Juggling multiple children in public can be tricky. A stroller or baby carrier can help, but when kids decide that they're grown enough to walk on their own, heaven help a mom without enough free hands to hold onto them. Family owned and operated company Naptime Industries makes a product that solves this problem. The tag*a*long is essentially a stroller handle that older siblings can use to walk side-by-side with caregivers as they push a stroller or shopping cart. By giving children something specific to hold onto, parents using the tag*a*long can promote independence and keep toddlers firmly within reach.
The tag*a*long is a product born out of sheer necessity. Parents Stephanie and Jason Arnold designed the unique handle while expecting their second child. "I had always noticed kids holding onto the strollers around town and wondered why no one made a special designated 'spot' for children to hang on. When we got pregnant with our second baby, I realized there was an actual 'need' for a product like this," Stephanie tells Romper.
"It was then that my husband — already an industrial designer in the juvenile products field — started to tinker with some random items from the hardware store and mocked up a prototype. We gave them to our friends with kids to get some honest feedback and after rave reviews we knew we had something," she says.
Rave Amazon reviews speak to the success of this ingenious product. With over 88 percent of product reviews giving tag*a*long five stars, it's easy to see why parents love it. (The rest are all four-star reviews with complimentary comments, in case you were wondering.) My kids are past the age of strollers, but I sure do wish I had one of these when my boys were younger. It definitely would have saved my oldest son from multiple scoldings when he refused to stay by my side while walking out and about.
Not only is the handle convenient, but it also comes with a safety feature that may not jump out to parents immediately at first glance. A small "tooth" is located within the space where a child places their hand. This helps to ensure that the child does not slip their entire hand through the device and get it stuck. According to the company's website, the product was tested on kids ages 3 to 5 in order to create a design that was comfortable, yet still safe.
All tag*a*longs are made in the USA using flexible plastic that is free from BPA, PVC, and phthalates. Their website states that the same type of plastic is used for car bumpers, which speaks to the durability of the product. The one piece design is approximately 11 inches in length, which allows kids to remain within arm's reach while holding onto it. This length gives just enough distance to help them feel independent and not get run over by stroller or cart wheels, but close enough that they don't fall out of sight.
Promoting independence is part of the genius of the tag*a*long. It's also one of the things the Arnolds love most about the design. "Helping lend a hand where moms have none has been so rewarding. We also love to promote independence with kids and believe the tag*a*long is the perfect tool for this," Stephanie says.
Versatility is also a key component of the product. According to the website, parents who use the tag*a*long have found several unique ways to use it. While the most obvious uses are attaching it it a stroller or shopping cart, other parents have reported their children holding onto it while attached to luggage at an airport, an infant carrier while they walk their child into preschool, and a parent's wheelchair during a stroll with their child.
The true innovation of the tag*a*long seems to be helping many parents in multiple ways. I'll say it again, I really wish I had one when my kids were younger. Friends of mine can look for this in baby shower gifts from me for years to come.