Toddler reins — you either love them or you hate them.
Personally, we love them. A good pair of toddler reins (also known as baby reins) allows your little one freedom to explore and roam around while giving you control over where and how far they go. They’re ideal for kids who might otherwise run off while you’re on a walk or even if you just want a little more security when walking on busy roads and pavements.
Not all are made equal however!
We’ve picked out the best toddler reins and baby reins on the market right now, all of which have different advantages based on the type of harness you are looking for. With a few helpful pointers, you should be able to find a pair that suits you and your child.
We’ve also put together a handy buying guide, complete with age suitability, so you can understand exactly what type of baby reins will best suit your little boy or girl.
- What Are The Best Toddler Reins?
- What Are The Pros and Cons of Baby Reins?
- What Are The Different Types of Toddler Reins?
- What to Look for When Buying Toddler Reins
What Are The Best Toddler Reins?
The Trunki ToddlePaks are probably some of the most popular toddler reins in the UK — we see them all the time being used at the park or on walks!
They’re very toddler friendly with their fun and colourful character designs that most kids will love to put on and wear. They’re also easy to put on and adjust, and they’re very secure once fastened so you don’t need to worry about even the wriggliest of toddlers breaking free! The Trunki baby reins are made with a lightweight, breathable and padded material so they’re comfortable and not too hot for your little one.
The big negative of the Trunki Toddlepak for us is that you can’t adjust the length of the reins so you’ll have to be mindful of that when walking on busy roads or, on the other side, can’t let them roam about as freely in open space.
- Lots of choice of fun characters and colours
- Suitable for ages 6 months to 4 years – can be used as training and leading rein
- Easily adjustable as your toddler grows
- Lightweight and comfortable to wear
- Thick padding for comfort is breathable so your child won’t get too warm
- Very secure fit with shoulder and waist straps into the fast fitting buckle
- Easy to take on and off
- Hand wash only
- Can’t adjust the length of the baby reins
Popular baby reins that fit from the front & fasten securely at the back making it very easy to put on and off your toddlers. One of the UK's favourite chest harness choices!
Clippasafe Walking Harness and Baby Reins
For a really cheap, no frills option, the Clippasafe Walking Harness is a great pick.
Unlike the Trunki above, the length of the reins can be fully adjusted and they’re machine washable too — always a good thing with toddlers! They are also very secure.
The harness is black and completely plain — no fun characters here — so some toddlers may be less keen on putting them on. There’s also no padding on the straps so make sure that your child has a full coverage top on underneath so they don’t rub against their skin.
- Suitable for ages 6 months to 4 years
- Machine washable
- Reins can be adjusted to be either short or long depending on how much freedom you want your toddler to have
- Shoulder and waist straps are fully adjustable so it can grow with your child
- Feels very secure
- Very plain – toddlers may be less inclined to want to wear them
- We found the back clip to be a little on the stiff side
- Straps aren’t padded so may not be the most comfortable option
The Clippasafe Walking Harness will help assist your child when learning to walk and keep them safe in busy or dangerous environments. It's a decent cheap option.
LittleLife Animal Toddler Backpack
The LittleLife reins are in a backpack configuration so are best suited to slightly older toddlers who are very secure on their feet already.
Like the Trunki Toddlepak, there are lots of wonderful colours and character options to choose from which your little one is sure to love and want to wear. The storage space of the backpack is pretty good — there’s definitely enough room for snacks, a drink and maybe even a toy. The harness is very secure and looks to be comfortable to wear.
These are another set of reins that can be machine washed unfortunately, and you also can’t adjust the length of them either (although the chest and shoulder straps can be adjusted to fit your child).
- Lots of colours and animal options available in a fun design
- 2 litre storage space in the backpack: a nice amount as your child grows
- Shoulder and chest straps are adjustable
- Safety rein can be clipped on or off
- Comfortable and reasonably lightweight to wear
- Feels secure
- Best suited for older toddlers/already confident walkers
- Hand wash only
- Can’t adjust the length of the reins
The LittleLife Animal Toddler Backpack is a cute rucksack that has a secondary function as a fully tested and approved safety harness. Simply attach the rein to the loop on the back and you can walk with your child roaming free
Eidyer Anti-Lost Safety Wrist Link Belt
If you’re looking for wrist link reins, the Eidyer is one of our favourite options.
They’re very comfortable to wear thanks to the breathable material that won’t irritate your skin, are very secure but also really easy to take on and off as needed. They can extend out to a big 1.5 metres and have been designed in a visible, reflective material.
This style of reins is best suited to older toddlers as it does allow them much more freedom — bear in mind that the parent or carer is unable to control the length of the reins and that the toddler can stretch it all the way out to 1.5 metres if they want.
- Cotton material is breathable, comfortable and friendly to skin with no friction
- Both wrist straps are adjustable
- Can be extended out to 1.5 metres
- Good price
- Lock feels very secure at a safe distance
- Available in subtle blue or pink colours
- Easy to take on and off
- Reflective material so very visible even at night
- Not quite as secure as chest strap reins — better suited for older toddlers
- Harness length cannot be adjusted by adult
Skip Hop Zoo Backpack
Another fun backpack option is this Skip Hop Zoo range.
There are lots of animal character options available so you can choose your child’s favourite, which will hopefully mean that they are keen to put it on and wear it. The backpack capacity is excellent with plenty of room for snacks and small toys — there’s even an insulated pouch. The harness is adjustable and very secure once attached.
One thing that we don’t really like about it is that the reins attach at the bottom of the backpack, which means your child could fall over if you had to pull it back quickly. It also can’t be machine washed.
- Lots of animal options available
- Backpack has good capacity
- Suitable for toddlers aged 12 months up to 4 years
- Harness feels stable and secure
- Harness is adjustable
- Lightweight and comfortable to wear thanks to padded straps
- Insulated pouch for snacks
- Rein attachment at bottom of rucksack is a curious choice — not ideal for running toddlers as can tip their centre of gravity
- Wipe clean only
The Skip Hop Zoo Backpack provides growing toddlers with independence whilst ensuring peace of mind for parents thanks to the detachable rein. Comes in a variety of different characters that your little ones will love!
Lehoo Castle Toddler Reins
The Lehoo Castle wrist link reins are very similar to the Eidyer ones above aside from the fact that they allow your child even more freedom as they can be stretched out to 2.5 metres!
The wrist straps are comfortable to wear and don’t irritate the skin on your child’s hand, while the lock itself is very strong and secure. We really like the 360° rotating head that stops the reins getting tangled and the reflective material.
Because of the long rein length that can’t be easily controlled by the adult, we’d only recommend these for older toddlers. Plus, the magnet mechanism of the wrist straps can be a little fiddly to master at first.
- Very comfortable, breathable wrist straps
- Straps are adjustable
- Induction lock feels strong and secure
- Reflective material shows up even in the dark
- 360° rotating head means you won’t get tangled even if your toddler is running in circles!
- Can be extended out to 2.5 metres — great for older toddlers who want a bit of freedom
- Only available in orange colour
- Adult can’t adjust length of harness
- Magnet mechanism can be a little fiddly
- Age suitability – best for older toddlers
Hey Duggee Kids Reins with Backpack
These backpack reins are an absolute must-buy for any Hey Duggee fans!
The design shows Duggee and the Squirrels in the famous Duggee hug position, which little fans will absolutely love. Unlike the Skip Hop Zoo backpacks, the safety rein here attaches at the top of the bag and can easily be removed if not needed. The straps are comfortable, adjustable and very secure.
We just wish that we were able to adjust the length of the safety rein!
- Hey Duggee fans will love the design!
- Generous sized backpack
- Safety rein is easily removable and attached at the top of the bag
- Shoulder straps are padded and very comfortable
- Suited to children aged between 1 and 4
- Straps are fully adjustable
- Feels very secure and durable
- Length of the safety rein isn’t adjustable
Join Duggee and the Squirrel Club! Teach your child to walk and wander safely with this gorgeous Hey Duggee backpack with reins. It comes with padded adjustable shoulder straps and an adjustable chest harness for comfort.
What Are The Pros and Cons of Baby Reins?
As we mentioned briefly in the introduction, the subject of toddler reins can be a little contentious.
While some parents swear by them, others think they’re unnecessary. There’s no ‘right’ answer here and what’s best for your child will really depend on your family and circumstances.
Let’s have a look at the pros and cons so you can be better informed regardless of where you stand on the issue.
Are reins good for toddlers?
- Encourages your child to walk and be active, as opposed to just sat in the buggy
- Gives them freedom to move around while keeping them within the safe control of the parent or carer
- Great for more crowded places if you want to keep them close and safe
- Added security if you’re walking on or near busy roads
- Some people don’t like the look of reins and see them as a ‘dog on a lead’ situation
- They may be superfluous for toddlers who are happy to hand hold
- Some children don’t like wearing them — hence why it’s important to buy ones that are comfortable
What Are The Different Types of Toddler Reins?
There are three major types of reins: chest strap, backpack and wrist strap.
Which one is best for you will mostly depend upon the age of your toddler and the level of security you require.
Chest Strap Baby Reins
Chest strap reins — like the Trunki ToddlePak and Clippasafe reins on our list — are usually the most secure option and so the ones we routinely recommend for younger toddlers and children more inclined to run away from parents.
Attaching around the shoulders and the chest, it is very easy to stop your child mid-run — essential if you’re near a busy road — versus wrist strap reins, for instance.
Backpack Baby Reins
Backpack reins — such as the Hey Duggee, Skip Hop Zoo and LittleLife reins above — are a more modern invention and a very popular choice being as they also offer some nice storage space!
Don’t expect a huge amount of capacity in these backpacks — you wouldn’t want your toddler tipping over backwards while wearing them — but there’s usually enough room for a drink, snack and maybe a soft toy.
Good backpack reins will offer the same amount of security as more traditional chest strap reins, as well as often a grab handle at the top. This acts as another great security option for pulling your child away quickly from danger.
Wrist Strap Baby Reins
Wrist strap reins — the Lehoo Castle and Eidyer options in our list — offer your child the most freedom, being only attached at the wrist, and as such we tend to recommend them for slightly older toddlers who have some sense of the need to stay close to parents.
Again, the wrist strap locks should be very secure and almost impossible for your little one to escape from.
The harness length on these can extend out pretty long so ideally your child will be responsive to requests from you to ‘come back’ if necessary.
What to Look for When Buying Toddler Reins
There are a few things to consider when buying toddler reins. Thankfully, they’re generally very reasonably priced so hopefully you won’t get too worn down by decision making.
First things first, decide what type of reins will suit your child best, as discussed above. Then it’s time to think about what’s important to you:
- How comfortable are the reins? Are the straps padded, soft and breathable?
- Are there any colour and character options that will encourage my toddler to wear them?
- What is the length of the rein? Is it easily adjustable?
- Are the reins easy to put on and take off?
- How strong and secure is the locking mechanism?
- Are the reins appropriate for my child’s age and walking style?
- Are they easily washable?
Hopefully, after asking yourself these questions, you’ll be a lot closer to deciding which reins are best for you and your toddler.
What’s your recommendation for the best toddler reins?