Toddler Harnesses/Leashes

Mazy - posted on 08/19/2010 ( 25 moms have responded )

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I have always been against putting children on leashes. When I saw it I didn't really think that the kid or the parent was necessarily "bad", but it just seemed kind of wrong...like there HAD to be another way.

However....I now have a 14 month old who walks, runs & jumps REALLY well. He's also very big & heavy. He now hates his stroller unless we are running in it. If we let him out of the stroller, he just wants to explore. Most of the time this is okay, but there are a lot of places where it really isn't safe. I am pregnant & will be having my second child in early December and I'm afraid that he's only going to get bigger, stronger willed, and more curious as I become even more pregnant!

We were in a museum last week & he got extremely fussy in the stroller. My husband let him out & he started running for the front door. I slipped & fell and ended up hurting myself pretty badly while going after him. So, I decided to get a harness. Right now, my back is so hurt that I can't even carry him. I can't afford any more injuries while pregnant, or especially after the new one is born. I have yet to use it, but am curious about just how bad the negativity will be.

I surfed online a bit before I bought it & found mostly negative comments regarding them, but bought it anyway on the notion that strapping him into a stroller or carrying him is a different kind of restrainment. I understand that a lot of mothers & fathers are against them, but I would like to hear some stories of parents who have used them. Are they useful tools in teaching a toddler to obey rules, stay close & control himself? What is the best way to teach a child to hold your hand? If you used one did you get nasty comments & how did you respond?

Thanks for the help!

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S. - posted on 10/03/2012

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Today I was driving to school and this woman was letting her child walk as she pushed the pram, within a split second the child shot off across the road, my first thought was STUPID woman should have that kid on reins! I live in England and I don't think people have the same attitude to them here like they do in other place. It baffles me how people can be so against a safty device, it's not treating you child like a dog it's keep them alive safe.



I was in the same boat as you when I got them for middle daughter Sienna and now I use them for her little sister nearly 2, when I am stood at a busy road struggling with 3 heavy bags of shopping a 4 year old and a 2 year old I won't to know i have hold of the one that could dart out in frount of a car. I am slowly getting to the point were she will hold my hand sometimes, if she let's go on go the reins. My 4 year old is not effected in anyway that she once wore rains too in fact she's the most charismatic little person I know.

Ileana - posted on 10/01/2012

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I bought the pink back pack harness from Babies R Us. My daughter likes it (she thinks she's Dora when she wears it). Once a woman in a store called her "doggie" but I felt safer knowing she couldn't wander away while I was paying at the counter. She's very independent and also doesn't like holding hands all the time. Of course she knows that we always hold hands to cross the street or when it's very crowded. And now she has a baby brother so I have to constantly switch attention from one to the other. Over all, I think it's been a positive thing and you can't let what other parents or strangers think. If it works for you, more power to you.

Ginny - posted on 09/26/2012

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when i had my daughter i was agenst them as well but after loosing her when we went to the zoo bc she let go of my hand i panicked it was a feeling you never wanna feel so the next day we went out and got her one that looked like a unicon back pack that she named bell. after loosing her once all ready i didn't care what ppl thought or even about the durty looks bc i knew she was safe and that i would never have to feel the way i did when i lost her at the zoo again . it also tought her that she could have some freedome and be a big girl but she still had to lisson to mommy.. i wish u all the luck and there not as bad as we think

Theresa - posted on 08/28/2012

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My honest opinion on this was yes at first I saw them and thought that it looked cruel and wrong, but after having my girls and now I'm pregnant with twins (my girls are 2 and 4) I am also thinking of getting a harness that looks like a backpack. My reasoning behind this is that I'd rather have my daughter (the 2 year old lol) basically strapped to me than to have her run off and lose her in the shops or have her run on a road and killed. I love my children and in the end I think it is ALOT safer to use a harness than to possibly have your child injured/lost. If you lose your child in the shops I'm sure people would be judging what kind of parent doesn't watch her children. Either way there will be people that judge, but it's your childs safety and it's YOUR decision.

Andrea - posted on 08/28/2012

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My daughter was born when my son was 15 months old - I wish I had a harness then. He is extremely active and fast so we own one now. My mom got it for him when she was going to be watching both of them for the first time and had to take them to a public place. She had just started walking so he was around 2 1/2. We put him in it at home and practiced walking with it and such - he thought it was great fun pretending to be a dog and his lil' sis got jealous so we had to let her take a turn too. In the end mom never had to use it. She told him the rules while they were out and that if he ran off he would have to wear the harness and he never ran off (nothing short of a miracle). I still have it (he is 3 now and I am expecting again) and we take it with us in the bag when we go to very busy places but have never actually had to use it as he very much enjoys his freedom and just asking him if we need to put it on gets him back in line.



My sister and her husband are very negative about us even owning a harness and we've heard all kinds of negative remarks on the subject but my response is always something like: If his safety depends on him wearing it or not then I will put it on him. I would rather get dirty looks from know-it-alls than have my son run out in front of a moving car.

Kirsty - posted on 08/27/2012

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to be honest i dont agree with them in my eyes harnesses for children are like dog harnesses and that show i look at the child like they are being treated like a dog.

BUT my friend has a 3 year old who is VERY boisterous they go shopping and he picks eveyrthing up pushes everything he is a little nightmare lol UNTILL....she got the harness and it works it magic for her x

Sarah - posted on 08/25/2012

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I have a puppy backpack that my son adores and it has an extended "tail" on the back that I can hold on to. We use it at the airport and in very crowded places, where, even if I am watching him like a hawk, you never know what that other person is going to do. I've also used it once when we were at Disneyworld in Florida. I agree with them, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. Just keep your opinion general and don't bash people for wanting to keep their child/children safe.

Jennifer - posted on 09/10/2010

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Ok, I got the backpack that looks like a dog for my son. My mom and aunt used it on him yesterday at the mall. It went very well! They got lots of positive compliments and people asking where they got it at!

I don't use it all the time, but when the situation is appropriate (when he needs to walk with me, but needs a little slack). Tomorrow, I have to take my son and the dog to the vet and I only have one set of hands and no help. I won't let my dog run loose and I'm not letting my son run loose in the office either.

Erin - posted on 09/03/2010

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I'll be looking into the backpack type myself for my 2 year old. She'd so much rather be able to take a walk with me while I carry her little sister than not be able to because I'm too afraid of having to chase her into the street! She's a very good walker and almost always holds my hand, but she's still two! So, our child will love the freedom and be safer - it's a no-brainer!

Tassia - posted on 09/02/2010

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When I had one child, I did not like them...now I have a very active 2 year old who does not like to ride in anything, she loves to walk! and a six month old I think it is a must have! I got a dora the explora back pack with a harness which I will give to her on her birthday on sunday and i don't care what people say or think i prefer her safe than feeling good about what people think! Be safe!

Katrina - posted on 09/02/2010

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before i had any children i was very opposed to using a leash. i didnt think they looked comfortable or very safe. although the people i saw using them were also just using them to almost ignore their children. now that i have an 8mon old and 2 1/2 yr old we love our monkey backpack. we never call it a leash. only our backpack. and she always holds my hand when she wares it. its just a precaution on my part, it makes me feel safer knowing that she cant run off somewhere i cant see when my younger one is in the stroller.

Jennifer - posted on 09/01/2010

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I have twin 19mo. old boy, and use "leashes" with them. I am using them now more as a teaching instrument, so when they run for the road during our walks, they can't get there, and then I tell them that they can't do that. I also have a 2 mo. old, and will probably use one with him when he starts walking also. I see nothing wrong with using them, as long as you're not using them because you're too lazy to watch your kids. I have seen people use them on their kids like they would a dog....strap around the chair leg while they are ignoring their child.

The "leashes" we have are like little backpacks. One is a monkey and the other is a bear, and the "leash" part is their tail. When they are bigger and no longer need the "leash" part, they can still use the backpack part.

I have never had anyone say anything to me about using them. If someone did say something nasty to me, I would tell them to shove off. Most people that are nasty about it either don't have children, only have one child, or aren't pregnant and trying to chase a runaway toddler.

Tina - posted on 08/31/2010

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I bought a leash type harness for my oldest son, it just wrapped around his wrist and it kept him close to me when I needed him to be. Yes I got a ton of dirty looks, but I needed to keep my child safe and that is how I chose to do it. I just bought a backpack harness for you daughter who just turned 2, I am due in 4 weeks and just can't keep up with her anymore and figure I can't just abandon a newborn in a cart when she decides to run off. We are going to a large outlet mall on Friday and I will be using it then. I really don't care how many dirty looks I get. My child is my responsibility and if someone doesn't like how I am doing it then that is their problem.

Jonna - posted on 08/30/2010

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I have a 4 year old, a 2 year old, a 1 year old and am due in two months with my fourth child... and a harness is my favorite parenting tool! My son (2) is also very strong willed and will throw fits if he has to stay in the cart... he prefers the independence that the leash allows. He will ask to wear his "monkey" (his is a harness that looks like a stuffed monkey on his back, we also has a puppy one for my other son). Wearing the harness did teach him that he could walk like a big boy, but had stay near me. Now, most of the time he doesn't need it to stay close, but he still likes the comfort of it, I guess knowing that I won't leave him or walk away while he's not looking...

As for negative comments... I have on rare occasion gotten comments, but never from people in the store, more from friends or family members. I respond to any comment by saying that the safety of my child is most important to me and my child is in no way emotionally harmed by the use of a harness. He ASKS to wear it and is very protective of it! When they have a bunch of little kids then they can judge!

Sarh - posted on 08/29/2010

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I personally would not use one. It's your personal opinion and don't worry about comments or looks from other people you are keeping your child safe and you and your unborn safe as well. I am very against harnesses/leashes, because I feel that people miss use them so they can be lazy, but in your case w/being pregnant go for it!
However, have you tried getting a wagon? I know w/my cousin and my daughter they were not so fond of the stroller because it is "constricting" to them and they don't have much room to move, etc. But if you get a wagon, granted you can't use it everywhere, but for the museum and things like that it would work. Have you tried giving him finger foods for while he is in the stroller to keep him not so much entertained, but occupied? Or even lots of fun toys!
I have read that placing your child on one of these leashes could affect your child's self esteem. Especially if they see that other children are not on a leash. Or if they see animals being walked on a leash.

Erin - posted on 08/28/2010

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Mazy, no one knows your child and your body like you do! If you feel like you need a way to keep him from running off and the harrness works...do it!
I have a 2 year old daughter that is a runner and i am due with my second baby in 7 weeks... so i give her a choice, stroller or my hand...thats it. And i tell her...if we can't do one of those 2 things we are going home! and I have done it too! She now knows i am not playing around...we will just go home. It works about 95% of the time and the other times we do go home.
When the new baby comes get a sling, it will prevent you from having to tote the heavy car seat and the leash at the same time.
My only suggestion is to keep your eye on the lease. I have heard of them being cut.
Do not take the looks to heart if you get any...they don't know anything about you or your family!

Jaeseana - posted on 08/26/2010

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I have two extremly active twin boys & a 2 month old. I bought the twins harnesses when I was prego...they have the kind that looks like a monkey so most people think they are cute...however I do get some looks or comments & I really don't care because I know at the end of the day my boys are safe...recently I heard on the news a family friend killing a toddler who ran in front of his pickup truck....may that poor little soul rest in peace but I couldn't help but think that may not have happened if he was wearing a harness

Letitia - posted on 08/26/2010

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i live in ireland and dont recall any negative-ness. maybe i was too busy trying to 'carry' my child in the harness as she thought it a great 'swing'. she used to run a little and then lift her legs. we had to stop using the harness once she got a little heavier and the harness unlocked itself and she fell in a heap.



that said, a child in a harness with some 'looks' or a child going awol or worse....i know what i choose.

Shannon - posted on 08/25/2010

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I have a two year old little boy and i always use the harness when we are walking anywhere. we have a monkey one. he loves it! we'll be walking down the sidewalk and people will be like, "hey, you've got a monkey on your back!!!". i put the strap around my wrist and then hold his hand, that way, if he lets go he can't run out in the street. he likes to run!!

Jane - posted on 08/24/2010

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i haven't bought one but i do use the shoulder strap from our computer bag - i latch one end on the baby's stroller or to the loop on my jeans and the other end to the loop on the back of my daugther's jeans. i started doing this when i was pregnant w/our 2nd.

i believe that parents who use them, love their children. the world has become a crazy place and at the end of the day, i want my babies safe and sound. no different than teaching them to cross the street. you can tell any people that if they comment.

Ashley - posted on 08/24/2010

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they make gear to "wear your baby" instead of a baby harness get a moby wrap, they have how to videos of ways to hold him on your back, when I was pregnant and my first was 18 months I used it and it doesn't hurt my back at all. Or I used the sling ring, you can hold your baby on your hip!!! I would look into those before using the baby harness!! if you need help or questions let me know



EDIT to add: its not bad that you bought a harness (i didn't want you to imply i said that) but there are other ways if you are interested

Jennifer - posted on 08/23/2010

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One word, mama - safety! My son is 17 months old and I'm due in January. My son wants to move constantly. And he doesn't want to hold my hand or slow down. He hates strollers, shopping carts, his carriers, etc. He's a regular little monkey. I've been looking to buy a harness for him. I've been looking at the ones that are like an animal backpack, so it doesn't look as much like a pet harness. But, just remember if people do give you dirty looks - you're keeping your son safe.

Kelly - posted on 08/22/2010

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i brought one and my son wont use it - i have threaten him with it and that has helped. he does run off at times but not very often now. I have a 8week old baby too and he likes to stay with me now cause he wants to be near the baby.
I wouldnt be concerned about other opitions on these things as you know your child better and if he is the running off type then its better to get him in one so he doesnt hurt himself and in time he will learn he cant run off and you wont have to use it.
I have been lucky my first son never needed to be put in it but i may not be so lucky with this one.
Do what you think is best for you and your situation.

[deleted account]

Screw what other people think. If it will work for you and make your life easier (and your child safer), buy it.

Ashleigh - posted on 08/21/2010

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I haven't used one but I am tempted to buy one myself, I have a 2 yr old and I am due in 6wks and I'm not sure how I'm going to handle being out alone with both. I can't think it can be any worse than getting the dirty looks when I am picking him up by his arm trying to get him on his feet again. Good luck!

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