Rein them in with the Skip Hop ZOO-LET Mini Backpack

Toddler Leash

Skip Hop is expanding their Zoo line with the ZOO-LET Mini Backpack with Rein. The Zoo-Let is a toddler backpack available in a variety of fun zoo friends that includes a detachable rein to keep the little travelers safe and close. This is not a new concept it’s just new for Skip Hop.

Toddler Leash

Here’s the question: Would you rein in your toddler with this? I know “toddler leashes” are a big debating point and I’d like to know if you would use one or not.

It’s fair to say that these are not the leashes of yester-year that our parents or grandparents *may* or may not have used. Those were plain-ole’-can’t-disguise-it kid leashes! These are adorable Zoo mini backpacks that kids will want to wear because they can carry their own things but it just happens to have a tether to keep them attached to mom (or dad!). Does that make it better?

Full disclosure: I am a BIG fan of toddler leashes in certain circumstances. I have used them with all three of my kids. Did I whip out a toddler rein (or leash) every time I hit the grocery store with my 2 year old? Nope. But I do I think they are brilliant in very crowded public places where your toddler may want to walk around and not be strapped to the stroller. Think amusement parks, Disney World, the zoo, a fair, festival, urban shopping area! What’s the difference if I strap him down into the stroller seat with a 5-point harness to keep him safe or put a cute backpack on him with a rein that gives him just enough space to walk on his own and explore but still be safe and attached to me?

Maybe we could call it a form of attachment parenting? 🙂 Literally, “attachment parenting”.

Most parents have no problem whatsoever securing a child in a stroller to keep them safe but you mention or dare whip out a “toddler leash” (also known as a rein, safety harness, kid leash, child safety tether etc) all the mommy judging begins. I’ve heard that it is humiliating to a child or treating a child like a dog. Really? I’d like to meet a 2 year old that says “this toddler leash is humiliating me!” It doesn’t happen.

This is completely my opinion, and since you guys know that I’m all for a Mom Boomerang take it for what it is, but I think it’s not such a bad idea. I’d rather be safe than sorry when my toddler wants to walk in a crowded place.

What do you think? Do you use a toddler leash? Would you? Do you think it is humiliating and kids shouldn’t be subjected to it? Or is it just a way to keep our babies safe?



  1. I used to think it was a bit much and in humane. But now that I have a rambunctious toddler of my own I am all over it. I am 5 months pregnant with my second child and seriously can no longer chase my little road runner. So I too whip it out in crowded places, especially the mall, walks to the park, wherever I feel she may get too far away from my. And when she gets a little too out of control with the leash I have the stroller as backup since I am not suppose to be lifting her at this point. All in it is all about safety and I could care less what others think of me. My job in this lifetime is to keep my children safe by any means necessary!

  2. Super cute! My daughter had the eddie bauer one that looks like a teddy bear. She thought it was just another toy, and would always kiss and hug it whenever we got it out, though she didn’t enjoy wearing it. Of course, she also didn’t enjoy holding hands in a store, and I don’t see that as a restraint either. It didn’t really prove to be practical for us. I was hoping it would allow her to walk more independently instead of fighting us on holding hands, but instead we only used it a handful of times in really crowded situations where we wanted an extra measure of security without forcing her to hold hands for an hour at a time. Things like state fairs, zoos, and that kind of thing. It was good to have then.

  3. Once I lost my son in a store. Luckily it was a fairly small store, but I can tell you THAT was humiliating! While I was searching for him and calling his name, he was headed out the front doors and about to go out to the parking lot. Thankfully, someone brought him back and they had to call me over the intercom that they had him up front. I was embarrassed, to say the least.

  4. My wife and I are taking our 18-month-old daughter to Disney World next month and will definitely use a tethered backpack. I was opposed to it in the beginning, because I thought we should teach her to be always close to us. But after taking her to the mall, park, etc, I realize those are not the places to teach/test our children. Better safe than sorry and we will still keep up with her, so it’s not like she’ll be pulling the “leash” and we’ll be hanging back as if walking a dog…

  5. I use the Eddie Bauer backpack/leash that looks like a monkey. My son is three and I have a 5-month old. I use this every time I’m in a busy parking lot where I don’t want him to dart away and get hit by a car. He loves it. I’ve only had positive comments from other people.

  6. I think the Owl Backpack with strap for parents is adorable. I DO use them, not all the time (as you stated) usually when in crowded places and I don’t have help (and can remember to bring one!) So, do I care what others think~politely no. But I know, some think it’s not right. I’m ok with that, they can think what they want. Others, have commented while I had a child
    using one, and they stated to me that it was a clever idea(and would’ve liked one when their kids were little.)
    They are not humiliating for kids, my girls liked them and play with them, when in the house even. In the big scope of things, I would be far more humiliated as a parent if I had “lost” a child while out and about, rather then knowing they are right there and with-in reach. Some kids run and run without concern about if mom or dad can see them, and this works as a teaching tool to stay close to mom/dad.

  7. Before I had kids I swore I would never be that mom… Now I have three.. 4 and twin 6mos old and I would 100%use a leash safety tether whatever it’s called if needed!! What’s safer a child that might dart off or a cute “leash” I’m with anything to help keep my kids safe and still let us explore the world!!! And to those people who want to look at me look away folks I’m a parent who is concerned about safety and keeping my child away from danger!

  8. I use a backpack with a tether on it whenever I’m traveling in an airport with my kids. My three-year-old loves his “backpack with a tail.” And I love that it allows him to safely have a bit of independence. He can walk “on his own” without fear of him getting separated from us.

    Unfortunately, people will always be judgmental. My thoughts: which is more loving? To ensure his safety by keeping him close to me (while giving him the pride of walking “all by himself.”) or allow him to walk by himself and risk separation in a crowded airport full of strangers?

    The great thing about parenting is that we have the freedom to do what is in the best interests of our own children. It may not be for everyone, but they have been a great resource for our family.

  9. I wish I had this at the airport a couple weeks ago. I was traveling on my own with my 15 month old and no stroller. I put him down to put on his coat. As I was zipping it, I dumped my bag. He kept pulling away as I was trying to put everything in with one hand. Then he ran and was standing at the top of the escalator when I caught up to him. I am so thankful he stopped. My heart still stops beating when I think about it. Toddlers love to be independent. I wouldn’t use it always but definitely when traveling. I used to judge parents but now I get it. It’s just like with a lot of things, don’t judge until you have been there.

  10. This particular “leash” isn’t bad looking, but I’m still not sure I’d use it. Mostly because other people (especially non-parents) are super judgmental about these things… to them it’s almost like using a toddler leash is the same as holding up a huge sign that says “hey, i’m a bad parent & can’t control my kid!”

    Not saying that’s the truth about toddler leashes, but it’s something to consider (for me, at least). I’m obviously not immune to what other people think of me. Also, my kid isn’t walking yet & I have no idea what that will be like when it happens… I may end up deciding that a leash is the way to go.


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