Suggestions on Safety for Independent Walking Toddler

Updated on August 01, 2009
D.M. asks from Shirley, MA
7 answers

My husband has been having a hard time keeping our 16 mo old walking daughter "safe" when they are outside. Daycare is 2 blocks away, and she wants to walk/explore everywhere (yards, street) but when he tries to hold her hand or carry her, she has a meltdown and drops to the pavement (ouch!) in a fit. She does not like holding hands, she wants to do her own thing.

Anyone have suggestions as to how to help guide her on walks? We're not the leash-type parents.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from Springfield on

Hi D.,
I agree with Gina, my 20 month old also likes to walk but there are rules. He has to hold my hand on the sidewalk and in parking lots. In our backyard and the park he can go where he pleases (within reason). If he refuses, we go inside, period. If he is really upset and carrying on(which includes pinching) I give him a time out. He now knows the deal and this is a non-issue although he is a cautious kid. Toddlers live to test boundaries because they cannot ask, "What will happen if I do this...." You just have to be consistent and she will learn this one, and then will find something else to challenge you on. Good Luck, Nat



answers from Hartford on

Put her in the stroller when you are out of the yard. When you get to the playground then let her out to explore and stuff, but while you're getting there have her in the stroller. I do have to say we just bought a harness for my 21 month old though. I've got two girls (age 10 and 7) and a boy now 21 months. I never believed in the leashes and harnesses for kids not until my boy. Maybe it's just because I'm older and tired. But chasing after him places is a pain. And when he gets tired of being in the stroller and is screaming that he wants out, but there are too many people around and I worry that he'll get away from me and into an unsafe situation the harness is nice. And they are cute now too. It looks like he's wearing a little backpack with a monkey on it and I'm just holding the tail. Seriously, don't knock it until you've tried it. When all else fails it is a great way to let your child be independent without you having to worry about them running off into traffic or something. I must admit my son does get a little miffed when he gets to the end of the line, but if we take him in the direction he wants to go or can distract him if the direction he wants is unsafe it's usually not too big of a deal. But crossing streets and stuff like that I make it very clear that either he has to hold an adults hand or be carried across the street. If he's going to throw a temper tantrum then he's carried and then has to sit out of the next activity. I'm all for a child being curious, but when it comes to their safety you have to be firm. And they'll get that with time and age and consistency on your part.



answers from Boston on

OK, not sure if this will help or not, but I use the stroller and allow my daughter to stand behind and push it. If she goes into the street or does not obey the 'rules of the road' if you will, in she goes into the stroller or I carry her kicking and screaming. (she is 19 mos old). I tell her she can cry all she wants and it does not change the rules. Then I ignore her temper tantrum, and when it is over we try again.

Otherwise, let her drop to the pavement and have her fit. Once she realizes this will NOT get her what she wants, she'll stop!



answers from Boston on

I support the suggestions that say you just insist on holding her hand. Neither of my kids like handholding, and will drop my hand at the first opportunity, but they both know when it's required. We insist on our 2 y.o. holding our hand whenever he's close to the street (like on the sidewalk) and our 4 y.o. still has to hold our hand in parking lots and crossing the street, etc. It took a couple meltdowns, but now they don't fight about it anymore. Good luck!



answers from Boston on

I agree with the comment about enduring the tantrum and staying firm. I have a 3.5 year old (who normally likes to walk rather than be in a stroller) and a 1 year old, and we recently bought a red plastic wagon (with backrests and straps - they face each other when they're sitting in it). We use it to take them short distances around the neighborhood, and they love it so much that we never get fidgets. They have 360 view (unlike in the stroller), which may have something to do with it...just a thought.


answers from Boston on

both my kids were early (10 mos) independant walkers. they understand alot more than what they can say. the best thing i can tell you is to explain everything to her..... "when we walk to daycare we need to stay on the sidewalk, so cars can see us,and that we don't get hurt". "we can't touch that bush because it has thorns and it will hurt". i've even held it out and let my daughter touch one of the thorns on her finger to feel it..... now whenever we walk by something she says "becareful mommy, this bush hurts" (she's now 3).

you just need to walk/talk her through it. try to make a game out of holding hands... sing a song, so it's like your dancing... see if she'll take to that.

you say you're not a leash fan, but it might be soemthing that you need to do. Get a little backpack that she can wear to carry her own stuff to daycare (or she can put anything into it) but it will give you a little something extra to grab onto if she starts to wander to far. and you could put a leash to the handle on the top. i got my kids the eddie bauer stuffed animal leash backpack. my daughter loves dogs so i got her the puppy one. i used to put it on her so the puppy was over 1 shoulder. she used to talk to it like it was her friend, and narrate everything that she was doing. you may not want to do it, but it's soemthing that will let her have the freedom she needs to feel, but also alows you to have a little control over her (so she can't run off into the street, or run away when you are shopping). it does come in handy if you are having a second anytime soon. my kids are 23 mos apart, and that was her opportune time to run away when i was with the baby.



answers from Providence on

My son is now 22 months and we go for walks outside - we started in the Spring. I have taught him that he must hold my hand and if he can't then he goes in his stroller or wagon. That's that!

While we are walking, if there is a plant or flower that he would like to inspect then we stop and I will let him get down and check it out. I just make sure that I am right next to him and as soon as he stands back up we hold hands again.

The thought of being confined definitely seems to help him follow the hand holding direction.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches