Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Child Harness

On The Flipside Guest Blogger: Pregnantly Plump

Elvis' Mom over at Pregnantly Plump has graciously agreed to post today On The Flipside. Read her post below and then please leave a comment offering your opinion about children's harnesses. And then make sure you go over to her blog (Pregnantly Plump) and enter her contest - to have a chance at winning one of these adorable Gold Bug Harnesses.

Harnessing The Love

I’m not one of those “I will never” moms. Bob and I are both pretty open to most things. My son has tasted (and LOVED) his share of sweets. He does watch TV – mainly Disney. I am a big fan of Handy Manny. Bob likes the Higgly Town Heroes and Little Elvis likes Ooh and Aah, the monkeys.

Little Elvis also wears a harness. Before I became pregnant, I worked in news. After covering some pretty heinous things, a harness was never out of the question, especially once our curious little guy began toddling everywhere and anywhere.

When he was about 6-months-old, we saw a woman walking behind a little boy wearing a monkey backpack. She was holding the tail of the backpack. We both thought it was cute and I set about looking for one.

We found it very easily – at Target and Wal-Mart. And at less than $10, we didn’t even have to spend days searching on craigslist for it. We picked out the puppy version of the Gold Bug Harness Buddy, and gave it to Little Elvis for his first birthday.

I fully expected to receive jeers and taunts when we first slipped the backpack on, but we didn’t.

Instead we received giggles, comments on the cuteness of both our son and the harness, and questions about where we purchased it. We use our harness at least once a week, and no one has been openly hostile. I think it's because the harness is just so cute.

It took us a while to get completely used to the harness. We’ve discovered that the side hook for the tail works much better than the hook in the bottom center of the backpack.

And we realized it was best to wait until he was fairly steady on his feet before trying to stop him with the harness. Those first few weeks, we just tried to keep up with our little toddler.

Now that he's more steady on his feet, we can stop him with the harness. Although, this usually causes him to sit on the floor and whine.

The harness is a great way to help us stay together. He can't venture too far from us, but feels like he has more freedom.

The Gold Bug Harness has been great for us, but as LeVar Burton says, “Don’t take my word for it…”

Gold Bug has agreed to give away one of its super-adorable harnesses to one of Pregnantly Plumps lucky readers.

The options include lamb, frog, pig, horse, panda, koala, bunny, cow, unicorn, pink poodle, giraffe, lion, monkey and dog.

All you have to do is go over to Pregnantly Plump and leave a comment telling Elvis' Mom which harness you would like, along with an email address.

If you want to comment, but don’t need a harness, feel free to. She will leave your name out of the drawing.

The drawing will take place on Wednesday morning.

Please give your opinion about harnesses whether you agree with Elvis' Mom or are On The Flipside and have a different point of view. But, make sure you follow the comment rules. And, please go over to my sidebar and participate in the poll on this topic.

Poll results: Are You Okay Seeing Children Wearing A Harness? 15 Participated in poll. 12(80%) YES. 3(20%) NO


Jacey said...

I think harness's are a great idea. I especially love how funny and cute these animal ones are. It kind of makes it look a little less restricting, and more fun.
But let's face it. Harness's ARE to restrict the movements of your child. And for good reason! Kids run off. They're FAST. I nanny, and when the little girl I look after hit about 2, she suddenly started wanting to walk everywhere. Not a big deal.... until she started taking off on me. She'd slip out of my hand and just sprint... and when I had the 3 year old in the other hand - or in teh stroller, plus the dog, it was mighty difficult to keep up.
I suggested a harness to her mother, who wasn't keen on the idea AT ALL, until little miss runaway took off on her into the road. Luckily she caught her and all was fine. But the next day, magically, a harness appeared. It wasn't quite as cute as those animal ones, but it did the job.
They're great. I whole heartedly agree with them, have used them, and would absolutely use them with my own children.

tammy said...

I say whatever works in keeping your little one safe!

dani said...

tammy took the words right out of my mouth ^^^:) it's ALL about safety in my opinion as i am sure there are mnny parents out there who have had there children taken, hit by cars in parking lots, etc. that wish with all they are that they had spent the $10 in order to still have their children today...
ps can you get those for husbands, too??? tee-hee...

Brenda said...

Those are Too cute! I think anything you have to do to keep your babies safe is great! My grandma told me when she had to go outside to bring in clothes off the line, etc,,,when I was a baby, she'd lift up the bed post and put the hem of my dress under it. It kept me right where I was supposed to be so she could get her housework done.

Stella said...

Harnesses are not for me. But co-sleeping is not for me. Natural childbirth is not for me. That doesn't make any of it bad.
For me, I think it's the idea that it's like a leash for an animal. That bothers me. But it bothers me in reference to my children. If, as a parent, you want to use a harness that is your perogative and I'm not going to judge you based on that choice.

Kellan said...

I am all for harnesses. I especially love these adorable animal harnesses and wish these were around when my kids were smaller. I think it is very hard to keep children safe in stores and public areas and harnesses help the parent to keep the child safe. Also ... I'd be alot happier in busy stores if other people's toddlers were attached to a harness and close to their mothers and not 5 aisles over laying on the floor - right in my path - tee hee!

Nancy said...

^5 to the harness. I'd rather see a kid restricted than lost!

forgetfulone said...

When my 12 year old twins were toddlers, I used a harness-type restraint on them when we went to places like the mall. I couldn't have two little ones running off in different directions.

I fully expected people to give us dirty looks for putting our kids on "leashes," but I actually had one woman approach me to tell me how smart I was to use them. They hadn't invented them when her children were little, but this older lady thought they were fabulous. I never worried about what people would think after that.

Julie said...

While I never used them myself, I don't have a problem with other people using them... For me, I just held firm to their hand and wouldn't let them go off. If they got mad about it, I would either pick them up and carry them, or put them in the stroller/shopping cart. It worked for us... And after a while they stopped trying to escape. *lol*


I think harnesses are great. My husband was a single dad from the time his son was 6 months old until he met me, when his son was 4. Stepson is very active (has since been dx'ed with ADHD) and I don't know how hubby would've kept up with him by himself with no harness. That kid is FAST and impulsive!

Sally said...

The "fancy" ones weren't out (or I didn't see them) when my granddaughter was little in the early 90's, but the first trip to Disney World, you can betcha I found one to use. It's not only about your child running off, it's about other people running off with your children.

Angela said...

We have a harness that we've used a half dozen times over the last few years. And I have mixed feelings about how useful it is. Especially if the kid just doesn't want to keep following you. BUT I think they have their place. Even more though for us what actually works is a rope tied from mom's belt to the kids belt. That way we're connected but I'm not walking him.

Sandra Carvalho said...

OMG!That's so cool!I wish I had something like that over here!The lil' monkey is awesome!
If I get to wear such thing here (Portugal) people would criticize me BIG!What a bunch of small mind people!Loved the idea!

Courtney said...

I have never been above the idea, but both of my girls luckily have never put up a fight to sit in the stroller or hold a hand. I just got really lucky!

One Scrappy Chicklet said...

I have never been a big fan of harnesses. Maybe because the first time I saw one was in a busy mall and the child was crawling on his hands and knee's and barking like a dog and the mother was pitching a fit about it and I just kept thinking to myself "well if you are going to put him on a leash what do you expect?" But that was just one situation. I am not saying that people are wrong for using them if it keeps a child safe and I understand that in this day and age it may be a necessity. I was just never keen on them. Now that my kids have reached preteen and teen age years maybe I should rethink that and see if I could find one that fits them.

Adrian said...

These were a life saver for us when Blake was little because he would take off all the time and never look back. I would shadow him at the Mall where he couldn't see me and he would go surprising distances without ever giving us a thought. He was VERY independent and these harnesses kept him safe. I got a few nasty looks, but so what. It was my kid and I wanted him to be safe.

Pregnantly Plump said...

Thanks for co-posting this Kellan!

Leah said...

I thought the whole idea of a harness was awful. BEFORE I had children, that is! Just before my second child was born (and my eldest was only two) I strongly considered getting one, but my eldest was more of an observer than a do-er so she stuck close and I never bothered. I again, strongly considered getting one just before my third child was born (and I had my hands busy with a four year old and a two year old already), but managed to get buy without it. But my youngest? He's a dasher. And a darter. And a Houdini wanna-be. You blink and he's gone. He's basically pooh-pooh'd being confined to a stroller and protests long and LOUD if we attempt it. SO, when we do things like the zoo or the airport, or any other place where there will be lots of people and it would be easy for him to be lost in the crowd, we put on the monkey harness. The best part? HE LOVES IT!! He can't wait to put on "monk" as he calls it. Like you said, he's not real thrilled when we actually use it to STOP HIM, but it's been fantastic at making sure he stays with us in a crowded setting. We live in WA, and we see people using them ALL THE TIME here. However, we were in a GA airport for a layover a few weeks ago and we didn't see a single other person using one for their toddler. And we got snide comments. and glares. and finger pointing. Guess people in GA airports aren't as open to the idea! We spent a week in PA as part of that same trip and although we got very nice comments about it, we still didn't see very many actually being used, and most of the comments were "WOW! I've never seen such a thing, where'd you get it???" We felt like the harness thing must be more of a west coast "thing"??

I still feel a little weird using it on Connor, but the knowledge that he is safely confined to a three foot radius around ME is worth any old glare or stare we may get (and we truly don't get many at all!!)

Rosemary Bogdan said...

Looks cute to me. I don't see any problem with it. I think people object because it makes them think of walking a dog. Obviously, the child is not being treated as a dog. (unless he's being taught amusing tricks as well...just kidding.) I say if it works for you, use it. Especially if it's keeping the child safer.

bichonpawz said...

My first experience with a harness came many years ago when my daughter was about three. She is now twenty two. I was travelling alone with her to Cape Cod and we had to change planes three times. Yikes!!! Trying to manage a toddler and all my luggage by myself. I was thrilled I had that harness. It wasn't as cute as the ones they have today, but it sure did the job for me. It kept my girl safe!! I am all for safety

MamáChanga said...

Those are the greatest things invented. I currently have two monkeys, one for each of my girls, and have no problem using them. We too have been asked several times where we purchased them and for how much, many times by grandmothers looking for something to keep hold of their grandchildren.

My dad has his own opinions on the matter, which he voices loudly and jokingly and I always ignore, but I'd love to see him keep up with the twins in a crowded area or shopping mall without one. SAFETY is the key.

Now that they are a little older we occasionally put the monkeys on and let go of the tail (if the area is safe enough), Da'Gorgeouses still stay nearby and they have that added sense of security.

Helen E.M. Wright said...

I'm not too keen on the idea...for me! But I will say that I have thought of them EVERY TIME I'm flying and in the airport dealing with getting from one flight to the other and customs.

In other words...I wouldn't judge someone else for using it!

Hyphen Mama said...

When my daughter was 2, I had one (not this cute!) that was just a cute little red harness with Elmo on the front. I used it exactly twice at the same mall. She LOVED it and even wanted it on when we were at home... but when we were at the mall, people would walk by us and bark at her and tell her to heel and sit.

That really bothered me. I wanted to ask those people (all young with no children) if they'd rather I let her run free and destroy the stores or get lost. But I said nothing. I just came home feeling like a horrible mother. I stopped going to that mall and stopped using that harness.

She was 2. Bending over for 2 or 3 hours to hold her hand at a mall was impossible. She didn't want to ride in a stroller.

Now? I have a 2 year old son and I really want to get the cute monkey one... mostly so people will be side-tracked by the 'monkey on your back' and maybe spend less time barking at my kid.

Denise said...

I think toddler harnesses are a very good idea, especially in this day and time. You can never be too cautious or careful when it come to children.

truth said...

Raising my 5 kids, I never saw any reason why people would do this. But now that I have a grandson, absolutely would I use one. He disappears VERY fast.

Texan Mama @ WhoPutMeInCharge said...

I was at the airport in Detroit with my 8-month old and my 2 year old. I had the 2 year old in a harness and the baby in an umbrella stroller. I was all by myself with the kiddos. As I waited in line to board the plane, some twenty-something jerk asked me, SO what's it like to keep your child on a leash? I replied, not that it's any of your business, but I'm more concerned with my child's safety than your opinion of me. He just laughed. But what in the world would I have done if the 2 year old ran off? Sprint after her with the umbrella stroller and miss our flight? Umm, no.

Brittany said...

I have a 1 & 2 year old, and the harness is a way of life for me! We have the monkey backpacks, and have only ever gotten one jeer about it.

But that's ok, because it's worth it to prevent my sons from wandering away, going out into traffic at a busy store, and getting lost in a crowd.