Website: Children's Harnesses by Elaine, Inc. www.childharness.ca
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Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Stroller Safety Strap

(My niece with her Stroller Safety Strap from Childharness.ca.) 

The other day my niece was visiting with her new baby and when we were heading out for a walk I was surprised to see that her (extremely high-end) stroller was not equipped with a safety strap for her to loop around her wrist.

REALLY???

I asked her if she would like me to make one for her and before I could even finish my question she was saying "YES!".

When my own boys were small I had a jogger for them and I'm pretty sure that all joggers come with a wrist strap. It's a critical piece of safety equipment and gives you the confidence to take your hands off the jogger without worrying it - with your children - will roll away on you. I was accustomed to that feeling of safety and I must tell you, when I was pushing the stroller the other day while my niece walked with her husband I found it nerve-racking not having the feeling of that safety strap around my wrist. I didn't have the confidence to take either of my hands off the stroller and I was terrified that a bump on the sidewalk with dislodge my fingers. I'm sure I permanently dented the cushioning on the push bar, my grip was so tight.

That night I made her a wrist strap and sent it off to her but that got me thinking - are these things available? If so, what do they look like? Now, keep in mind that I've been working with webbing and sliders and d-rings and rectangle rings for many years now, so I do feel I'm justified in expressing an opinion about someone else's quality..... 

Here's what I found; 
1. the safety strap made with a metal d-ring
This thing looks great. Cushioned strap so it's comfortable on your wrist, nice and thick, looks durable. So what's the problem? 
i) See where the material is sewn around the straight edge of the d-ring? Believe it or not, over time, the d-ring can cut through that material. It may take a while to happen but unless I had seen it with my own d-rings and webbing, I wouldn't believe it. 
ii) The strap is waaaaay too short. You'd have to remove it from your wrist to reach your baby in the stroller and anyone walking a baby knows how often you're reaching inside to adjust soothers and blankets.

Ok, moving on; 
2. the safety strap made with a plastic slip lock
i) This makes me very nervous because a slip lock is not meant to be used in this way; it is meant to keep 2 layers of webbing together so the webbing is kept neat and tidy. That's their purpose. Here, the slip lock is being used to take tension and stress (i.e. to hold the weight of the stroller if it drifts away from you), and that's not smart. Slip locks can crack a lot easier than you'd think when they are used incorrectly.
ii) It's also waaaay too short and it would ALSO have to be removed from your wrist to reach your baby inside the stroller.

There were other variations of these safety straps on the market and if cheap prices are your thing, you could get one for just a few dollars. Let's put aside the fact that you may have to rely on this safety strap to keep your baby from rolling off the sidewalk, but anyway, some people go for the lowest price regardless. 

For me, I've always been a stickler for quality. I have to be able to TRUST the product I'm using, especially when it came to my kids. And it has to be functional. The safety wrist strap that came with my jogger was too short and had single row box stitching which I didn't think was enough. The last thing I wanted to have to remember is to inspect my safety strap when I had everything else to do to get the kids ready for an outing. 

Which brings me back to the Stroller Safety Strap that I made for my niece
    1. The Safety Strap has a small loop at one end and a large hand-loop at the other. Choose a place on the stroller where you want to attach the Safety Strap. Feed the BIG loop through the SMALL loop, pull the webbing through then put the BIG loop over your wrist. 
    2. Two seams of reinforced zigzag stitching as seen in this picture of the small loop end of the Safety Strap
    3. Two seams of reinforced zigzag stitching and a velcro strip at the big loop end of the Safety Strap, as seen in this picture;
    The velcro strip is used to bundle the strap so it can stay attached to the stroller.
    4. The Safety Strap finished length was approximately 30 inches long. There are a number of reasons why the strap MUST have some length to it!! 
    i) You must have options to attach the strap anywhere on the stroller. If the strap is very short, you can only attach it to the top push bar, assuming your stroller has a top push bar (some models don't). 
    ii) The Safety Strap is long enough for you to reach forward and touch your baby inside the stroller WITHOUT having to remove it from your wrist. This is just plain common sense. There are many times during a walk when you have to check your baby or adjust their blankets or help them with their soother or sippy cup (when they are older). Having a short strap that restricts you from using both hands isn't practical, and having to remove the strap to use your hand isn't safe.
    iii) Which also means the Safety Strap is long enough for you to reach up and touch your face when the strap is over your wrist/forearm. Why? To eat! To drink! To put on your sunglasses! To take off your sunglasses! To wipe your nose! To get the hair out of your face! To zip up your jacket. To unzip your jacket. The other wrist straps on the market are about 12-14 inches long, and if you're a Mom who is 4 ft tall, it will work great for you. For the rest of us, it's too short, too restricting, and too annoying. Just use your other hand you say? True, but for me, everything I needed seemed to be always on the left side of the stroller or in my left pocket. Regardless, I didn't want either of my hands to be restricted in movement.
    iv) When your little one is older, use the Safety Strap as something for them to hold onto when they walk with you. Having a bit of length is GREAT for your child - they can walk close to you but still have some space to explore; something that a 12 inch strap would not allow.

So this is now my new mission: to offer Moms a HIGH QUALITY and FUNCTIONAL Stroller Safety Strap to attach to their stroller, to use now as well as later when their little one is walking.
* reasonable price + shipping. Remember, ya get what ya pay for so if you want something for $5.49 off ya go to Amazon!
* available in Black, Navy Blue, Pacific blue (pictured), Red, Purple (made for my niece)
* any length you like, though I would recommend 30 inches finished length for practical purposes

Contact me through my website, elaine@childharness.ca or childharness@yahoo.com, and put "Stroller Safety Strap" in the subject heading.

3 comments:

  1. With you working with webbing and sliders and the whole bit, what is your opinion on wrist links for children that are a bit older and my only need it once and a while. I also have my own harness design that I have put on my younger cousin(6) with some success.

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    Replies
    1. Hi FreedomFighter,

      Thanks so much for your comment and thanks for reading my article, I appreciate your interest!

      From what I've heard, the wrist links are very uncomfortable for the kids to wear, it really bugs the crap out of them having something like the link around their wrist which is why they remove it as soon as it's put on.

      For someone who is older and only needs a reminder once in a while not to wander too far ahead of the person they are with, they would be better off with a proper Child Safety Tether; it's comfortable to wear (it's just a belt) but very discrete and the tether can be removed when it's not needed.

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    2. I have my own harness design, I have used it on a 6 year old with some success, I need to have more kids test it by trying it on.

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