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Wrist Strap / Harness for Kids

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Beemer posted 8/21/2013 10:17 AM

So I'm going on vacation with my family next week and I'm really concerned about my 3-year-old DS. He's getting very independent - he doesn't wanna be in the stroller anymore, he wants to walk by himself like a big-boy and refuses to hold hands.

Last week in the grocery store he got away from me and ran - I couldn't find him anywhere - I've never felt panic like that in my life - the store called Code Adam (the whole nine) - we found him, thank God - but he didn't seem the least bit bothered by the whole thing - not even a reaction to seeing me in full blown sobs.

So again, next week we are going on vacation with my parents - Hubbie has to work so he will only be down on the weekends - my parents are well into their 60's and could no way keep up with my DS - I'm 8 months preggo myself and there's damn sure no way I can catch him if he takes off.

We are going to a pretty popular vacation spot on the Jersey shore that's known for it's boardwalk... I just feel like it was one thing for him to get away from me in the store where they immediately locked it down - but if he gets away from me on the boardwalk, he could go ANYWHERE - there's no way for them to close off the whole boardwalk to look for my kid.

I guess I'm just looking for some support that I'm not a horrible mother if I put him on one of those wrist strap things so he can still have some independence but can't run away from me...

Lucky2HaveMe posted 8/21/2013 10:39 AM

Keeps em safe! I have used both the wrist and harness types. Kids tend to prefer the harness as the wrist one they still feel like you are holding their hand. The harness one I used was a monkey. Kids thought it was a backpack and I held the tail.

They are so common now I wouldn't give it a second thought.

lynnm1947 posted 8/21/2013 10:50 AM

I used a harness on my son years ago. He was a runner and I'd had enough of the panic. Anyone who questioned my usage got told that I'd rather harness him than live with myself if he was kidnapped and murdered. That usually shit them up.

Mandilwen posted 8/21/2013 11:16 AM

I would opt for the harness. I think they're a great idea for little ones, seen a lot of them at Disney World. There was ONE time my oldest, then three, took off running through the automatic doors at Wally World and almost straight into the parking lot. Thank goodness there was a lady who yelled at her teenage daughter to "grab that kid". He was normally attached to my side so it was a shocker! Protect your child however you see fit.

lost_in_toronto posted 8/21/2013 11:19 AM

We used a backpack with a wrist tether for my daughter when we travelled to Europe. It kept her close in big airports and on city streets.

I'm not sure why there is such a stigma attached to kid safety tethers. Most people don't think twice about strapping their kids into strollers for extended periods of time. At least with a harness kids get to walk around and explore safely. It makes way more sense to me than a stroller at the toddler stage.

BeyondBreaking posted 8/21/2013 11:23 AM

I don't judge!

My daughter is pretty clingy so I have never had to use one personally, but I know many parents who have used them and they worked great. Especially with your situation, I would use one.

Have an awesome vacay Momma!

metamorphisis posted 8/21/2013 11:26 AM

I had one of those kids and let me tell you it is way more important that they be safe than to worry about being judged! What's good parenting about letting your child get lost, hurt, or stolen in a large crowd? Nothing.

One of my friends has a small character backpack (hers is a monkey) and the tail is long and the part you hold. The kids think they are fun and you get the security

Here is a bunch of them on Amazon

[This message edited by SI Staff at 11:28 AM, August 21st (Wednesday)]

click4it posted 8/21/2013 11:28 AM

If that's what you feel will be best for you, then do it. I think you might be questioning it because you actually don't feel comfortable doing it. Not to say that you don't feel you need to do it anyway...

Seriously, its about safety for you and you are not abusing him.

I personally never liked the looks of them. I never used one for my boys, but would often see them being used. They look like a it makes the child look like a wild animal on a leash, but that's just me.

TattoodChinaDoll posted 8/21/2013 11:33 AM

Free the leash kids!!

I've personally never used them (not because I'm against them...just never needed them). I was going to for DD1 when we went to Disney but a week before we left she decided that holding hands was her new thing. She actually walked more than my middle.

Can't give you advice on that but definitely either make him a bracelet with your phone number on it or you can get tattoos that you write your number on. They are also waterproof so you don't have to worry about reapplying everyday. What we have told the kids is that if you are lost, you go find a mommy with kids and show them your arm. They also make kid GPS. It attaches to their shoe and you carry the monitor.

ETA: On that Disney trip we went with my brother and his family. My nephew got lost, calmly went to find a mommy, but found one that didn't know how to speak English.

[This message edited by TattoodChinaDoll at 11:37 AM, August 21st (Wednesday)]

Crescita posted 8/21/2013 11:39 AM

Do what you need to do!

I know someone who was about ready to purchase one for her little girl when she discovered the magical slowing power of dress-up heels Might not appeal to your son, but maybe there is another fun shoe for boys that could slow him down.

metamorphisis posted 8/21/2013 11:41 AM

I should add.. I never had to think twice with dd. She listened. DS was distracted by anything and everything and I could turn around in a second and he'd be gone. I wish I had known about the backpacks then!

Lionne posted 8/21/2013 11:47 AM

USE IT! I go to the boardwalks a lot and it gets very crowded at times. What with kids, teenagers, and depending on the time of day, bike and trams...I think kids complain less about the harnesses and are less likely to get them off... Have fun!

JanetS posted 8/21/2013 12:06 PM

I used them. I initially had a harness type. Because it is very sturdy, I was able to stop her from running into the road one time, I lifted her right off the ground.

As my kids got older I would use them at crowded places, but I used the wrist ones. Worked fine. I like the idea of attaching the wrist one to their backpack (never thought of that at the time), then the child has no sense of being attached ... even though they know they are.

In all of the times I used these things, I only had one judgement, a lady on the street said "this is your child, not your dog". Ignored it.

simplydevastated posted 8/21/2013 12:18 PM

I had the wrist strap and the harness for my son when we took him to Disney when he was two. I wasn't sure which one would work with him (meaning if he'd keep taking it off).

We used the harness a little bit but it felt like I was taking him for a walk like you would a pet.

One time at Sea World I tried to put the harness on him because he wanted to walk and I remember him saying "but I don't want to wear my harness." It was damn cute Sorry, back on track now.

What I liked about the wrist strap was that I worked it through my belt loop on my jeans and secured it then I put the wrist part on his belt loop. That worked great! He was able to walk without a harness or holding my hand while still be attached to me.

I hope some of this helps.

Nature_Girl posted 8/21/2013 12:21 PM

I think the harnesses are wonderful. They make really cute designs that the kids love wearing.

Amazonia posted 8/21/2013 12:52 PM

I'm not a parent, but have always thought the ones that look like a stuffed animal hugging the kid are adorable and totally brilliant. And just because he's on a harness doesn't mean you can't also hold his hand until he makes a break for it...

ps - Modern Family anyone?
(I can't find a clip of the end where they put her in heels so she can't run! )

Cally60 posted 8/21/2013 13:06 PM

I'm not sure why there is such a stigma attached to kid safety tethers.

Me neither.

Because they look like pets? I look really stupid in my bike helmet, but that doesn't stop me wearing it. I'd rather look stupid than be dead.

Because it restricts their freedom to explore? But what if they suddenly decide to explore that shiny thing in the middle of the road? It only takes two seconds to run from the sidewalk into the road.....

I used a harness a lot. I think it gives toddlers MORE freedom, not less. The security of the harness meant that my children could walk in many places where I would otherwise have put them in the stroller, to keep them safe. It was fun for them.

I confess that, at the time, I didn't think about the possibility of abduction. My fear was of traffic. So in pedestrianized shopping areas, for example, I tended not to use it. Nowadays, I think I probably would.

Some years ago, I was in a pedestrianized town center, and on the other side of the wide, paved expanse, I spotted a little lad of about three running in a straight line and crying. He seemed to be attracting no attention, so after a moment I followed him. But it was surprising how far he'd already gone in those few seconds. The center was crowded (I'm not sure why no one else thought to question what he was up to) he was a good runner :-) and it took me some time to catch up with him. By then he was close to the road and a LONG way from the area where his grandparents were frantically searching. After reassuring him that his family would be looking everywhere for him and so on, I gently led him all the way back to where I'd first seen him. By then he was out of adrenaline, I guess, and he came willingly with me. Fortunately. But on the other hand........ :-(

I was so grateful that I was the one who'd noticed him, rather than some predator, and that I reached him before he reached the road. If I'd ever questioned the value of harnesses for toddlers, that one experience would have changed my mind.

ETA: Since your son is keen to walk, rather than be in the stroller, perhaps you could use the harness almost as a reward that allows him to walk in places where otherwise he couldn't? Start by putting him in the stroller. Then, when he protests and wants to walk, feign great hesitation, then "relent". "Oh all right then. Let's put the harness on [<- said casually, in passing, of course,] and then you can get out and walk."

[This message edited by Cally60 at 1:54 PM, August 21st (Wednesday)]

EvenKeel posted 8/21/2013 13:27 PM

I think the stigma comes from those who never had a 'runner'.

I had one of each. My DD always stayed put. My DS - run and fast (all the while laughing at me trying to frantically get to him).

Kids - sigh.....

Don't worry about what others think. Do what you need to do to protect him.

Good news in that harness stage goes very quickly.

Crescita posted 8/21/2013 13:30 PM

ps - Modern Family anyone?
(I can't find a clip of the end where they put her in heels so she can't run! )

Oh no my mind is slipping. I know a couple with a rambunctious little girl and thought for certain they were the ones who told me about this trick. It was in fact something I saw on Modern Family

NotDefeatedYet posted 8/21/2013 13:33 PM

I know Android has an application for it, but you can download a leash app. It works with a bluetooth headset and the phone. If the headset gets out of range of the phone, which is not more than 20 feet or so, it will ring your phone to let you know it's out of range. You can stick the earpiece in the kid's pocket or fasten it to a belt loop. If he gets to far, expect your phone to go off.

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