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.