My experience with the child harness, aka: child leash!

I read a few posts talking about the child harness, aka child leashes so I thought I would weigh in. I know my friend  Censie at Building Our Story and have talked about this on their site and I loved hearing their thoughts, so I thought I share mine with my readers.

Pre-kids, I sort of judged and I will admit that. I was never downright forthright with my opinions but I did give the stare if I saw something that I did not think was necessarily appropriate. However, this was pre-kids and as life says, you never know truly how to be a mom and how you are going to raise your kids, till you actually become a mom.

Now, being a mom, I no longer judge (or at least try not to- sometimes I judge things I see that are horrific but that is another story). However, I encountered a situation raising my children that I thought I would let me readers know about. It involves the child harness, aka child leash, so if you have a strong opinion about the matter, I would probably step away from this post.

Since giving birth to my kids, both of them don’t like to be in strollers for very long. It is actually quite hard when you have a 4 year old who likes to walk, and a 18 month old, who has no interest sitting in the stroller. He emulates everything his sister does including wanting to walk wherever we go. I obviously can’t let him go all over, so I needed to find a way to keep him safe. I vowed to myself I would never use a harness because I thought it was not the best option for my kids. How wrong I was!

I bought the child harness and now can readily walk with Zane outside his stroller. He is confined and I know he is safe. To me, it is really no different than seat belting  a child into a stroller. Our forthright concern as parents, is to make sure our kids are safe and if you have a kid who just will run every which way possible, it is a very good option.

However, I thought I share with you my story of what happened. I was at the zoo and he was in the harness. We were happily seeing all the animals when one of the people who was at the zoo with his own kids, STARTED BARKING AT MY SON!! BARKING!!! I was appalled. He was obviously barking because he thought I was keeping my kid on a leash, like a dog, and really didn’t understand why I was using it. I was mortified. I was honestly too stunned for words to say anything. In retrospect, I wish I would have gone over and given this guy a piece of my mind. I just can’t believe someone would bark at my son and feel right doing it, with their own child watching him. It was truly disgusting.

I often wonder why some people can be such idiots. So my question to you, is have you ever been judged badly for something- whether it be parenting or something else? I am interested in hearing…

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  1. says

    Wow. Where on earth do you live???? That is CRAZY!!!!! While we have never used a harness or whatever they are called….here is my thought. Why do you put your dog on a leash? To PROTECT them. So if you love a silly animal enough to protect it why is it “bad” to offer that SAME protection to your human child????? I am so sorry you had to deal with that

  2. says

    I used to think leashes were crazy that people shouldn’t use them because they were mean’t for dogs. But I admit when I had my 2nd son I did have to use one a few times in a crowded place but now I opt to use a stroller or baby carrier instead.

  3. says

    I never used one with my oldest, but after we had twins I started using them for really large crowd situations – like the fair – where losing track for even just a second would’ve been terrible. They’re 3 now, so they are good about sticking close and holding hands, and don’t need the harnesses any longer.

  4. says

    Well, I never ceased to be amazed at how some people are just plain idiots. I don’t understand how some people’s brains function sometimes! I have tried the harness before on my son, because he is too rambunctious and runs everywhere but he was too hyper to be in a harness… But to each their own, for some people it works wonders and for others, not so much. Everyone does what is best for themselves and their children and it is no ones business at all what you do. But some people like to think they have a say in everything! *Big Sigh*

  5. says

    When my daughter was about two, she walked in front of a car. Fortunately, someone was able to alert the driver. I had my arms full with her brother who was having a meltdown as we were leaving a friend’s house.

  6. says

    Oops! Hit post too soon. If I had had a leash for her then, she wouldn’t have gotten away from me.

    Shame on the man for barking at your son! Some people don’t act like adults.

  7. says

    I know EXACTLY what you mean. When they first came out, I too judged. But then started seeing the benefit in them, especially at airports.

    I know own one!!! Yep, Brody still wears one if I think he might run off. Thanks for your post.

  8. says

    people disgust me! was your husband w. you? I know Brad would’ve probably went off on the idiot!

    I agree w. pp about keeping kids safe just like you would a dog, I am so sorry you had to deal w. that some people honestly dont get it!

  9. says

    Wow, I am LIVID! I hate people like that! I have two boys..they are 15 months apart in age. When they were 2 and 3 years old, they were in that independent stage. I was a single mom because my husband was in the military doing training and then was deploying to Iraq for 15 months. After the 3rd incident when one of the boys slipped their hand from mine and ran into the road almost getting hit by a car, I said, “ENOUGH” and I went and bought TWO backpack leashes.The cute ones with a cute animal backpack with a tail that is a leash for me to hold. I never had to worry about my kids running off, or slipping their hand from mine and getting hurt. I didn’t have to worry about some stranger walking off with my kid in a crowd. It was a lifesaver for this mama who had two very young and active kids, and being a single mom!

    I got many stares, and even some bold people who would come up to me and say, “How can you do that to your child? They aren’t a dog!” to which I was actually brave and said “Would you rather see my kid on a leash or dead under a car because they got loose and ran into the street?” that always shut them up. But it didn’t make me feel any better. it makes me livid when people judge parents when all we are trying to do is keep our kids SAFE!

    I did however have some great experiences…always with people that seemed to be grandparents. They would always say, “What a brilliant invention! I wish we had those when we were raising our children” Those were some awesome older people!

    I still use my leash with my daughter when we are in areas that my stroller won’t go. She has a speech delay and can’t follow most commands, or she is just extra stubborn and refuses to obey. It is a way to keep her safe, and keep from losing her, yet still afford her some freedom to walk on her own.

    I’m very supportive of leashes on little kids.

  10. says

    people can be so foolish. “Would you rather see my kid on a leash or dead under a car because they got loose and ran into the street?” – well said. our son is very obedient, when we say stop he stops. but I am not foolish enough to think that I might never get distracted.

  11. says

    That is unbelievable!!! Like you, I never thought I’d use a harness, however my 22 month old will sit in the stroller for all of 5 minutes. He’s also a runner (I always think of the episode of “Modern Family” when they are at disneyland – - “We’ve got a runner!”). So it’s for safety for sure. Although the harness is about as successful as the stroller (he wiggles, whines and does everything to get out of it). My point is though, parents should stop judging one another! We need to support each other! Parenting is hard enough as it is!

  12. says

    That is horrible! Obviously that man has no tact or children of his own. I was like you – totally against them before I had kids. But they give kids amazing freedom when they don’t want to be stuck in the stroller. I used one with my son when we went to Disney and it gave me such peace of mind that he wouldn’t run off and be lost among the crowd. Of course my kids are all older now, but I still totally understand why parents use them. We only want to keep our kids safe and happy.

  13. says

    Say what? That guy really should be slapped in the face. I mean seriously it is hard to keep up with 2 kids so would he rather you lose a kid? It is hard when a kid sometimes will be in a stroller and sometimes not. I feel for you, and don’t let that guy make you feel bad!

  14. Kassie says

    I definitely would have said something to that guy!!!! When Seth and I were on our honeymoon in Hawaii I saw a couple with twin girls, both had teddy bear harnesses on them. I thought nothing of it and thought it was something that was great to take on a cruise ship because if you’ve been on one you know how narrow the hallways are. Just imagine trying to get a stroller down one of them. The kids had the freedom to walk around on their own and the parents knew that they had a hand on them and that they were safe.

    That guy is an ignorant jerk and its the ones that are not educated that end up taunting others because they feel inferior.

  15. says

    You know when I see a kid in one of these, it used to make me mad. It does look rather dog like BUT…

    When I was going through a divorce.I had to fly through international airports with two very little children. My son would often get excited or distracted and then just be GONE! The first time it happened I told him that I was going to carry a Leash in my pocket from there out and that if he wandered..I would have to harness him up…he Did …and I did. I had no choice and it kept him safe and brought peace of mind. Tough call but sometimes safety is first

  16. Nancy says

    One of the prime directives of parenthood is to keep our children as safe as we possible can. If the age/ stage/ personality of your child means they are best in a child protective harness when in a crowd or in public, then by all means use one! That seems like a no-brainer to me! Apparently that man was never taught any manners when he was in a stroller pushed by his parental units. What a terrible example he was giving his own children!

    When I was a young mother with our about 18 month old son, we were shopping in a grocery store. My son was in an umbrella stroller and was holding a small plastic bottle that was solid yellow with brown accents, colored and shaped to look like a yellow teddy bear. A grandmotherly lady came up to us and exclaimed disapprovingly : Is that baby drinking chocolate milk? I replied: No, ma’am, diluted apple juice. This was many years ago and I still remember it.

  17. michelle colon says

    wow that is completely shameful for someone to do that! he is beyond a jerk! I loved the harness for my son! He wanted to be independent and walk and this gave him his freedom and allowed him to be safe! The girls are another story they want to wear the harness because its cute but they also want to hold the end of it themselves so it’s pointless!My sister would say OMG you have my nephew on a leash (this is before she was a mom) and now guess what! my niece is on a leash!

  18. Maegan Morin says

    Wow sorry that you had to endure that idiot at the zoo!! What a douche…
    Anyway I live in a very small town (population 700) so everybody know everybody and you have to be really careful what you do. Just going for a walk with my kids I know I am being judged by my peers and it is just awful.
    On the other hand though, being that its such a small community I feel much safer let my 18 month old walk outside the stroller of course that doesnt mean she is completely safe but safer. If my kids wanted to walk around in a mall in the city or a large airport then I can see where the harness would come in handy. I actually own two harnesses for that very reason. Screw all the haters.

  19. says

    I just don’t understand people. Safety is so important and bottom line – stop judging people PEOPLE!! So annoying!! Thanks for the mention.

  20. says

    Wow! Just wow! My daughter is 3 and she is NEVER, I mean NEVER STILL! I haven’t used one but I sure would. I would do anything to keep her safe and boy I wish I was there when that happened to you! UGH! Sorry that happened, some people are just so childish!

  21. says

    Wow, I do not generally cuss but I can think of some things I’d like to say to that person. What a disgusting thing to do.

    Personally, I use a child leash in busy places. I think they really help keep a toddler safe at places like the zoo, airport, Disney Land, etc. I don’t see what the problem with them is, my daughter loves wearing it. She calls it her puppy backpack. It’s not like I drag her around on it like a misbehaving puppy.

  22. says

    I can’t believe he barked at your son! What a jerk! I totally agree with you that a harness is no worse than constraining a child in a stroller. It’s just that strollers are more widely used. I think you did the right thing by getting a harness because you’re making your son happy by allowing him to walk around, he’s getting exercise, AND he’s safe. It’s win-win. If people want to judge it, that’s their problem. I also used to judge parents who used harnesses (before I had a baby), but with a very active one year old, I expect I’ll be buying a harness soon!

  23. Anne Charboneau says

    Wow… super classy, barky guy. :-/ Cole went through a stage when he was strong enough to yank his hand from mine/would NOT sit in a stroller or cart/and had no idea cars and cliffs and big dogs could be dangerous. We used his teddy bear backpack/harness a few times (before he boycotted it, too), and it was truly a lifesaver.