What do you think of using a harness on little kids?

Krystle - posted on 10/19/2010 ( 108 moms have responded )

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My son is 15m and running around like crazy! I want to give him the opportunity to run around, but he also has a quirk where he hates having his hands held. I was contemplating using a harness (for when we walk to the park, for example) that way he can walk to the park without having to hold my hands. (Plus, I think it'll be funny to say, "Time to walk the baby" lol). But I'm not sure yet.



Thoughts on using a harness?

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Renae - posted on 10/19/2010

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I have told this story about 4 times on here, so apologies to those who have read it before, but I'm going to tell it again.

This story is for anyone who thinks putting a child on a leash is a bad thing.

Many years ago I was walking through a shopping mall, a young man carrying a little girl walked past. He was walking quite briskly like he was in a hurry, but it didn't look too out of the ordinary and noone seemed to have noticed them. But as he walked past (I am getting goose bumps right now telling this even though I have told it so many times), as he walked past I caught the little girl's eye, she looked straight at me and she looked terrified! The best I can describe it is that she looked so scared that she was just frozen. Something was wrong with this picture so I called to the man to stop. He didn't. I walked after him, calling out to him, he started running. I ran after him. I ran over benches and pot plants and was yelling for someone to stop him. Luckily I was very fit at the time and used to run for exercise. I caught up with him and grabbed his shoulder. He spun around and immediately said "she's my daughter". I said, "no she's not". Then it occured to me that while I was chasing him I had not thought about what I would do when I caught him! So I said "give me the girl". He again said "no she's my daughter", then the girl suddenly reached out to me, I grabbed her and pulled her away from him. I pulled her so hard I hurt and bruised her poor little arms. The man ran out the door (we were close to the door by the time I caught him). I yelled for someone to stop him. By this time a few people were staring. Another young man realised what was going on and chased after him but did not catch him.

Later when we were all being interviewed by the police they told me that the mother had been in a women's dress shop. She was standing at the counter and there was noone else in the shop except the 2 shop assistants, one was serving the mother and the other was hanging clothes. They thought that the man grabbed her while her mother was looking through her purse for her credit card. They said that child abductors are very fast and snatch children right out from under the noses of parents all the time.

You can hold your child's hand every second. You have to let go to pay for groceries, or collect your shopping bags or whatever. And when you let go just for a minute like this mum did, someone can grab your child without you even knowing. My baby has a harness and I dont care what anyone thinks about it.

Jade - posted on 10/19/2010

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im not a fan of the wrist straps u could accidently hurt there arm but the one that goes round there body is gr8 and more supported rather than just round a wrist and i agree i would rather using one than letting my son get run over or suthing else happening to him x

[deleted account]

I've already replied that I think they are wonderful, but the comments that they are just for disobedient kids or kids who don't listen kind of get under my skin. My son started walking at 8 months. From the time he was almost 10 months to the time he was almost 2 years, he HATED his stroller. My son is also very small--at 10 months, he stood a whopping 24 inches tall. Before you bash harnesses, I would love for you to walk around a mall, or even just up the street, bent half way over sideways holding the hand of a 2 ft tall baby. Oh wait, I guess my 10 month old should have known all about stranger danger and traffic by then and how to stay right beside me without wondering off or getting distracted. And don't tell me I should have left him in the stroller screaming--The exercise and walking practice was good for him, and I'm sure the people around me didn't want to hear him screaming for hours on end because I was too stupid to figure out that we could both walk comfortably if I used a harness.

Christi - posted on 10/19/2010

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When your kids are not old enough to understand hold my belt loop or hand or are special needs like my son is, the harness is perfect. My son loves to run around and cannot handle being strapped into a stroller. The harness keeps him within arms length and lets face it, would you rather risk losing your child because they slip out of your hand and run off, or would you rather use a harness? My son's is like a lil backpack and it's a monkey. He can put his sippy cup in there and just run around with me.

[deleted account]

I personally don't care for them, I would have my kids hold my belt loop if they didn't want to hold my hand. I just hate seeing perants with there kids on a "leash and watching them constanly tug them back,(like what you do when you dog doesn't listen). I always told my kids that they had to stay next to me or withen eyeshot. We would make it a game that whomever stay close by got to do something special... But, to each there own.

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108 Comments

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Chesnie - posted on 08/09/2012

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I use the monkey harness with the tail on my 3 yr old an she loves it.no one ever has said anything to me or within earshot of me. They smile at how cute she is and think its cute if they never seen it before. I would deffinitly use the monkey one, kids love it and they can stay within a good distance and they love putting the "backpack" on! Trust me, no one Will say anything!

Monica - posted on 08/08/2012

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It's been made to keep them safe, not to compare them with dogs! The wrong is in the head of the people who judge it like that. I go out for walks with my toddler on the harness and I don't feel embarassed. I would feel much worse if he escaped my grasp and ended up in front of a speeding car!

Beverly - posted on 08/08/2012

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To Summer, I am sorry your post was the 1st one I read that stated you do not want to use a harness as you would feel like you were walking a dog. Yet, since it was the 1st one I read I am only responding to your statement not you as a whole person. That is absurd! I have contemplated the harness for a long while now, b3ecause I have heard comments such as: 1. How horrible! That child is not a dog! How dare they treat their child that way!! 2. How lazy that mother is, if her child is going to run away she should discipline her child, teach it the correct way and "Hold their hand, or hold them on their hip!!" 3."I can't stand seeing a child on a leash it makes my blood boil, how awful!"
Well, I say all those that said those things were self righteous, and they are perfect parents,lol! (Not)
Some children do not learn in the same way as other children, Try educating yourself instead of trying to make yourself look holier than thou. It's not becoming,For some of us it is a life saver, my son has Autism and I have gladly accepted that I will purchase one of these Harnesses. We will be going to Disney and I want my child to have an amazing time, as well as other members of the family also. This will give him the sense of freedom and security. I would rather have my child safe with me, rather than lost or hurt without me. Period.

Valeri - posted on 11/02/2010

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We got the monkey backpack for my son before he could even walk. For the most part it has worked well for us. The bad - 1. until they are old enough to "hold the tail" while you walk - they sometimes try to run away (imagine that) and end up falling backwards. 2. If you get the cute "backpack" type harness and you want to use it and your stroller (eg. the zoo - in and out of the stroller) you have to keep taking the backpack off. If I simply had a harness you wouldn't have to worry about it. The good - my son is safe; we get tons of compliments on its cuteness and it makes life in the city a little easier (like getting a toddler and a folded umbrella stroller on the bus). Now that my little guy is 2 he wants to ditch the monkey and get the Mickey one!

Catherine - posted on 11/02/2010

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I have twins plus one and I will get a couple as soon as the stroller is no longer the preferred mode of transit.

Tamara - posted on 11/02/2010

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I don't think any parent should criticize another parent for using the leash or harness because every child is different. I do day care and my son was one who I would just say stay where Mama can see you and he would but some of the kids that I watch will forget you are even there and run off If you don't have some kind of harness to keep them close. I'm sure you should do what feels safer to you because you know your child best:-)

Joy - posted on 11/02/2010

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I use(d) a harness w/ all of my babies. I got ones from walmart or target that were like animals on their backs, the tails were the leash. My babies loed them and now my 3yr old also my 5yr old to "walk"him! The only thing I want you to be aware of is peoples need to give you their opinion on what your doing while your out. Everything from "how cute" to "that's disgusting". The important thng is to know that the only thing that really matters is your child's saftey and how you feel the best way to achieve that is. Also somebabies hate them will pull and refuse to move so a body harness as opposed to the wrist is best!

Laura - posted on 11/02/2010

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I would love to have one for both my 22 month old and 4 year old (she acts younger than her sister most of the time), but DH wont hear of it. He thinks of it as you joked "Walking the baby"...like a dog leash. Because we dont use them, I fear Ive not gotten them out as much as they need, just for fear of something happening to them. I also never take them to places like malls, etc, as I know I cant be right there 100% to keep them safe. Even stand alone stores I dont take them both in, unless its the grocery stores where they have special carts for both to sit in.

Gretchen - posted on 11/02/2010

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My youngest daughter is 28 months old, and she too has tons of energy. She refuses to hold my hand because she is so independent. I was shopping in Target and noticed that they had some really cute harnesses that if I were to have purchased them, I wouldn't look as inhumane using it. She totally loves monkeys, so I found this harness from Eddie Bauer that reminded her of her Curious George monkey. It has a pocket on it's back that opens and closes with a piece of velcro, so it allows for her to hide things and make it more of a fun thing, than a prison sentence. I would rather have my daughter on a (leash)harness, then have that one opportunity come up where she let go of my hand at a not-so-good-moment, and something terribly horrible went wrong. A few times, while walking in my neighborhood, I have gotten some stares, and I tried to make a joke about it, but they totally agreed with what I was doing. It just reassured me that I was doing the right thing. If anyone has anything negative to say in regards to what I AM doing with my child to keep them safe, they can toot their own horn. Unless they are walking in our shoes, they don't have too much room to talk.

Lee Ann - posted on 11/01/2010

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I use them with my daughter who is now 2 years old, she dose not like to listen very well when you tell her no or to stop, so for her safety and a little bit of freedom i felt it was the best thing opposed to a stroller which of course my child can un hook herself from and climb out of, I have had a few people give me dirty looks or say in a smart remark i would never do that to my child, i actually said back to a lady who said that to me..."so you have kids?" and she answered with no...."i said well then you don't understand"......plus it not only keeps her in my sight and strapped to me but i dont have to worry about someone taking her either, kinda like a peace of mind, my little girl thinks its funny for some reason when i put her harness on her

Jill - posted on 11/01/2010

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My son is 2 years old and doesn't like holding hands, I got him a harness last year and it works great!!! He loves that he can walk himself and I don't have to worry about him running off and getting into trouble. I travel with him and you really need one when your in the air port too many people there, so you can always know they are right there with you. To many sickos out there looking for a Child to grab

Hilary - posted on 11/01/2010

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Harnesses are brilliant for little ones, and as they got older I used wrist straps too. My 4 yr olds still willingly put theirs on when I explain its so that in crowded places we can't get separated. I think harnesses are a great way to encourage little ones to be independant whilst you keep control.

Jane - posted on 10/31/2010

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i think they're great. Eddie Bauer makes the cute ones - you or he can pick a monkey or a puppy dog. i've used them for both of our kids at these ages and they love their "backpack". bottom line is that as long as my kids are safely tucked in bed at night so i can smooch them, then that's all that matters. before i bought the Eddie Bauer ones, i used to use the shoulder strap from our camera case and our computer bag, i'd hook the loop on the back of their jeans on one end and the other end on my jeans.

Ashley - posted on 10/30/2010

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My parents and I just had this discussion about "the leash" as they call it. They think it is cruel and lazy of myself if I put Aiden in one. I told them they have a right to their opinion, but I am for "the leash". There are too many people out there that could do harm to him if I glance away from him for just a second. Or he could dash away from me into an on-coming car. He hasn't started walking completely on his own yet, but I will DEFINITELY be investing in one soon. I will know where my son is at all times out in public. He will always be within arms reach. I cannot risk letting something bad happen to him if it can be prevented by a simple harness.

Noel - posted on 10/30/2010

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that would be a funny thing to say...my 22 month old is also very, oh whats the word, energetic and my mother keeps "suggesting" a harness and belive me somedays when i am out with him and he is running around like a madman i dare to conside it.ultimately i think it is just not right FOR ME.i strongly believe that every child and family is different.what works for someone else may not work for me.i say, go with your gut, if you feel comfortable with it, why not?happy walking mama!

DAWN - posted on 10/29/2010

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I bought some about 2 years back.I was going on a trip with my two youngest which were 3&5 then they both got a kick out of them,didn't even have to use them.Then and Now they play with them acting like puppy's with them...This is so not funny anymore...

Sarah - posted on 10/29/2010

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I've used one with my nearly-four yo, since she was 18mo. She's a runner, plain and simple. And when I had another little one, I couldn't simply chase after her. Now that I've got three children, it's even harder to run after her. Case in point. We walked into the Coles/Kmart complex, and she bolted down to the other end of the shops, to look at the toys. I was carrying a baby, and holding a toddler's hand. If I'd remembered to make her wear it, she couldn't have gone too far. I get 'the look' from lots of people, but I don't really care - I'm their mother, and it's my job to keep them safe - even from themselves. Mind you, mine is just a plain blue job, not one of the cute animal ones.

Susan - posted on 10/29/2010

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Completely agree with them! Plan on using them when my daughter lets go of my fingers. I'm from GA. When I went to the UK, I noticed children in harnesses quite a bit. Let your child pick out his harness or get one that has his favorite character or animal. I think you'll both like it!

[deleted account]

If you have a need for it, then by all means use it, and use it properly.

No need to be apologetic for it or to justify it to anyone else. He's your son, so do what you think is best. No need to solicit opinions from anyone else. Just do what YOU think is best.

Erin - posted on 10/28/2010

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I have one it doesn't work that well because I still want to go one way and my son another. Or if I need to go and he wants to stay he'll just sit down on the ground or floor.My little guy is a challenge and a 1/2 lol. But if it works for your little one I see nothing wrong with it. And shame on anyone who judges you for it.

Amanda - posted on 10/28/2010

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Honestly, I don't really like the harnesses but I have contemplated using them though because of my 2 year old wanting independence all the time. I think it is better to try any safety precautions that you can even if anyone who really wants to abduct a child will. That's life but at least you would know that you did try your hardest to protect your child.

Also... I have a feeling that some people aren't even reading any of the other replies posted. I can see why people don't like leashes and why they do. I'd rather judge someone for not giving their child adequate supervision than for using another safety precaution such as a harness.

Good luck Krystle and don't let anyone make you feel bad about anything! Just do your best to be a good parent and that's all that counts!

Audrey - posted on 10/28/2010

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I think they are a great idea! I have every intention of using one on my little boy when he gets big enough to walk places :)

Samantha - posted on 10/28/2010

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Both my husband and I thought that buying a harness for our youngest son was the best $17 that we could have spent. He loved it and now he doesn't run so far away from us any more.

Aenea - posted on 10/28/2010

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Everyone is entitled to there opinion. I have two boys and did not use either one. If I was going in my purse to pay for something my child was sitting on the counter in front of me helping me go through it. Either way it doesn't matter if a person wants to abduct your child they will. They can cut the child out of it. What it boils down to is having more and more great citizens of this country to be more alert and quick to jump at it like Renae when out in malls, stores, parks etc.. The Parent Patrol or something like that. Where those involved carry something noticeable to the perp and or child everyone to represent it and that child if having to can come up to that person. That person would have a number and procedures to follow to return the child safely and others can snatch the perp up until police arrives..

Gena - posted on 10/28/2010

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I swore that I would never put my child on a "leash"...that was until I had one:) My son is a very active 3.5 year old and we have had a backpack one since he was about 2. He LOVES it and never fights putting it on. It just makes things so much easier by giving him some freedom and not stressing me out if he is a few feet away!

Renae - posted on 10/27/2010

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To everyone who disagrees with leases...

Go find out the statistics where you live of the number of children under 5 that are snatched by child molesters every year WHILE HOLDING THEIR PARENTS HAND! Yes its shocking but its a fact that everyone should be aware of.

Suzanne4 - posted on 10/27/2010

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There is nothing wrong with it. Our daughter considers it a game. She is 3 years old and I like the harness because I can let her walk with me and I always know where she is. This works very well while I am shopping.

Barbara - posted on 10/27/2010

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I'm not sure where to get it, but I was given a GREAT harness when my son was little. it is a monkey back pack, and the tail is the leash. He loved it and it worked great for giving him "controlled freedom" as my son has a habit of just wandering off, super curious about everything. Hope this helps.

Andrea - posted on 10/27/2010

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My daughter hated the harness thing and doesn't like to hold hands. I just had to fight through the hand holding thing. If we are walking in the street or parking lot, we hold hands for safety. If we are on a sidewalk, then they get to run out ahead as long as they don't go too far. (No further than I could run if I needed to get a hold of them.) Or run along side him. I'm sure that would be a great work out. lol

Gabrielle - posted on 10/27/2010

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I don't have a problem with other people using them, but I never have or would for my kids. I think if you are having obiediance problems with your son staying close when he is told I think harnesses will not help in changing his behavior. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying you have a disobediant child, but that maybe he needs to work on listening a little better when you tell him to stay close. I think you should try to change the behavior first, that being said if parents can't control their children in public a leash would probably be appreciated by many people around them.

Marji - posted on 10/27/2010

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We bought Emily a pink puppy harness. We let her pick out which one she wanted and she loves it. She has even insisted on wearing it around the house. If you make it fun for them, I don't see an issue with it. She will even hold onto the puppy's tail like mommy and daddy do while we are walking. It gives them the freedom they want and gives you the peace of mind you need!

Judi - posted on 10/27/2010

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My son has autism, he didn't understand road safety, hated holding hands and was overwhelmed by noises and smells and lights and movement - but LOVES being outside. He had reins, it didn't make his a dog, it didn't make him a brat, but it made him safe and not lost and not DEAD under a car, becuase if you have a child that doesn't understand safety you need to either lock them in a stroller or car to go anywhere or have them in reins. They are functional. - I wore reins too and I'm a fully functional member of society today. So if your children don't need them great but don't judge people that love their children enough to put reins on them. We don't judge you.

[deleted account]

I use a harness with my 16month old son and we both love the freedom it gives him (just try to remember not to click like you would to a horse when around other people if you don't want odd stares lol... on the other hand, who cares what other people think, especially complete strangers!!!). It also gives me peace of mind that I can quickly grab him out of harm's way - I see too many toddlers slipping out of their mums' hands when they wriggle hard, and it is nice to have the safety net of a harness. Interestingly enough, I find that my LO will still hold my hand sometimes, even when in the harness.

Lisa - posted on 10/26/2010

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I used one with my first son & will with my second when he's up & about, & as willful as his brother was. They're quite ingenious for keeping the small ones nearby & off the roads & things!!

Kerrie - posted on 10/26/2010

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Lets get something straight. This is a child NOT A DOG. And saying time to walk the baby is horrible. Would you think it were hilarious if you were on a leash? No you wouldn't. Its embarassing. And even though your child may not be old enough to know just how embarassing it is doesn't make it right to do it. A child should not be treated as a family pet and walked like a dog! I HATE seeing people with their kid on a freakin leash. I was at the lake this summer and saw a young couple with their child on leash and their dog running free. Thats messed up! Teach you child not to be running off. My son is frequently out in public places and always has been and we just taught him when its ok to run like a wild child and when its not. He now knows the difference. I HATE CHILD LEASHES!

Judi - posted on 10/26/2010

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You get cool ones now - little animal backpacks. if it's a choice of negative looks or getting hit by a car when they run onto the road, I went for the looks and just stare back. We have a puupy backpack and it's called "Puupppppy Power" and makes my son Fast and Super strong.

Kristi - posted on 10/26/2010

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I think if it gives you peace of mind and keeps him safe from bolting out of your reach, go for it! I hate to admit I was very judgmental about harnesses before I had kids. Luckily my girls have not really needed them, but wow - I do have friends that need them! :)

Amanda - posted on 10/26/2010

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They are cute and functional, i used mine with my daughter who was "miss independance" at the zoo or airport or walking with out her in a stroller. She still likes it for a back pack, as you can take off the "leash". It lets them feel grown up and walk by themselves, yet keep them at a close proximity, and they are unable to jet off when you arent looking. I would let your little one choose his own "backpack" and they usually have a pocket you can slip a cup into :)

Brandy - posted on 10/25/2010

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but why? i honestly dont understand why people are against it. im not trying to cause contraversy or anything i just dont get why so many people dont agree with it. what is the problem with it?

Brandy - posted on 10/25/2010

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i dont see what the big deal is? if you want to use one theyre available, thats why they were invented just like pacifiers. everybody raises their kids different. ive never used one because i live in a very small town where even our mall is deserted half the time, and jenna usually wont take one step away from me if i let go of her hand when were out in public because shes afraid to be away from me. but if the time came that she needed one i would definately get one. heck she loves back packs so much i might just buy one for fun lol

Paula - posted on 10/25/2010

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I have a little Monkey Harness for my daughter...she's 3...the tail is the handle you hold!...It's cute!

Amy - posted on 10/25/2010

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I personally don't like them, and won't use one for my children. Simply because my mind views it as treating your child like an animal. It's just tacky in my opinion, but I'm not going to approach anyone and condemn them for using a leash for their child.

Corena - posted on 10/25/2010

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I get really tired of reading the "my child is not a dog" comments. Seriously, if your child is so well behaved and compliant that they NEVER EVER try to let go of your hand or leave your side, you had better be on your knees thanking whatever God or gods you worship. Not all kids are like that and it is not always a matter of parenting. I have 3 kids, 2 teens and one toddler. We are fairly "strict" parents. The older kids were very well behaved and rarely left our sight while outside. Our newest is VERY strong willed and it is nearly impossible to get him to stay at our side or constantly hold our hand.
I use a harness and anyone who thinks it is "inhumane" is welcome to come and take him for an outing and see how they do keeping him with them unaided.

Kristin - posted on 10/25/2010

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Do what keeps your kids safe. I used one on my older kids as they went through the early walking to 3.5 years old period.

Allie - posted on 10/24/2010

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I have one for my son. I've used it maybe three times in a year. I couldn't get over the feeling of walking a dog and it made me very upset. My son loved it though! Now (he's 27 months) he just holds my hand or the side of the stroller ( I don't let him push the stroller but he can hold the side). We've not had any problems (knock on wood).

Avvy - posted on 10/24/2010

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Try it . While shopping recently I was in a situation involving a mom who had lost track of her 2 1/2 yr old,she was sick with panic and so were all the other shoppers. You can bet she wished she had had a protection harness.The little girl was found by a stranger and taken to the register to page her mom,but the outcome could have ended tragically.Safety first.

Teri - posted on 10/24/2010

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r kids were little, I always swore I'd never put my kids on a leash. I thought it looked ridiculous and parents should be able to control their kids by themselves. Then I had Kyson...... I'm looking one up online right now!

[deleted account]

Before I had kids i would think it was absurd when i would see little kids being on leashes, but then i see some kids running like little hellions.. and I WOULD TELL MY HUSBAND YOU KNOW I THINK THEM HARNESS/LEASHES ARE PERFECT!!

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