Toddler Wrist "Leash" Recommendations Please?

Updated on August 03, 2010
S.Y. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
28 answers

Yesterday my 2.5 year old dd got lost at a department store. They had to close everything down for a "Code Adam". I was completely hysterical. Thing is, my dd has auditory and sensory issues and has no idea that when I call her name, that I want something from her (this is not necessarily a behavioral issue). So, now I need to get something to help with this problem (this is the third time this has happened).

I really can't get past the "look" of the backpack leash, so is there a wrist version that you like that is strong and gives quite a bit of slack for the toddler?Thanks!

NOTE: I need specific product recommendations, please. I work with her and her OT on this topic, but still need safety device.

Another note: Oh my GOSH, I should have mentioned that it wasn't ONLY the "look" that bothered me about the body harness, but my daughter has physical sensitivities that precludes her from wearing makes her VERY uncomfortable...I thought that by asking for PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIONS for a WRIST strap would be enough, and that I wouldn't need to explain..but okay, now I feel that I have to go into all kinds of explanation because people are judging me thinking that I care about what people THINK rather than SAFETY....
Can everyone PLEASE answer the QUESTION THAT I ASKED?!!! Not to be rude, but I didn't ask this to open myself up to judgment, and now that I received these kinds of responses, NO ONE should judge me for caring what people "think", as it is clear from some of these answers that people WILL put their two cents in regardless!!!

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answers from Indianapolis on

Do you not put her in the cart? I would not let her out of the cart, if you have one.........if you are at some that doesn't have one, then, that is difficult.......I hate seeing kids on the leashes as well, although I know for most it is safer........

But, the best thing is whatever you can come up with that is safer for you and for if it is a leash of some sort, then do it..........and forget the're being a good Mom and they don't know squat about the situation.

Do what you think is best, and work with her at home to teach her why it's not good to wonder away from Mommy.......although all kids do it.....just hang in there....

Take care.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

One step ahead! This is a mag and they do have a website. They do have a few options and also parent ratings! Hope this helps.



answers from Philadelphia on

Whenever I go out I put my son in a shopping cart if it is available. He is three and thinks it is funny to run off. I have had a couple times that i had to find him but luckily he was around the corner. I remember how panicked I felt. I would also suggest if possible to use a stroller if a shopping car is not available. My son is three years old and I know how quick they run off. I would recommend these things instead of a wrist thing. I would think you would feel safer with her right in front of you in a shopping cart or in her stroller. I am sorry you had to go through all that.

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answers from Huntsville on

We had a simple Elmo harness/leash that could be used on just the wrist, or with the harness.

I couldn't find any better pictures of it, but this is what it was:

There was no backpack or anything, just simple straps. I think I had found mine in Wal Mart, but that was a few years ago.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

honestly I would go with the backpack one. she will probably be more likely to leave it on it has clips in the front to secure it the wrist ones are velcro and she could easily undo it so its not going to help you if she can take it off herself. I think the backpack ones are cute. My youngest has a monkey one he doesn't use it often anymore but he had sensory issues and hated the feel of holding hands so it helped until he had learned that he needed to stay right next to me if he wasn't going to hold my hand.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

I tried a wrist leash, but I'm afraid it didn't work out very well. My son has one that isn't a backpack but rather a frontpack - like a carrier! It has Elmo on it and he carries it around on his chest, just like I did when I would wear him in his Baby Bjorn and later, his Beco Butterfly. He LOVES carrying Elmo around, and while I don't like the looks that I get for having my son at the leash, there are absolutely times when it's just safer (he doesn't like to hold hands and is now too big for me the carry him, so we tend to use it at the zoo and places like that). I don't know the brand, but you can buy them at Babies R Us.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Harrisburg on

I recommend an umbrella stroller and seatbelted in before anything else since she is only 2.5. This way you can shop without someone pulling on you or worrying about them wrapping around displays or racks.

If you insist on the leash, I recommend the backpack version vs the wrist version. I wouldn't worry about "looks". Worry about safety and convenience. I find the wrist leashes not as safe as they get pulled by the arm constantly, and falls will happen more often when they only have one hand.

I couldn't use a leash (chest straps, no packpacks) as they were running around like a pack of puppies and wouldn't listen. This is why I've always found a stroller more convenient since kids are strapped in and can't walk off or pull on you. It's easier when a child cries or throws a fit in a stroller and just walk on rather than trying to pick up a child off a floor and drag them along on a leash when they're in a "mood".

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets
events and chat within 2 hour radius

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I always hated seeing kids on a leash or wearing a chest harness.....
Until I had my first kid!
She was walking at 7 months. At that age, it was easy to carry her, keep her in a stroller or cart, but as she got a little older, she wanted to be able to walk and I wanted her to learn to stay by me.
We had wrist harnesses. I'm sorry I can't remember the brand, but we called them bracelets and told her we had to wear them so Mommy wouldn't get lost (or Grandma or whoever wore the other one).
They fastened with velcro, but they were really sturdy. Although they gave room for movement, the kid could only get so far and they didn't come off with yanking. My daughter learned very quickly she could only get so far and if she started tugging, she would immediately go in a stroller or cart. It worked very well to teach her the safe distance she could be away from me and eventually we didn't use the "bracelets" anymore because she was used to only having so much room to wander.
Little kids can get lost so fast, as you know. Letting them run around just isn't worth it.
If your daughter doesn't like the wrist harness, then you should definitely look into the backpack harness regardless of how it looks. I'd be less worried about that than having a heart attack in a store because your daughter is lost. I wouldn't care about looks. I wouldn't let this happen a 4th time.

Best wishes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I wouldn't use a wrist leash because of the safety issue. I have, however, from time to time, clipped my dog's leash to the back belt loop of his jeans. Your daughter might not even know it is there...

The other thing you can do for girls is put bells on their shoes when you go out... just follow the bells! :-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

We got one at Babies R Us, I believe it's a safety first brand. It is adjustable velcrow for the child's wrist and the regular elastic for yours. We use it whenever we go somewhere like the zoo or renaissance festival.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I do not have a recommendation of a product, but I wanted to let you know that there are moms out here that are glad to see that you want to give your child a safe amount of freedom. I have 2 sons only 19 months apart. It was not possible for me to hold them both, keep them in strollers, or "not take them places". "Leashes" worked - giving us all freedom from the hanging, hand holding, etc. I often hooked the 2 of them together so I could keep up. For those who don't like the "leashes" - ever see a group of preschool students walk together - all holding onto a rope?
Good luck finding the special "bracelet" that will work for you.
I'd rather see a happy child with a "leash" than a squirmy, unhappy strapped in a stroller, or hear about a child not going places!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Johnstown on

Just wondering what it is about the 'look' of the backpack leash that you can't get past. They have some adorable animal ones available at dept. stores everywhere. The backpack ones also 'control' the child better than the wrist one, which can actually put a rope burn on their little wrist if it's not put on properly or if they pull too hard. Good luck finding what best fits your needs.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

I'd recommend the harness, The wrist one is very easy for them to remove on their own.



answers from Allentown on

Hi, S..

I haven't used it, but I have seen people say good things about KinderKord. I looked at it at Babies R Us when I was traveling with my then-15 month old DD, and it didn't appeal to me. I think, if I recall correctly, you also have a baby, so my suggestion might not work for you, if you've got the baby to look after, too ... but I have been babywearing my DD since she was a newborn, and when she got into the wandering phase, I resorted to always wearing her. Admittedly, I don't have any other children to juggle, and she has never had any trouble with being worn (well, mostly). At 3, she also tries to wander to some extent, and if I can't get her to stay with me, we leave. We've had our Ergo since she was born, and she still rides in it (happily, at that).
Like I said, I don't know if that would suit your circumstances, but you can't beat knowing your kid is on your back/hip!
Oh - AND - carries some awesome safety products (some of which are mentioned below). Including some really snazzy looking child safety connections.



answers from Harrisburg on

If she has auditory or sensory issues, I would not let her run around without holding her hands or lifting her up, especially in a crowded place that matters about safety. In cases where you are out and about, as one person said, use a stroller. When you are home, let her run about then. In my humble opinion leashes are for dogs. Actually, dogs get put in strollers and carried in purses to not get lost, so wrong analogy. But, no offense, we as parents should find other ways to control our children in public or just not take them there.


answers from Norfolk on

When my son was that age, there use to be a company that made overalls for toddlers that had a build in handle in the back. That handle was strong enough that you could pick the child right up by it if you had to. I use to attach a dog leash to that handle and the overalls would work as a very comfortable harness. I got that company s products in all sizes and I've saved them for future grandchildren. It was a good thing because they went out of business a few years ago, but the concept was brilliant and the quality was fantastic.
We tried a wrist leash, but a toddler can get them off too easily (some are such escape artists).



answers from Salt Lake City on

My sister-in-law used a wrist leash. My nephew pulled his shoulder out of socket because he pulled so hard. There are backpacks that are oh so cute. The kids wearing them love them and other parents understand. When I had my little ones (I wasn't about to go for a wrist leash after what happened to my nephew) they had harnesses that wrapped around the chest and fastened in the back. If you don't like the backpacks, maybe you could find one like that as it seems more safe.


answers from York on

You might want to start by not calling it a leash . . . Some people get really offended by that : )
If you are looking for something to keep track of your daughter that is unrestrictive yet still safe , One Step Ahead makes a product called the
"Mommy I'm here child locator with alert"
It does omit a sound if you lose your child so that you can find her and I don't know if that will bother your daughther or not but as long as she's right by you it doesn't make any noise at all and it's shaped like a cute little bear that you can attach to her shoe or waistband that she might like. You have a keychain like device that has 150 foot range on it so that you can track her if she wanders off. It only makes a noise (the alert) if you hit the button on your end to find her so unless she wanders off no one would even notice it and you daughther probably wouldn't even notice that it's there either. . . .
Good luck!!!!
T. C.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Okay, try number three for this response!

My mom used to use something that kept shoelaces tied that had a bell on it. They looked something like this,

On Amazon, I saw this, and it looked interesting.

My nephew was a runner. My son, at age 10 1/2, is still a hider. It is terrifying to not know where they are. I think we should do anything we can do to make sure that kids are safe when out.


answers from Pittsburgh on

I have no advice, but wanted to thank you for your question. My friend's son has sensory issues and freaks when anything touches his back. She will find help from some of these answers. Good luck!



answers from Philadelphia on

You might want to take a look at the Kinderkord developed by Joan London. This is not a commercial. A number of my customers have purchased them and seem to be pleased. You can either do a google search or go right to for detailed info. I hope that this is helpful.



answers from Phoenix on

I used the safety first harness when I went to the mall, a fair, the airport and other vast, heavily populated areas. My daughter would remove the wrist kind so that was totally disfunctional but this kind stayed put, she could not remove it, and it minimalized the rubbing and too tight factor she would have with the wrist kind.



answers from Wichita on

My boys never minded the harness, but would pick at the wrist tether until they got it off. We got a harness at Walmart (almost 7 yrs. ago). it had a picture of elmo on the front & velcroed in the back (industrial strength velcro) so my boys were never able to get it off. It didn't have a back pack on it & personally I didn't care what anyone thought because I woud rather take weird looks then be worried about my child being lost.
I do not like the front clip harnesses because my youngest could unclip them at a young age.
I found this: 'Sunshine Kids Sure Steps Safety Strap' on & it looks just like the one we had.

God bless!



answers from Dallas on

I bought a wrist leash at babies r us called kinder kord. It has worked great for my son so far. They have ones that velcro and ones that buckle like a watch and both versions have a pulley type cord. My son could unbuckle the velcro but cannot figure out how to unbuckle the watch strap.



answers from Minneapolis on




answers from Denver on

Hi S. - wow that must have been really really scary for you. I've never had to close down the mall but I've had some scares. My son also has auditory and sensory issues and we have really been working on getting him to answer - every time. I understand exactly what you mean and just how frustrating and sometimes scary that is. I used to think that kid leashes were crazy - until I had kids of my own!

We found a wrist leash at BabiesRUs to use with my first. It would have been easy to make - basically just a long piece of elastic with a loop on one end for me and a velcro bracelet on the other for him. The problem was that he hated having it on his wrist and would take it off. He didnt like the scratchy velcro but maybe you could make one using a kid size rubber bracelet with the elastic sewn around it?

This is going to sound bad, but what I ended up using was a lightweight dogleash my sis left behind. It was about 6 feet long and I just clipped it to his belt when he had one or to a diaper pin attached at the waistline. Sometimes I would attach it to the stroller. That gave him an extra few feet of breathing room and made identifying him pretty easy if he ran off. He would be the one with the stroller following him! : )

The other thing that I do, especially if the mall is busy or we are going to the zoo etc. is to put him in bright clothing and I always put a sticker nametag on him with my name and phone number - just in case.

We also picked up an ID kit for both of my boys where you put in a picture and do fingerprints, etc. just for peace of mind.

Hope that helps you!



answers from Washington DC on

I had a wrist one, but it didn't work for us. My son just slipped his wrist through.

For my daughter, I use the backpack buddy. Although I've sort of modified it. She has a toddler size princess backpack that she LOVES to carry around with all of her stuff in it. It makes her feel grown up. I attached the tail from the backpack buddy to that. I could take it a step further and buy a regular leash that matches the color of the backpack, but I haven't taken it that far yet.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I unfortunately don't have a suggestion on wrist leashes, just wanted to give you a little support on doing what's right for you and your child. SAFETY FIRST. I've had my 2 year old wander off in a dept store and I know the fear that runs through your body when they don't reappear when you call your name. It's 100% the worst feeling in the world and if this helps you, then I say go for it. I've seen kids wearing those backpack leashes all the time and I've never once thought oh, what a horrible parent.

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