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Toddler harnesses ('leashes')

post #1 of 191
Thread Starter 
Just out of curiosity what do the rest of you AP moms think about the use of harness on a toddler? Is it appropriate? Is it inappropriate? Is it only appropriate in certain situations? Etc.
post #2 of 191
This is a huge can Of Worms around here: .

My Ds has a "back pack" that just happens to have a leash that clips on and off. He loooves it . Until he is satisfied to hold my hand and not run into the busy street that we live on the corner of, we will use it to go for walks.

When my sister was little and I was her 18 y.o. nanny, we had "sister bracelets" (two velcro rings with a stretchy cord in between) so that she wouldn't lose me in a crowd. No stigma and she never had to be forced or coerced into wearing them.

IMHO any safety device can be used in a respectful or disrespectful manner.

If this were a poll I would vote only appropriate in certain situations.
post #3 of 191
Thread Starter 
I thought it might be, but I didn't know. I hadn't seen it brought up before. I was curious as to what AP moms thought about them and why it is that they think well/badly of them.
post #4 of 191
While I don't use one regularly, I'm seriously considering getting one of the backpack versions for our upcoming vacation... For me, safety overrides any misgivings I have about using them.

I also don't have a problem with my SIL using them when she's out and about "alone" with her toddler twins. : They're always heading in different directions- so unless she keeps them strapped in that aircraft carrier of a double stroller of hers, harnesses seem to be the best GD option. (She's pregnant with twins again and can't sling two toddlers at a time with the watermelon sized belly she's got now...)
post #5 of 191
I sometimes use a safety harness for my son when we're out shopping in the town. If we're closer to home, when we go out to the shops or to the play centre, he walks (or should I say runs) there without one and darts down the street at 50 pmh with me running behind him He does hold my hand when crossing the road though and knows not to cross without doing that. I'd be too afraid not to have one in the town though, with all of the traffic and the fear of losing him in the crowd, he's so darn fast, bless him.
post #6 of 191
I used a harness a few times when ds was a toddler. One time I tied string to dd's and my belt loops, when ds was tiny and in arms, and we were in a very crowded spot. I have also asked them to hold onto my skirt a few times when they didn't want to hold my hand and had help pushing the cart at the store , among other things like pushing ds in a stroller, strapped in of course and using a sling. I think it is fine to take measures to keep your child close and safe. If the child is clearly distressed by the particular way you are attempting to keep them safe and close, I say find another way. So if the child does not like the harness and fights against it, attempt to find another way.
post #7 of 191
If I had twins or 2 babies close in age I would consider using one. as it is Sophie is fairly obliging at staying close to me. I see people using strollers to restrain kids all the time, don't really see a difference. At least with a harness they're still walking and getting some exercise. I think modern society with it's traffic and perverts requires parents to adapt a little from the 'ideal' of the free range child. If they need a strap tying them to a parent to keep safe then that's what they need. Evolution didn't equip us to take on cars at the age of 2. Like anything they can be used respectfully or not. I've seen parents with kids walking beside them without a harness and treating the kids like **** and parents using a harness and obviously being responsive to their children.
So I would vote yes, in certain circumstances.
post #8 of 191
This is a huge can of worms here. LOL!

I am the mother of a child with Autism. I have used a tether/harness, and would again, if needed. He is big for a 7 yr old,very strong, very active and can run away from us in a split second. He is high functioning, but has not yet been able to learn his address or phone number, so he could not help anyone find us if he is lost. We have not had to use one for almost 3 yrs, as he has learned to stay with me fairly well. Back when we used the tether/harness, he was almost totally nonverbal.

I also have a 1 yr old who is very active and who is too big to tote around and who hates the sling or other carriers. For now, he likes his stroller, but if he starts resisting that, I will get another tether/harness. I would rather him be happy and able to walk and explore, and me having a backup in place.

I think of tethers/harnesses as a backup safety measure, not a primary one.

It is not always a matter of lazy parenting, contrary to what some folks think.
post #9 of 191
I can't understand why this topic would open a can of worms. I really can't. Everyone single mama uses some type of "device" to keep her kids close and safe - be it a sling, a hand, a stroller or a harness.

I never had to use one because my DD is pretty compliant and never breaks away from me. On the other hand, she has sensory issues and will NOT hold my hand. I have used a stroller with her in it and I have also just pushed it along and let my DD hold onto the side.

If I had a child that was prone to breaking away and running I would have used a harness in appropriate situations - i.e., at a crowded amusement park, in a mall. I would not have used one in an easier situation - the park, my backyard, or the beach.

Safety comes first.
post #10 of 191
When my son wants to get going he will climb in the stroller, bring shoes, or bring his "backpack".

He knows that sometimes the choice is be carried, stroller, or backpack if we are near something dangerous (like walking on sidewalks of a busy street/parking lot or at the air port).

He loves to wander around and is happy to have the backpack because it keeps us from having to pick him up and redirect him every few minutes. And he HATES when we pick him up o redirect when he is in a wandering mood.
post #11 of 191
I was just wondering about this. I too have a backpack harness that got more use when I was pregnant than anything else. DS loves being able to walk and run.
post #12 of 191
We used one when Benji was a young toddler (under age 1 till about 1.5). It was wonderful because he could walk around without hurting himself. It made outings MUCH more enjoyable. He doesn't need it anymore because he'll walk close to us if we ask, but for that period of time that we did need it, it was a nice thing to have.
post #13 of 191
For me, safety overrides any misgivings I have about using them.

DD has a monkey backpack with a tail (which she insists on calling her "leash" despite my efforts to avoid that term) and when DS was first born and she was prone to running off in very dangerous situations, I used it. We haven't used it in a while but if the situation warranted it...I would use it again.

She actually still asks for it once in a while. It was a very useful tool for us when we needed it!
post #14 of 191
When I was small I know that my cousin, my brother, and I wore the old fashioned harnesses. My mother and aunt would take us out together a lot to crowded places. I know that my aunt received a few very negative comments at the BP Fair one time. I remember we were in the ladies room and someone said pretty snotty to her about it and she fired back that she would rather have him on a leash then lose him. They really got into it and I was pretty scared. I don't really understand why people get upset when they see someone using them.

I used the bracelet style one with my oldest child. If he didn't want to wear it I gave him other options as just holding my hand or riding in a stroller or buggy. With my younger children I have not used any harness device, but I have used my ring sling as a harness a few times. When I see people using them with their children I don't have any negative feelings toward them. Usually my first thought is the child may have special needs, then if it seems like it is just a parenting style, I think maybe it is a hard day for that parent or child, or maybe this is the exception not the rule. If I saw the same person over and over using a harness without an obvious need, like a crowded place or other children with them, I may ask out of curiosity why they use one. I would never just assume that some one uses one all the time however.
post #15 of 191
I have one for my 3-year old. I don't use it very often, but I don't see what the big deal as long as they're used appropiately in the right situations.
post #16 of 191
I see no reason for this issue to be divisive.

I think we can all agree that keeping our child safe is of utmost importance.

I personally did not use a harness. Other approaches worked for us.

But, I can easily admit that if other approaches did not work, and we had to go near potential dangers (water, traffic, crowded airport), I would do what I had to do in order to keep ds safe.
post #17 of 191
I see no reason for this issue to be divisive. I think we can all agree that keeping our child safe is of utmost importance.
post #18 of 191
Wow! I feel really bad because I did not expect this to be such a mellow topic with most people in agreement. This makes me happy

I personally have never used one because I have mixed feelings about them. I agree completely on the saftey part, but there is still something that just doesn't feel right to me about them. I don't know what or why though.

DS has NEVER been able to walk by himself really anywhere with out holding an adults hand because he will run at the first possible chance he gets. (this includes from the front door to the car even: ) So we stick to holding hands (very tightly I might add ), using a stroller or shopping cart everywhere pretty much.
post #19 of 191
I have mixed feelings about these things too. I can see in certain situations how they could be appropriate. You have a small child in a large crowd, or a special needs child as a pp mentioned, or a very active toddler. Idealy, moms would use them when needed and appropriately. The problem begins with those mothers who use them as punishment, or jerk their children around and use the leash as discipline and as a fear tool-that's where I have an issue.

I do however think that a child's safety should come first, when that is the goal, the true goal, then I have no issues with them.
post #20 of 191
I have never used one, entirely because I don't want to deal with the snotty comments I've head about other moms ("She has him on a LEASH... like a DOG!")

But I've never seen an unhappy kid in one. The kids always look thrilled to be able to putter around safely rather than be stuck in a stroller.
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