We have been struggling with this ever since we knew we were becoming parents. Ostensibly, my wife and I are both against the idea of a toddler safety harness, but since the boy moved in, and we realised he has ants in his pants, we have rethought the whole thing.
To me, the toddler safety harness has the look of a parent forcing an unnatural restraint on their child, more akin to walking a pet, than controlling a child.
The more experience I gain as a parent however, the more I realise that it is not about restraint, nor control, but fundamentally about safety. It is after all, a toddler safety harness.
During the weekend, whilst I was still conflicted as to whether we should invest in something along these lines, my wife took it upon herself to purchase a wrist strap. I proffered little protestation; she was usually right on these things.
Toddler safety harness – backpack reins
We thought about the backpack reins first. Backpack reins are where the child wears a backpack in the normal fashion, and some reins stretch out of the back so the parent can keep hold of the little one.
I like this idea. It seems to allow the child a certain amount of freedom with the added benefit a cool looking backpack.
There are a number of different designs, so the child can have a say in the style of the product.
Toddler safety harness – wrist strap
The next toddler safety harness option is the wrist strap. This is what we have bought first off, and something we have briefly tried. It is however bordering on handcuffing your child to either yourself or the buggy.
I first tried the wrist strap attaching the boy to myself, and it did not last long. My self-respect, or pride, or something, got the better of me. It felt utterly demeaning to both of us, and I couldn’t continue looking like I was treating the boy as I would an over-active Spaniel.
On my second attempt I tethered the non-child end to the buggy, which instantly felt a lot better. The boy now had his freedom, and was able to walk alongside his daddy without having to suffer the intolerable jarring ride of the buggy.
Our first outing was just down the village, and whilst he strayed slightly from the his path once or twice, and tripped over the buggy, he seemed to appreciate the ability to use his own legs. It also allowed me to start teaching him about crossing the road, which he got the hang of remarkably quickly.
By my own admission, I realise I have engendered hypocrisy here. By not persevering with the wrist strap attached to myself, but being perfectly happy that it is attached to the buggy makes it appear that I am fine to demean the boy as long as my own stature stays wrist strap free.
This is not the case. The safety of my son is my first priority. I would want to demean neither of us, but the truth of the matter is – one end of the strap has to go on the boy, otherwise he will spend his life sat in that buggy. I want him to have some freedom… I just ensure it is the freedom of the pavement.
I would love to know your thoughts on the toddler safety harness – is it useful? Is it demeaning? Is there a better way? Please leave a comment below, and I will make sure you get a reply.