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Tips for Keeping Your Child Safe While Shopping

Now that my daughter tries to exert her walking independence more, I have to think about safety while in public. Most of the time she still rides in the cart or on my hip, but sometimes I let her walk. Except… she runs and doesn’t pay much attention where she is going! I only allow her to do this in stores that aren’t very busy and where I am not distracted with shopping. This means Rissa gets to run around at Best Buy and Home Depot while we wait for daddy!

As she gets older and learns to listen better, I will feel more comfortable about letting her down to walk when she wants. Regardless of how busy a public place is, here are some good safety tips to keep in mind from The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)

  • Keep children with you at all times while shopping.
  • Accompany and supervise children in public facilities, including restrooms.
  • Have a plan in case you become separated, including a pre-designated spot to meet.
  • Teach children to look for people who can help, such as a uniformed security officer, salesperson or mother with children.
  • Remind children to remain in the area where they become separated.
  • Turn shopping trips into opportunities to practice safe shopping skills.

I admit, I’ve considered a child leash. Overall I don’t like them, but lately I’ve been wondering if they would help my daughter explore without getting separated from us. It’s a tricky situation, especially since they are controversial. For older toddlers and preschoolers a walking handle, like Gripsterz, would be appropriate. Gripsterz is a handle with Grippy the monkey on it that kids can hang on to while shopping with their parents (or in any other public place).

It’s not a child leash because it’s adjustable belt attaches to the parent that the kids hang on to so they can explore while still being within a safe distance. I like the concept! It’d also be helpful for when mom’s hands are full, like in the parking lot after a shopping trip. I remember being asked to hold onto pockets and belt loops when I was a kid, but this would have been easier.

My daughter – at 17 months old – will not keep a hold of the walking handle, so we aren’t ready to use it in public yet. At home, if I’m too far away and give the strap a light tug, she just drops it. I’m not able to explain safety yet in a way that will help her stay by my side, but in time this might be helpful for us. She does like the little story book that comes with it about staying nearby.

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Jerri Davis

Thursday 12th of April 2012

Never Let Go Of Their Hand. Thank you. Jerri Davis

Janelle Prentice

Friday 6th of April 2012

I'm in the same boat! My son's the same age and very curious! He does pretty well in the cart as long as I've got toys and books for him though!


Friday 6th of April 2012

My son is going on an airplane with my stepmom in a couple of months and I had no real concerns until my husband said he thought the boy could wander off...then I got worried. We've talked about a "leash" but this might be a better idea!!


Friday 6th of April 2012

With Rissa I know she'll wonder off, but I think even once they know to stay close it's always a possibility. And we know that even if we watch our kids like a hawk they just need a nano second to get out of eye sight!

Elizabeth P.

Friday 6th of April 2012

I have a leash and a handle... I don't care what other people think. just trying to keep my Kenzie safe :)


Friday 6th of April 2012

I understand that. My view has changed since my daughter started walking. Heck my views have changed a lot just by having a kid.. I thought I knew it all before lol yeah right!

Terri Babin

Friday 6th of April 2012

Great idea! I'm not a fan of toddler leashes either, but a walking handle would be great!



Friday 6th of April 2012

I like that it encourages them to stay nearby but without forcing them. It's like cautious exploration. And they don't feel like a baby with mom holding their hand either.