Monday 3 September 2012

Ignorant Claudia

When I was in 4th grade, soon after my parents divorced, my dad invited me to Disney Land. I clearly remembered him telling my mom that I would be safe because he would get a child safety harness! My mom's face probably said it all because the "leash" never found its way to our trip...thank God!

More than 20 years later, the story sadly repeated itself. As I was happily telling my dad about our trip to Brooklyn, he advised (well, it was more a fact than a suggestion) us to get a harness for Alice. "Um, no!" I said immediately. Alice doesn't have a harness in Montreal and Alice won't have a harness in Brooklyn.

Today, as Alice was nicely running in our living, Dan's mom (seriously) told us that it would be time to put a leash on our active toddler. I quickly looked at the floor and waited for Dan to changed the subject!

I'm aware that at daycare, when they go on their daily walk to the park, the kids are holding (toddlers have a Velcro attached around their torso or their wrist) a cute centipede like device. For safety and practical reasons, I'm 100% fine with that concept.

However, when you only have to supervise one toddler (and not 5), I think that the safety harness is a little bit extreme and could maybe create a false sense of security.

Alice is very active (she walks very well and runs faster and faster everyday) but she can also be very quiet in her stroller and in her baby carrier. We very often let her walk freely and so far she is pretty good at holding hands (she even asks for it). If we feel that she is starting to be a bit less cooperative (we are extremely vigilant), she goes back in her stroller / carrier (she might be upset for about 1 minute and quickly move on!) or we simply hold her in our arms.

And about Brooklyn, if we feel like Alice's safety is at risk, I will put Dan's camera strap around her torso and she will have the most awesome genuine leather kid safety harness on the market....awkward!!!!

So, what do you think about safety kid harness? Crazy or logical?  

Oh, and the full bangs is back :)


Jennifer said...

I bought one for Guy, but have yet to use it. Usually if we're out and about he's in a cart or a strolled, so it's not really an issue. But Gaius doesnt listen at all, hates holding hands, and runs crazy fast for a toddler. If we were to do Disneyland today, I'd try out the leash.

Ali said...

Different needs for different kids. One of mine had reins, one didn't.

The 'holding hands' thing is all well and good, but when your baby walks at 9 months they just aren't tall enough and don't yet have the mental capacity to understand safe limits.

What stuck in my throat was people judging me. It wasn't a leash. It was a way to allow my very active son MORE freedom and keep him safe.

Sid. said...

I definitely agree with the previous commenters: it depends on your kid.

I proactively bought a really good one for my daughter from a wonderful Canadian company ( but only used it a couple of times. I think putting squirmy kids in stollers for their own safety seems silly when they tend to behave better with more exercise not less. Also, now that we're expecting another child, I'll be happy to have it just in case my daughter decides she doesn't want to listen and/or hold hands near traffic (or the next one does).

I also think that the argument that you'll have a false sense of security only makes sense if you buy one of those crappy velcro wrist leashes that your kid can easily escape from.

UK lass in US said...

I've used a leash a few times with my kids, but certainly not as an everyday thing (nb. My kids did not like a harness, but liked the strap on the wrist thing, so Alice might not like a strap around her torso). Anyway, it came in useful for navigating the car park at the beach, when I had my hands full of beach stuff, for instance - then came off once we were on the sand. I think I used it on a zoo trip once, when I wanted the kid to not be stuck in a stroller all day, but had his little sister to deal with, too. That sort of thing. So I guess I would say logical - but I would say that it's not something a kid should need on a day to day basis in general (some kids might well be exceptions, though).

Sandra said...

I totally get it for daycare or more then one kid and full hands. Finn is a very good walker for 11 months and seeing that I'm short he is tall enough for me to hold his hand when we walk without bending over. I would always have a stroller with me but I let him out to get his grove on.
We were at the CNE the other weekend and people totally looked at me as if I were crazy for letting him
free range. I just keep an eye on him and pick him up when to much is going on.
I totally don't think you need to leash her. I would just make sure you always have another way to get her around with you. They need to stretch their legs and learn sometime about road safety.
Have fun on your trip!!

ashley said...

Torn. We had one for my little girl but it was useless. She would sit down until it was removed. When it does work, brilliant. We have become so accepting of prams- often seeing little ones whining and leaning trying to get out. I think they are at times more extreme. Harness=freedom to walk and run for the little one.
In this parenthood game I truly think that it has to be what works for each family in each situation.
My two cents! Good luck. X ashley

ashley said...

'we' is most of society;)

Vivian Doan said...

I went to the Brome Fair this past week-end and before that the street fair on Mont Royal. There are moments when I wished I had a "leash" type device. I literally took my eyes off my walking baby for 5 seconds as I discussed what flavour Churro I wanted to get with my husband and when I looked back where my baby was supposed to be, he wasn't and I panicked until I saw him 2 feet away on the other side of me. I'm not a bad mother, I just lost track of him since he's super fast. Busy crowded places would be ideal for that kind of thing. But on a regular day, walking you kid on a leash, not really cool. My two cents worth...

Maria said...

I tend to agree with ashley above and I always found strollers more constricting than harnesses. We had one of thos little panda backpacks that was really a harness and or daughter walked completely freely with it.....but the harness prevented her from going head-first in the asphalt and from suddenly running into the road. Did peopel look at us as if we were crazy? Sure! But I always thought that was ironic when they would have their kid in a stroller or carrier all day. Our little girl was never good at holding hands over longer periods of time, and to be honest it is not exactly comfortale for a grown-up to do so for long either. Also, at least here in Europe it is not always common with sidewalks, and sometimes when they are indeed there they are so narrow that it can be pretty scary to walk with a tiny toddler unless you have some way to control them. That said, we only used it in city situation when walking on sidewalks near heavy traffic and in very crowded spaces.

peanut said...

I think using a harness must be a very personal choice. So much would depend on both you and your babe and the environment you happen to be in. My grandmother liked them though and I had the opportunity to see one in action when we took my toddling cousin (10 months and a fierce walker) and his older brother with us on a shopping trip.

The harness let Arley wander however he liked within the range of the leash. My grandmother was able to easily keep an eye on him in a crowded mall without having to keep hold of his hand the whole time. She also pointed out that - provided the harness is fastened around the child's torso not their wrist - you can prevent a nasty fall with a quick jerk that will keep a toddler on his feet.

We didn't use the harness when we walked his brother several blocks to play school the same day it was only used when the chances of loosing sight of a very small person were a little too high for comfort. I really liked that it gave Arley plenty of freedom to explore while letting us keep him safe from getting lost or run into by busy shoppers.