Website: Children's Harnesses by Elaine, Inc.
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Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Stroller Safety Strap

(My niece with her Stroller Safety Strap from 

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.


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, or, and put "Stroller Safety Strap" in the subject heading.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Hands-free Parent-to-Child Tether

hands-free parent tether
Lately I've had a lot of requests from parents for a means to keep their child with special needs close to them while they are pushing a stroller with a younger sibling. 

Other situations would be when the parent wanted to have their hands free to do things like carry groceries through the parking lot. 

In these cases, I have made a separate belt for the parent to wear and a separate tether with a snap hook at each end for them to connect themselves to their child with special needs.

The hands-free parent-to-child tether has an O-ring on it that can easily move around their waist. One end of the tether is connected to the O-ring on the parent belt, the other end is connected to the O-ring on the back of the Special Needs Safety Harness

The tether between parent and child is about 2 1/2 feet long.

As with all my products, strength and durability are a priority. The buckle on the parent belt is the strongest I have; American made ITW Nexus Classic with a 200 pound break strength. The O-ring on the parent belt is the same quality as the O-ring on the Child-to-Adult Harness (500 pound weight capacity), and the snap hooks on the tether are also the same heavy duty snap hooks that I use on my leads (same snap hooks that are used on horse tack).

The hands-free parent-to-child tether costs $30 and is available in black, navy, red, purple or pink.   

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Removable lead attached to a backpack

Temporary lead on his backpack will keep us together in the crowds
This weekend I'm taking my 8 yr old to The Royal Winter Fair. Last year I took the older one and gosh was it crowded on the Saturday! I'm expecting the same this year so in preparation I made this lead that I've put around the handle at the top of his backpack. It's a slip-knot attachment so it's easy to remove when we get home. It's about 4 feet long so enough for us to walk comfortably together and give him some freedom but not so long that it takes me a while to bundle up (like when we're waiting for the train on the subway platform). 

The backpack closes with a buckle across his chest. This was something that I had to add to the backpack right at the beginning of the school year. Not being the most organized of households, we were frequently sprinting down the street to the school and as they ran, they had to hold onto the shoulder straps of their backpacks so they didn't leave them behind on the sidewalk. Rather than be more organized in the mornings, I added the buckle closure to hold the shoulder straps together and give the backpack a secure fit. And no, we aren't running to school EVERY day.....

Both my boys are neurotypical and whereas the older one will stay by my side (and talk my ear off) whenever we go out together, this one is much more curious and MUCH more independent. He'd have no problem taking off to explore hither and yon if he felt like it, which is rather stressful for me because I would then have to spend all my time staring at the top of his head rather than looking at the booths and displays. Having the lead to keep us together is the difference between not going at all and having an enjoyable afternoon in the city, just me and my youngest. 

And we can still hold hands if he wants too.    

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Autism, Special Needs car window sign

"Child with Autism on Board, medical details OVER"
About 2 weeks ago, my sister asked me to make a sign for Mom's front door that said "No soliciting, No flyers". Many houses in her home town had these signs but she didn't see any around here. I got on the internet to find something locally and after not having any luck, I made one myself to hang on Mom's door. 

My sister's request got me thinking about signs for seniors. Then I started thinking about signs for my customers. Would they like to have a sign for their car (think "Baby on Board") that said there was a child with special needs in the vehicle? That type of sign might be helpful. I did another internet search and the only items I could find on the market were car decals for Autism Awareness. Hmmm. No signs at all that tell other drivers this car has a passenger with special needs.

Now, the most amazing thing about my business is the amazing parents and amazing children I have as customers. A quick question posted on my Facebook fan page and I had my answer - a sign for the car was a good idea. In less than a day I put pen to paper, took my draft to the sign shop and put the process in motion. As with many things in my head, the ideas continued to evolve and I decided on 2 signs; one for Autism and one for Special Needs that would hopefully appeal to my many customers who have other diagnoses.  My signs are UV protected laminate and measure 8 inches x 4 5/8 inches. They attach to the interior car window with 2 velcro adhesive circles. Each sign comes with 4 circles; use the extra for another vehicle or keep them in reserve. If your car has tinted windows, the sign can be placed on the dashboard like a wheelchair parking permit. On the back of the sign, use a permanent marker to write on the plastic laminate important information about your child. If this makes you uncomfortable, write instructions instead, for example, "See medical details in glove box", or "See info packet under driver's seat". In the event of an accident where the driver is incapacitated, police, firemen and medical personnel will be able to learn critical information about your child that you may not be in any condition to relate yourself.

I'm selling my signs for $7 each. The stamp for the envelope will set you back another $1.79 and there will be taxes applied if you're in Canada. You can read more about them (and hopefully) place your order at Autism, Special Needs Car Window Sign. Thanks for your interest, and thanks especially for your input that encouraged me to develop this exciting new and unique product. Elaine

Monday, 7 February 2011

March Break and travelling with a 4 - 5 year old. Is it worth buying a harness for 'one' trip?

So you're headed out of town for March Break. You're all excited about getting away and you're making your lists and organizing your stuff for yourself and your kids and you've laid it all out on the livingroom rug.

Uh oh. How much of this can be crammed into regular checked baggage and how much is going to be additional baggage at a cost of $20 or more per bag each way? Do the airlines really need more of your money on top of your airfare and airport tax and whatever other taxes and expenses that balloon their "seat sale" from $299 to $600?

To take the stroller or To not take the stroller. That is the question. 

Your 4 to 5 year old has been walking all over the place with you for some time now and it seems like those days of hauling the stroller in and out of the car are over. But at the airport or just because you're leaving the country or just because you're going someplace you've never been before, maybe dusting off the stroller and taking it with you would be a good idea. You can strap in your independent one and keep a close eye on them. But the stroller is awfully bulky and maybe the times it will be used the most is at each end of your trip.

Now I must confess that I loved my stroller. It carried everything we needed for our outings and sometimes it even carried a child. It was an essential piece of equipment for us and I never stepped outside the house unless I had the stroller, drinks, snacks and their harnesses. If this sounds like you, then it's a No Brainer. The stroller is the first thing that's packed for your trip.

But if that's not you and you haven't used your stroller for a while, maybe you can get by without it. Hm. Ok, if leaving it behind is an appealing idea, how will I keep track of my kid?

Well funny you should ask. How about one of my Child-to-Adult Harnesses? It's not such a bad idea if you think about it. My harness bundles into a small pouch that is very easy to toss into a purse or day pack. The lead is detachable so your child can wear the body part of the harness all the time. When crowds come along, attach the lead to keep everyone together. And unlike paying more at the airport for additional baggage and having nothing to show for it at the end of your trip, you still have the harness. And chances are very good you'll use it more than once.

But there is another factor in the argument to consider using one of my harnesses that is far more important than any sales pitch I can throw. The feelings of your child. It can be a little overwhelming for them dealing with crowds at the airport or shopping in an open market in another country. Wearing a harness in those strange places will give them a sense of safety and security having that physical connection to Mommy or Daddy.

My own boys continued to ask to wear their harnesses long after they were needed. For them it was their comfort level, their sense of security and safety knowing that I was holding their leads.

For them, it was like holding my hand.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Do you write your cell phone number on your child?

Is he wearing a cell phone #?
I'll confess that I don't belong to any parenting forums but a few years ago when I first started my business, I wandered into one to see what the word was about harnesses. I quickly learned that the safety strategy of the day was to write your cell phone number on your child's neck before leaving the house. The idea was, if you lost your child they would surely be found by a Good Samaritan who would call your number and wait for you to come and collect your little one. This strategy was overwhelmingly preferable to using a harness with your child.

I got out of that forum and went into a few others and the word was the same. Writing your cell phone number on your child was hugely better than even CONSIDERING using a harness. Never use a harness. No no. Geepers, what would people say about you? What would they think?

 Sure I'm biased toward harnesses and obviously I'd be delighted if every little kid had one, especially one of my Child Harnesses LOL, but I must admit I was completely thrown by this whole "write your cell number on your kid" idea. It's a wonderful strategy if you could be assured that your child would be found by someone like me or you. Well, maybe not me because I don't have a cell phone so I'd have to track down someone who did so you could be called and told we have your child. But you wouldn't mind waiting a bit longer while I did that would you? 

Or would you? 

And this is where I know I differ from the women in these forums. I would be a complete and utter wreck if I lost sight of my boys in a crowd. Incoherent, hysterical, likely vomiting with worry. I can only imagine - actually, I don't want to imagine - my reaction if something like that ever happened. But the Moms in these forums were so cool about everything! Don't stress! Write your cell number on your toddler, it will all be fine! No big deal. If you get separated, you'll get called! Just don't ever use a harness!

Ok, but why not use a harness so you don't have to worry about losing your child in the first place? 

Call me crazy but I like to repair the fence while the horse is still in the barn. 

Friday, 21 January 2011

Traveling with your Toddler? Maybe you should pack a Child Harness

If you are planning a trip for March Break you may want to consider packing a Child Harness for your little one.

Since you don't use a harness at home, why would you need one when traveling? A couple of reasons come to mind. 

If your trip involves taking a flight, you'll likely have to arrive at the airport early which may translate into an extended period of waiting before your flight boards. Furthermore, if  your child's stroller has been checked with the rest of your luggage, you won't have it with you while you wait. But filling in that time by going for a walk is an excellent opportunity for everyone to get some exercise, especially your little one, and having them on a harness while doing so will keep everyone together.

Traveling is exciting for all family members, including yourself. There is lots to see and do. But you're likely to have a heightened sense of paranoia in a new place and looking around to enjoy the sites while keeping your eyes on your walking toddler may be more stressful than you thought. Having them safely on a harness at your side will allow you to walk with your head up and your eyes a-gander most of the time.

Whether you're at home or away, your child's stroller still morphs into a magnet on wheels for all sorts of stuff that comes from nowhere. Before you know it it's carrying everything BUT your child. But that's fine if you have a harness for them. They can walk and you can continue to shop. When they're tired, they can lay on top of everything to keep it from falling off.

Where you're headed should also be a consideration when thinking about whether or not a harness would come in handy. If you're visiting a major theme park such as Disney almost every child you see will be wearing a harness so you'll blend right in.

small stuff sack
If you have never used a harness with your child but are thinking of getting one specifically for a trip, it would be a good idea to order it in advance so everyone has a chance to get used to it prior to departure. My Child Harness comes with it's own stuff sack so it's easy to tote along and toss in your purse - NOT your luggage!! - to have on hand whenever the occasion arises. It may quickly become an essential item that you won't leave home without.