When I saw this gadget advertised through TAMBA, I decided that I had to try it out. Kool Kangaroo have created Boomereins – retractable child safety reins that attach from a child’s waist belt onto an adult waist belt.
Since the age of two my boys have hated going in their buggy. I’d love to give them freedom to walk on their own, but as soon as I let them out T1 runs off and won’t listen to my yells of “stop” and “no”, so reins have been an essential piece of kit for me.
I know some parents hate the thought of having their child tied to them, but I think for parents of multiples it’s a way of life. If I didn’t use reins they’d be forced into the buggy even for short trips to preschool which would mean they’d get less exercise and they’d make my life miserable screaming all the way there.
Up until now I’ve been using a set of twin reins I bought from eBay. They are harnesses that have a long lead running off them. They can either be used as hand-held reins or attached to a waist belt for hands free use. I’ve never made use of the hands free as I felt they’d get tangled up in the leads if they slowed down, as it would just be hanging on the floor. I’ve also more recently been using wrist straps to walk them to preschool. We hold hands while we walk but the wrist straps just give a bit of extra protection if they pull away as we have to walk next to a busy road. It doesn’t give them much freedom though.
When I talked to Kool Kangaroo about doing a review of the twin version of their product I had mixed feelings. It sounded like an awesome invention, but it also had me a bit nervous. Would the boys cross over in front of each other and get tangled, would they try to run and jerk back when the reins locked at their maximum length, sending them tumbling over, and would they actually be willing to walk with them when they’ve been so used to our harness reins and wrist straps?
When they arrived, the boys looked at them excitedly. They loved playing with the pull out cord and letting it retract back. By the time they were clipped into their waist belts they were actually keen to have a go.
The product has a sturdy waist belt that can be extended (just be careful not to extend it right off as then you have to loop it back on again – although they are developing end stoppers to prevent this from happening in future versions). You have two little waist belts that fit around your toddlers and they clip into the buckles on your waist belt. Hey presto. Your little ones can walk away from you just enough distance to give them some freedom, without allowing them enough slack to get to the road.
I’ve now had them for a couple of weeks and have taken them out many times. My boys adapted to them immediately. They both walk normally without trying to cross over each other, and they don’t try to pull beyond the length of the reins. Having just a waist belt instead of a full harness seems to make them more settled – they pull less because they feel more in control. It leaves my hands free to carry our bags, or just enjoy the stroll.
My boys are two and a half now, and I feel for their age it is an excellent product. I took it along to twin club and somebody tried it on their 18 month olds and they seemed ok with it too, although I suspect my boys needed a bit more walking support from the harness reins at that age.
An initial worry I had was how quick and easy it would be to attach the boys to me when they come out of preschool. As soon as the clock strikes 3pm they are let out of preschool into the car park to meet me and I have to juggle them, their coats, pictures, bags and books, while trying to stop them from running in front of cars. Now I can now have my belt on ready, take everything off them and put it on the floor and put their waist belts on first so I know they’re safe while I sort out coats and bags. It’s no more time consuming than attaching wrist straps, and far quicker than putting their harness reins on.
I now only use these reins to go to preschool and childminder drop offs, and the buggy is just gathering dust. They will be absolutely fantastic later this year when I have my baby, as then I’ll be pushing a single buggy around and can still keep them close to me. I even think the waist belt is going to see me through my pregnancy (wearing it under my bump) as it has plenty of room left to lengthen.
When you have multiples it’s important to invest in products that make your life easier . For me this, is one of the most innovative products I’ve come across in a very long time.
*The Boomereins were provided to me free of charge in return for a review. All views are my own.