lead attached to the back.
This is ideal for wandering two, three, four, and five-year-olds; that is, if your child agrees to wear the backpack!
It is important that manufacturers ensure that the backpack safety straps, are securely attached and that they will not break at the stitching joins. Also, that there is a secure safety clip at the front of the backpack so it is less easy for your child to slip their arms out and run away into potentially dangerous situations such as roads.
It will help your child’s confidence, give them more freedom than a wrist strap (as both their arms are free in a backpack), plus they will feel more grown up, and because the safety lead is at the back on the backpack, your child will have more problems trying to release themselves and run off, thereby ensuring you can keep your child safe!
Speaking as a mum whose child was hit by a car after he ran into the road at four years old, if more backpacks with popular children’s TV and film characters were automatically manufactured with these safety harnesses, it would provide ‘peace of mind’ to parents of all young children, not just those whose children have a diagnosis of autism!