Mum questions wisdom of toddler reins: “Is it REALLY so awful to use them?”

Toddler reins

When a mum of two small children wondered why people were so against using baby reins to keep little ones close by, opinions came thick and fast.

Content note: This story discusses the loss of a child.

“They have no danger awareness”

Writing on popular forum Mumsnet, she revealed that her children have previously been quite difficult to keep under control.

“Took twins to the park this morning,” she explained. “They both wore backpacks with reins attached. Both boys have ASD, one also has a visual impairment and other issues.”

“They are both fascinated by moving cars and will suddenly run for the road, they have no danger awareness. They also both tried to throw themselves into the lake a few times so the reins really came in handy!”


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“So many horrible looks”

In addition to this, the mother said she’s got some mobility issues and keeping her twins close by with the use of reins makes taking them out much less challenging.

But some onlookers appear to be judging this mum’s use of reins and she wonders if it’s really such an unacceptable way to keep kids safe.

“I had so many horrible looks from other parents,” she wrote. “Is it really so awful to use them? It keeps them safe so for me it’s a no brainer but I’m surprised by how much it seems to offend people.”

“I love reins!”

The parents were overwhelmingly in support of using reins, especially with toddlers and preschoolers who are very distractible – or ‘bolters’.

“Reins are brilliant,” one mum posted. “We use them in crowded and dangerous places to stop our daughter from hurting herself. They’re particularly useful in places like stations and airports and when walking along busy roads. People who give you dirty looks must have sensible children who understand danger far better than the rest of us. Lucky them.”

“I love reins!” another parent wrote. “We used them in Disneyland last year on our 3-year-old twins, we got quite a few looks, but it seemed more people thought they were a great idea that they could wander along without going too far. Ignore the weird looks!!”

“Years ago I had them on my daughter. This woman came up and said, “reins are for horses, not children.” I just raised a brow, turned to my daughter and said ‘giddy-up, Jane,'” someone else quipped.

EDITORIAL: Toddler boy running outside in park

Not for dogs

Another parent pointed out that their similarity to a dog’s lead can attract some snarky comments.

“I have seen people make comments that they are treating children like dogs and things before,” one parent commented. “Personally I would rather ‘treat a child like a dog’ and have them safe than risk them running off when they are ‘trained’ properly.” #GoodPoint

Some pointed to a story by another Mumsnet user who had lost a child when her partner avoided using the reins one day.

“My son was hit by a car and died because his dad didn’t put his reins on him (or his twin sister),” that mum explained.

“He was in a hurry and thought for a short journey it wouldn’t matter. Well, we all found out, in the worst way possible that it does matter, it only takes a minute to put them on, and it took less than a minute for my son to end up under a car, while ex was distracted by our daughter. Please please always use reins, no matter how short your journey, if you are near a road then put them on.”

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