Last updated: September 11, 2020

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Babies start taking their first steps around the age of nine months. At that time, they hold on to objects or are held up by their parents. Our little ones clearly still lack balance, which is why we need to hold them constantly – and this isn’t particularly comfortable for anyone. If you are facing this challenge, baby harnesses are all you need.

Throughout our shopping guide, you will learn more about the best models, as well as the ins and outs of this particular product. While baby harnesses aren’t very popular or widespread yet, many families find them extremely comfortable. From the primary shopping criteria to their benefits and drawbacks, everything you need to know about these accessories is right below.

Key Facts

  • Baby harnesses are accessories that wrap under the armpits or genitals with belts and a strap to allow the child to stand upright without falling. Originally created to help young children with walking difficulties, they are now used by many families.
  • They offer various advantages, such as security, since they provide better balance and are much more comfortable for parents who no longer have to spend their time bending over. However, you should use your baby harness mindfully, moderately,  and with the prior advice of your pediatrician.
  • A baby harness must first and foremost be safe. It should comply with all U.S. regulations, be made from materials suitable for children, and be comfortable. You will find various such models in the following section.

Our Selection: The Best Baby Harnesses on the U.S. Market

You have to evaluate a series of aspects before finding the right harness for your baby, and we will look at them further down. However, the personal needs of your little one remain the number one factor in your decision. Since every child is different and choosing the best model can be challenging, we have compiled the most popular baby harnesses on the market for you:

Best Baby Harness: Amazon’s Choice

With hundreds of quality reviews and high ratings by past users, this toddler harness by Mommy’s Helper has become Amazon’s Choice in the category. With a strap adjustable from 30 to 42 inches, it wraps around the chest of your little one comfortably while supporting the armpits. The velcro fastener is resistant to children but easily removable by adults. To make your life easier, this product is also machine washable.

Best Backpack Safety Harness

If you’re looking for a fun and versatile harness for your child, Goldbug’s safety backpack is what you need. Available in 7 cute animal forms – from monkey, to panda, to frog, it will certainly attract your little one. In fact, it might be hard to have them take it off. Luckily for you, you can easily detach the leash-tail and watch your kid wander around with their backpack. This product is designed for children aged 18 months and up.

Best Full-Support Baby Harness

This walking harness is suitable for a fairly wide age range– from 7 to 24 months – with a chest circumference between 18.1 and 15.9 inches and a maximum weight of 44 pounds. The straps and buckles are adjustable to improve the child’s comfort. Made from 100% cotton and 3D mesh, it is risk-free for your baby’s skin. This product adapts easily to the growth stage of your little one while keeping you safe from back pains.

Most Comfortable Baby Harness

Last but not least, this compact and stylish harness is about as comfortable as it gets. The buckle around the chest and straps around the shoulders are easily adjustable as your little one grows. Suitable for children aged 18 months to 3 years, the length of the leash attached to the harness can also be changed to give more or less freedom of movement depending on the situation. Note that machine washing is not recommended.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Baby Harnesses

While their use is not very recognized yet, we certainly encourage you to opt for baby harnesses because of their many advantages. But before you can buy one for your little one, you should know a little more about this product. In the following section, we have answered the most frequently asked questions regarding baby harnesses to help you make the right purchase.

We always recommend discussing the use of a harness with your pediatrician.
(Source: Александр-Борисович: 80079841/ 123rf.com)

What are baby harnesses exactly?

They originated from therapeutic care to assist babies and children suffering from motor development problems. Their use became widespread, and they have become part of everyday life for many American families. Nowadays, baby harnesses help children take their first steps while standing upright.

The use of a harness stops children from falling while also preventing back pain for parents who don’t have to bend over anymore. Also, a baby harness helps you keep your little one close to you when they can walk on their own. This accessory is generally placed around the genital area of the baby and features straps to which a sort of leash is attached for us to hold onto.

Adam Spanier, M.D.Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine

“This might be a product for a child that tends to wander off if not closely supervised, for crowds to avoid getting lost, for child with developmental delays, and for children with impulse control issues.”

What are the advantages of baby harnesses?

There are very conflicting opinions on the use of baby harnesses in itself. On the one hand, some parents prefer the traditional method and leave these accessories for therapeutic use only. On the other hand, others have tried them and were very pleasantly surprised by their comfort and benefits. We have listed all the advantages and drawbacks of baby harnesses below:

Advantages
  • Increased safety: your baby is safer when taking their first steps since the most recognized use of harnesses is to prevent falls.
  • Comfort for parents: you no longer have to bend down to hold your child.
  • Muscle development: babies exercise their muscles by supporting their feet more easily and maintaining their balance.
Disadvantages
  • Children can develop a dependency and need them to walk properly.
  • Forcing a baby to walk too early can cause developmental problems.

We always recommend consulting your baby’s pediatrician with any questions or doubts you have. Their professional opinion naturally takes precedence over any information you find online.

Dr. Benjamin SpockAmerican Pediatrician & Author of Baby and Child Care

“It seems to me that the parent who happens to have an especially active toddler, particularly if there is also a younger child in the family, can use such a harness arrangement as a very effective safety measure while shopping in supermarkets or other places where toddlers can easily do damage to themselves or the merchandise.”

How should I use my baby harness?

As we saw earlier, the baby harness was created for children with motor functional diversity. There are, therefore, specific issues to consider if you decide to buy this accessory. Just like with any children’s item, you must learn to use it properly to avoid harming your little one. Here is a list of recommendations for baby harnesses:

  • The comfort of your baby should always come first. If you realize that your child doesn’t like it, under no circumstances should you insist or force them to wear it.
  • The use of a baby harness should be moderate so that your little one does not become accustomed to it.
  • Always use it after your child has shown signs of walking. Otherwise, you expose them to various developmental problems.
  • Make sure that the product you choose complies with the regulations and is totally safe to avoid it causing falls.
  • Using a harness is recommended for children who take a long time to learn to walk or who have difficulties doing so. However, you should always consult your pediatrician first.

The comfort of your child always comes first.
(Source: photobac: 74476167/ 123rf.com)

What types of baby harnesses are there?

There are currently two main types of harnesses for babies and children. Knowing how to differentiate them will help you find the most suitable model for your child. Keep in mind that both types are aimed at improving the motor development of our little ones. We have compared them in the table below to make your decision easier:

Harnesses for babies with hip dysplasia Walking harnesses
Recommended for This type of harness is intended for a hip development issue called dysplasia. Designed to help them develop normally, these models should be recommended by a doctor. They help make your baby safer when standing up to walk while preventing falls.
Age Under 6 months of age Around the age of 9 months, depending on the indications of the manufacturer 
Use In addition to being more comfortable for parents, these harnesses are used to correct illnesses in babies. They help children take their first steps and maintain balance.
Price Around 60 dollars From 10 dollars up
Example Pavlik harnesses Child backpacks

When can my child start wearing a baby harness?

You know just as well as we do that every baby is different. While there are age ranges during which most children will start walking, it is essential to respect the personal growth of your little one. In that regard, babies generally begin to walk – or at least try to stand up and remain upright – around nine months of age.

Before you purchase a harness, make sure that your baby has stood up by themselves and begun to take their first steps. You should never use a baby harness before this has happened. Once it has, this product will help prevent falls. Use it moderately and let your child walk without a harness too, so as not to create any dependency or developmental problem.

Baby harnesses originated from therapeutic care to assist babies with motor development problems.
(Source: Michael Simons: 21299780/ 123rf.com)

Shopping Criteria

Whenever you purchase a product for your little one, there are various basic requirements that should be met. These factors are essential to avoid putting the health of your baby at risk. Besides, you should always make sure that the model you opt for is suitable for your needs and that of your child. We have detailed the fundamental shopping criteria for baby harnesses in the section below:

Safety

The most important criterion is always that the product you buy is safe for your child. In order to do this, you should opt for a model that complies with the regulations relating to this type of product and that it meets the quality required for children’s products (CPC). Don’t forget to read the item’s description to find out more about its safety features.

The characteristics of specific harnesses make them more suitable for our children. Models with greater support around the armpits, shoulders, and genital area, for instance, offer more safety. The number of fasteners, as well as their durability, is also essential. Safety is also influenced by the manufacturing materials and recommended age of use of the harness.

View this post on Instagram

Often a controversial topic but a harness for a toddler will be your best friend in busy airports, malls and even for a walk along the beach during travel. Your toddler has just learned to walk and wants to practice but keeping your eye on them in busy areas can be stressful. Padded for comfort with adjustable shoulder straps the Snuggletime Security Straps keeps toddler safely in sight. #SnuggletimeTravelTip Does not always work so well with a pair though 🙈😆👇🏼. . #Repost @the.fox.mom with @get_repost ・・・ From the moment I knew I was having twins I jokingly said I would just get a baby leash for them and all problems would be solved. So, when I went to @babycityza to get some straps for the pram and car seat which we seem to lose on a weekly basis I came across those baby harness from @snuggletimeza and I just couldn’t resist and bought a pair. My nanny tested them successfully on Friday at the aquarium and I now keep them in the pram – just in case I like to take the girls out. Only problem, Mia marches like a steam lock pulling towards every dog she sees while Stella is slowly trotting along like a granny leaving me right in the middle. Also the harness easily comes off with a strong pull. It’s a nice gadget for a toddler who does not like to walk on the hand as Mia does but rather hard to manage two babes with different personalities. ✨ This was not a sponsored post and not a paid review either ✨ What do you think of the harness/baby leash? Yay not nay? 👇 #notsponsored #babyleash #babyharness #twinmomproblems #twinmomlife

A post shared by Snuggletime (@snuggletimeza) on

Comfort

Before you use a baby harness, you need to make sure that your child is willing to put it on. This won’t be the case if the product is uncomfortable to wear. Your baby should be calm without feeling any sort of pressure, rubbing, or pinching. This is why the vast majority of harnesses come with padded parts. In any case, you should immediately remove it if you notice that your baby is uncomfortable.

The baby harness you purchase should also be comfortable for you. One of the purposes of these accessories is to prevent back pain in parents when holding their children. If the model you opt for does not have a long enough strap, you will have to bend down anyway. Note that certain harnesses are height adjustable.

Dr. Jennifer HartsteinFamily Psychologist & Adjunct Professor at Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology

“Some children who are incredibly impulsive or have special needs can put themselves in dangerous situations, so using a harness could be a good thing.”

Materials

The manufacturing materials of any child product are fundamental in determining whether it is safe or not. They must be hypoallergenic, non-toxic, non-constricting and, if possible, organic. As you can imagine, the less it is processed and transformed, the better!

When it comes to harnesses, the best options are those made from 100% natural cotton. This material is the most suitable for a baby’s skin, as it doesn’t cause allergies or chafing, is suitable for sensitive skin and is comfortable to wear. In addition, cotton allows you to use your baby harness all year long.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B58Pz7UnXGz/

Size

You naturally need to evaluate the size of the harness before you buy it, as the height of your baby will determine whether it can be used correctly or not. In that regard, we strongly encourage you to opt for an adjustable model that will grow with your child. Some models can be used in various ways, depending on the size of your little one.

Weight & Age

The recommended age of use is fundamental for any children’s product, and this is no different with baby harnesses. On this point, remember that most harnesses are recommended from the age of eight or nine months onward – although this always depends on the child. Also, don’t overlook the maximum weight supported by your model to prevent breaking.

Summary

Baby harnesses were originally created for therapeutic purposes to aid children with motor functional diversity. However, their use has now spread. They provide greater safety to children taking their first steps, keeping them upright and preventing back pain in parents.

If you decide to purchase a baby harness, it is essential that you first know how to use it and follow specific recommendations, such as using it moderately. As you now know, the product you choose must also meet specific criteria. These address the manufacturing materials, comfort, or age of use, among others. However, the most critical aspect of all remains the safety of the harness for your child.

We hope that you found our shopping guide on baby harnesses useful in finding the right model for you. If that’s the case, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below. You can also share this article on your social media!

(Source of featured image: Александр Борисович: 80079854/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Topaz Gomez Obstetrician
Topaz is an obstetrician by profession and a mother of two sons. She knows a lot about the education of small children. Besides her work in the hospital, she likes to take care of the children of friendly parents and works as a blogger.