Monday, August 15, 2011

To Harness or Not to Harness...

As you may have deduced from the title of this post, TC and I are currently debating whether or not to buy a todder harness for Dude. We're not quite decided on it yet. I have read some articles that laud their ability to keep a child safe while allowing them freedom to explore and move independently, and others that condemn them as demeaning tools used by parents too lazy to parent properly.

While I recognize that the toddler harness, like any other tool, can by abused or used improperly, I have to say that I'm much more sympathetic to the former view. There are some children who are content to sit in a stroller, or hold your hand if they're walking. Dude is not one of these children. He is a fiercely independent, intensely curious, energetic 15-month old who doesn't yet understand that he shouldn't run into the street or to the other end of the mall. He also gets upset if he's forced to stay in his stroller for too long as that requires sitting still for more than 10 seconds, and since he's currently the size of a 3-year old (seriously, the kid is huge!), carrying him for more than 5 minutes kills your arms and back. Assuming he'll let you carry him in the first place. We don't have a car, so taking Dude anywhere means walking on busy streets and in busy subway stations. Letting him go free range at this age just doesn't seem like a good idea.

What about you folks? Have you ever harnessed your kids? Do you think they're a bad idea? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the issue.

8 comments:

Annie said...

I have a friend who uses the harness with her son (who is quite similar to yours by the sounds of him :)) and I think it's a brilliant idea. It's sure made a difference for her! The baby is happy to explore but he's kept in a safe distance to the parents. Makes sense to me!

Anonymous said...

So, I'm wondering.... did you get the harness? Sounds like a great idea to me. I couldn't imagine trying to contain a busy boy on Toronto public transit.

Anonymous said...

My daughter-in-law uses one for her children They have a "monkey" harness. The little one asks for his monkey and is content walking with it. Many years ago I used one for my children. It never harmed them but get them out of harm's way.

Anonymous said...

I had a "harness" for my children. I used it grocery carts and even in the highchair. I too had not one but two like your son; as you described!

There will come a time when he will have to be disciplined and learn to sit still, so let him be 'free' while you keep him safe!

Marcia said...

My sister lives in England and used one for her energetic second son 20+ years ago. It was after a fright when he decided to hide from her in a store. Do whatever it takes to keep him safe and who cares what others think? They wouldn't be someone you would bring into your circle anyway.

jab said...

Absolutely a great idea. I used one with my 3rd child and it probably saved his life a couple of times. He was extremely active, impulsive and would dart off into traffic in a split second. I like the "monkey" harness idea too!

Anonymous said...

I know that this is 18 months too late but I had to tell my story about harnesses. My son who is now 39 yrs was a very active child. Today he would have been ADD. Well we lived near a creek in Nfld and he always wanted to be outdoors. So I decided to harness him and connect him to the clothes line with a 20ft dog leash. My son had the time of his life playing and suffered no harm from creek or street. Yes I did get criticized but my son (with 2 girls now) totally agreed with my method.

Anonymous said...

The harness is the best invention since sliced bread. Keeps my child safe while still helping him be independent. With parental supervision of course.