On the Harness question, I use one on my 6 yr. old because he is autistic and nonverbal. I

Tammy - posted on 03/26/2010 ( 32 moms have responded )

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I didn't on any of my other children just the wrist leash on my oldest. I have 4 children 3,6,13,and 16. I use the harness on Aaron not to treat him like a dog but, for his safety because he does not recognize danger and is a runner. The school uses it at outings and bus time. So cute...

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Michelle - posted on 03/30/2010

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Oh man! I'd love to get my hands on a harness! I have a runner. No special needs, just a runner. We live in the country, he bolts into the road all the time. He runs at the airport, he runs in stores, he runs everywhere! I have a strap from an old duffle bag that I hook one end to my belt loop and the other end to him. It's my only hope! He's 5, still gets tethered to mom! I think these things are brilliant and not just for parents of special needs kids! I think parent's who use leashes or tethers or harnesses are probably more concerned about the safety of their kids. I see many kids that could use a tether!!! So it's not something used solely by those with kids who have special needs... I guess I have a special need - a need to keep my kid safe!!!!

[deleted account]

This debate on the use of harnesses will continue until the end of time. If you use one for your child, you don't need to justify yourself. If you don't like them you don't need to justify yourself either. Just do what you need to do and make your choices based on what you believe in and what works for you, but don't belittle those who take the opposing view... 'nuff said.

Anne - posted on 03/26/2010

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Tammy I have a lot of respect for moms of special needs children. I was one myself. But mine did not "SHow" unless you knew what to look for. (Heart condition) It would seam to me that you are being a VERY CARING and Loving mom if you found a way to include Aaron and yet provide him the safety he needs.



Just a side note. I used the term "Special needs" not because I do not see the child from the need. If I offended you or anyone else I would ask for your forgiveness.

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Martha (Marty) - posted on 03/31/2010

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Don't worry about it, honey...you've gotta' do, what you've gotta' do; AND, good for you (for being more concerned about Aaron's safety than what other people may think or say)!!

Sandra - posted on 03/30/2010

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Hi Katherine,
I think all mums should use whatever restraints available until a child at least recognises danger as I see far too many kids running rings round mums coping with other of their kids and oblivious to danger they leave teir kids in . I had 2 girls 111/2 months apart and used a full harhess on both kids when out walking until I stopped using prams but at least my kids are now adults AND AS SAFE AS I COULD MAKE THEM- also a mate had an autistic daughter and understand the extra care you need with your son

[deleted account]

I know many parents that use the harnest on autistic children or non verbal children. I myself used one on my daughter during the time she was non-verbal and didn't listen to mommy. It's a good tool to use when she refuses to let you hold her hand....now I just have to hit at it and she hands me her hand.

Andreea - posted on 03/28/2010

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I never heard or knew there was such thing as a debate on child harnesses. I have a 1 year old and when he'll start running around Im getting one. Here in Australia we have the ones that come with a backpack of an animal...like a monkey or bear (very cute). Personally unless your abusing your child then its no ones business how you choose to raise them. Your their mother..gave birth, spend endless nights with them, there when they are sick, hug them when their sad and so on. People have too much time on their hands I say.

Julia - posted on 03/27/2010

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Many years ago I took my then 3- 4 year old daughter to a street festival in San Francisco where we lived. She was a runner, the festival was crowded and I was surpised about the quantity of comments from strangers, both positive and negative about the rainbow phone cord "leash" that connected us to each other's wrists.

Several of the adults at this street festival were also in various kinds of leashes and collars...

Candice - posted on 03/27/2010

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I never liked them, but when I had to fly with my daughter (not quite 18 months) by myself, I got one because I didn't want meltdowns, but I also couldn't bolt after her and leave the baggage unattended. Just for my own sanity in the airport alone it was worth it. After that we only used it places like Disneyland where if she let go of our hand we would lose her almost instantly. We always had her hold our hand anyway so it wasn't like we were dragging her behind us. It's your job to keep your child safe and if that's what it takes then so be it, just don't abuse it. It's not a bike lock for children. =)

Ruby - posted on 03/27/2010

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Like a few others reading this post, I honestly don't know what your going through; however, it still seems as if you are doing your best not only as a parent, but coping with this mentally (and i say that because i was told it is very draining on the individual who has to face the reality that their child has special need). So keep up the good work!
As far as the comments being made to you, that i can speak on. It is quiet easy for someone to say "oh just don't let it get to you"... yadda yadda. But every now and again you need a mental release. That's when you find that inner no nonsense you, put that i wish you will look in your eyes and say it like you mean it "mind your business!" Don't even give them the satisfaction of looking Them in the face. Believe me it will make you smile afterwards.

Karen - posted on 03/27/2010

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As someone who got lost as a child, at the New York Worlds's Fair, I do not think there is anything wrong with trying to keep your child safe. I did nothing wrong when I got lost, we stopped to look at an exhibit, my mother left go of my hand to take a picture, when I looked up everyone (about 10 people) I was with were gone. Each thought someone else had me. Security saw me took me to his post at the entrance of building, promised me all kinds of goodies while they looked for my family, but they came back before I got anything.
From that day on when we went to public places like that, a cat leash was hooked to a belt loop, I did not want to get lost again, I wanted the leash on.
I was glad when I had my children that a harness had been developed for this purpose, lets face it, it is better than actually using a pet leash. My children were not special needs, but I wanted them safe! I see nothing wrong with wanting to keep your children safe. Besides the safety issue of them running off, it will be much harder for them to be snatched if they are connected to you.

Dawn - posted on 03/27/2010

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My son has special needs and just learned to walk at age 4. Now he has a harness so he won't fall on his face. It's pretty obvious he has special needs. He wears hearing aids, glasses, and AFOs. People stare at him all the time - walking, when I feed him, when he makes happy noises.

My point is: some people are just going to be rude. Those people who would stare at a little kid just for being different or make nasty comments when you are just trying to keep your child safe - those are the same people that used to trip the chubby kid in middle school. I just give them an exaggerated wave "Hellooooo!" so they know I caught them staring. Then I tell myself that someday, karma will get them.

[deleted account]

Tammy, I wasn't saying you were belittling anyone. Have you read some of the threads on here about harnesses? Other Mums can be so, so rude and nasty about this subject and I really don't think we should feel the need to justify ourselves because of this. I actually used a harness for both of my kids and I luckily never had to explain my reasons to any one and it makes me sad when people's opinions make you feel the need to explain your decisions when it comes to parenting your child. You do what you have to do to get by. ;-)

Tara - posted on 03/26/2010

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If I'm by myself with my girls I will use the harness sometimes on my oldest (she just turned 2) because she is a runner and I can't run fast enough carrying the carseat with her sister (5 1/2 months) to catch her sometimes. I've always figured that you care enough about your dog to put it on a leash to protect it, so why is showing the same care for your child a bad thing? I think it's better to use all the help and tools at your disposal to care for and protect your children than to listen to all the people that say "OMG you have your child on a leash...."

Tammy - posted on 03/26/2010

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I don't belittle. People just need to never judge people that do use them. I think nothing of kids having tantrums in stores or a parent using anything. It is none of my business. When you have a child like mine and constantly get judged it gets aggravating. I'm fine it is my child that gets discriminated against. I also have a 3 yr. old too. I don't have to use the harness all the time but, I keep it handy just in case. Appreciate your input Sharon but,my reason for this post is to make people realize there are reasons for everything and when you see a child with one of these don't think anything of the parent.

Heidi - posted on 03/26/2010

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I have an autistic nephew who is 19 years old who is also a fraternal twin. Actually his name is also Aaron. He will be graduating from High School this year with a full diploma. Don't worry about what other people say to your face or mutter under their breath. You are showing that you love your child and you fear for his safety in this world. If anyone has a snide remark for you either outloud or under their breathe ask them if they have another minute so you can explain why you love your son so much. It's a very gentle way of telling them they are out of line.



I have a sixteen month old daughter of my own who is very bright for her age and she already gets into trouble. I will probably use the backpack harness with her because she is running and enjoying every minute of it. Also she really doesn't have much fear of strangers. Kudos to you Mamma! Your job is to protect your children in spite of what ignorant people say.

Missy - posted on 03/26/2010

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I do childcare and walk my daughter to preschool. I have to take my 3 yr and the 3 and 4 yr daycare kids. I have them on harness. They would run from me so I purchase the harnesses at walmart. My daughter has the lead on her wrist the others are harness. The kids love them. They walk in a line, taking turns leading. I have gotten remarks and looks from people. But, the safety of the children come before what others think.

Dora - posted on 03/26/2010

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Safety comes first. You know your child and you know better than anyone else what it takes to keep him/her safe. People who criticize those who use leashes aren't the ones who will live with guilt when the child is dead.

Marjo - posted on 03/26/2010

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My son was a runner too when he was younger, and I had him on the leash too. That way he was able to walk a bit farther from me and look at things, but didn't get too far. It was quite scary to go somewhere when he was free, because he could run just about anywhere, and could easily have been hit by car or fallen from somewhere etc.

In last December we got an ADHD diagnosis and medications for him, it has truly changed our lives. :)

Iridescent - posted on 03/26/2010

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We have two autistic children and our oldest had NO fear, so we also used them. We were reported to social services for it, of all things! They came, they saw, they said it was appropriate, they left. How else are we supposed to keep him safe? He is now 10 and has been trained very carefully via social stories and consistent therapy, and is much safer. Our 3 year old boy is also very likely autistic and has no fear either, and he's getting past the age of stroller use so we bought some more wrist harnesses for this reason (plus the fact that when there is ONE adult and 3 three year olds, they tend to run).

[deleted account]

I generally don't agree with the child harnesses. But in your situation i see nothing wrong with it as your child doesnt have the same communication skills as other children ( correct me if i'm wrong) And if i were in that situation i would probably do the same thing. I also though would never comment on any parent who is having difficulty out and about with any child ( i my children often throw tantrums and act up ) and i think any person who says those nasty snide remarks should try and look after any child for a day. As i dont think they could handle it.

Jane - posted on 03/26/2010

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The thing we must remember is that it's for the safety of the children. Children need to be protected. It makes them secure and keeps them safe. Perhaps the reality is that we treat dogs like children not the other way around.

Tammy - posted on 03/26/2010

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Martha the tree is funny. Yeah for sure. My son likes to put it on when we walk he can't stand me grabbing at him or holding his hand. I think he feels more in control with the leash. He has freedom or shas gotten out the door when my older ones leave the front door open (mainly their friends that don't know) He can run fast and doesn't come just because you yell his name. That is the thing about autism you have to go find them. It is scary.

Martha (Marty) - posted on 03/26/2010

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I'm a 68 year old grandmother and remember being on a harness myself. I even have family photos of myself in a harness with my mother holding my leash (I look to be about 3). I have no idea why, or how long it continued because it never came up in conversation. I can assure you that it did absolutely no damage!! I can even remember at age 4, noticing one of my friends who had been "harnessed" to a tree (I unleashed him myself)!

Meghan - posted on 03/26/2010

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I personally don't agree with them for my son, however I have always said that if there are special safety issues with your child good for you for taking precautions for your boy!

Krista - posted on 03/26/2010

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Sounds like someone else needed Emily Post! It's amazing how people can be so rude and love to stick their noses in other peoples' business.

Tammy - posted on 03/26/2010

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Sometimes I get comments. One time my son was melting down in Wal-mart and a lady walked by and said. "Someone need Super nanny." My older sons said I should say something to her and I said. We will pray for people who make rude comments like that.

[deleted account]

My hubby works with children who fall under the autism sprectrum and he's taught me a lot about it. Because of this I think I look at some things a little differently, such as your son, if I saw him with a harness my reaction would probably be "he's a runner" whereas other parents may assume that you're lazy or whatever. I was out shopping the other day and saw a boy, maybe 7 or 8, wearing a hat and earmuffs like you'd see a member of a pitcrew wear. I could hear others around me making their snide comments but my thought was "I wonder if he's sensitive to noise."

I couldn't tell from your post if you were asking for people's thoughts or opinions. I just wanted to let you know that not everyone is going to judge you for doing what you have to do to keep your child safe.

Tammy - posted on 03/26/2010

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No offense taken. He is special needs.I am so thankful he has no physical ailments. I feel very blessed to have him. My other children really help him even my 3 yr. old watches out for his safety. She's a little mama. lol

Michelle - posted on 03/26/2010

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Good for you for taking a step to ensure that your child is safe. I have to problem with a child harness when it it used it a safe and loving way.

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