The Pros & Cons of Toddler Leash Backpacks

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Leash backpacks are a super controversial topic right now, so of course. For the people who don’t have children, I can see that it would look a little weird seeing a child on a leash. I thought it was weird too, before I had a toddler. But once you have a toddler who hates strollers, wants to walk all by themselves, and will not hold onto your hand, I started to realize just how nice a harness toddler harness backpack would be.

I decided to buy the J.J. Cole Harness Backpack. I shopped around a lot before I decided on this one because I was pretty picky on the features I wanted it to have. Here’s the breakdown of the pros and cons of this toddler leash backpack!

Sadly, JJ Cole seems to have stopped making the toddler leash backpacks! They’re tricky to find. However; skip hop is still making them and they look awesome! 

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Pros of Leash Backpacks:

1. Peace of mind

backpack harness child leash

It’s easy for people to say, “just control your child,” until they have one. Toddlers like to run, and play, they don’t like to sit in a stroller, or be held. So child leashes, are perfect. They get the freedom, and I don’t have to stress that someone is going to snatch them, or they’re going to get lost in a crowd.

It’s crazy how many amber alerts there are every day! I live in Utah, somewhere most people would consider a safer place to raise children. Well about a month ago, at the Walmart down the street from me, where I personally shop for groceries, a man tried to grab a little girl. The little girls younger brother, mom, grandma, and uncle were all there. She was fighting her mom because she didn’t want to hold her hand. The little brother took a few steps away, and the mother lunged to grab him. In those few seconds, a man grabbed that little girls hand. Luckily mom caught her daughter’s hand and screamed to scare him off. What if he would’ve had a few more seconds? This made me realize, that even though I keep a good eye on her, all it takes is two seconds to lose a toddler.

For those of you that are saying, keep your child in the cart… how many times do you turn away from the cart to grab something off the bottom shelf, or get something your child through on the ground? Kids can get snatched out of the cart too. Not to mention most kids are yelling, or trying to get out of the cart the whole time anyway.

Kidnappers are crazy, and toddlers are busy. Leashes provide peace of mind, knowing that they are attached to you at all times.  

2. It’s the perfect size

harness backpack child leashThe J.J. Cole Backpack is the perfect size! It’s not too bulky, it’s super lightweight, and it can hold quite a bit. I don’t even need to take a diaper bag or a purse if we take the backpack, because I can easily fit a few diapers, wipes, sippy, pacifier, a snack, my wallet, my keys, and even some small toys or books in there as well. It has the large zipper pocket, and two mesh side pockets for a sippy, snacks, etc. There’s also a front pocket perfect for putting the leash inside when you’re not using it.


3. It has a detachable leash

backpack harness child leash

The leash detaches, so when you don’t need it you can just unclip it, and stick it in the backpack. Or you could just roll it up and stick it in the front or side pockets. Super easy. This is perfect for when we just need a backpack. It’s great for when you’re traveling, and need something to carry things to keep your toddler entertained. We also use ours for church!

4. It’s cute and affordable

The truth about child leashes, should you put your toddler on a leash

They are so cute! My daughter gets so excited to wear her “kitty cat pack-pack!” They have four different patterns, two for boys and two for girls. I also love that J.J. Cole sticks to similar patterns, so for me and my OCD, I can buy other accessories from them that match. Best part? They’re affordable, they don’t cost any more than others I’ve found that have fewer features.




Cons of Leash Backpacks

1. You get funny looks

People will look at you funny, like you’re neglecting your child. In this case, you should always throw your arms up in the air and lunge forcefully at them…just kidding! Just smile at them, and keep doing your thing. They don’t understand what it’s like to have a busy toddler. So there’s no point in wasting any time or energy worrying about what other people think.


2. It’s not as convenient as a stroller

Strollers are nice because you can stick everything in the bottom, your purse, diaper bag, shopping bags, etc. Also, if your child is tired they can just fall asleep in the stroller. But, my toddler… will NOT fall asleep. If there’s anything mildly exciting, she wants to be a part of it. She will also NOT sit quietly and calmly in a stroller. She will whine, and cry and scream to get out. That’s just her. She gets bored, she wants to be able to walk around and be a part of the action too. Ninety-nine percent of the time I take the stroller anywhere, I end up pushing an empty stroller, and my husband chases her as she runs around.

Now that I’ve given you my honest review of the J.J. Cole Harness Backpack, I can tell you that child leash backpacks are genius. They are not abusive, or lazy. Anyone who tells you that is ignorant, and it’s best to just ignore them. And for those of you who want to tell me to simply “control my child,” I have some information for you. My toddler is not naughty, she is not disobedient, she is busy, and she is excited. I never want her to lose her desire for exploration, and the joy she gets from learning and discovery through hands-on play. I don’t want to strap her in a stroller every time we go out. And I don’t want her getting taken, or getting lost.

A backpack harness is one of the best investments I’ve made as a mother. So if your child is busy like mine, by all means, get the backpack. But if your child is more introverted, likes riding in the stroller, or still naps in public, do what’s best for YOUR child. Because as mother’s we know what’s best for our children. Don’t let the people who are judging from the sidelines control what you do. Do you, mama!


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