Monday, March 1, 2010
 Ok, first of all if you've never seen one, a Child Safety Harness is a harness that goes on the child very much like a vest, or a backpack.The way the harness fits depends on what kind you get and there are many available.

To the point of my story.

I had an amusing memory of Cailyn and I walking around at the fair. We had family with us, i.e. my husband, mother in law etc. Cailyn had on her safety harness, proud as a little peacock. We were enjoying the day, and she, being very independent, loved that she could walk around, and not ride in the stroller the entire time.

An elderly lady walked up to me and very unkindly asked me why I had my daughter on a "Leash". (her actual comments are censored to protect my eyes)
Well I was rather dumbfounded as to what in the heck she was talking about, and kind of ignored the comment. This lady wasn't giving up. She proceeded to let me know what she thought of me.

I was treating my daughter like a "dog", and was "making" her walk in the "hot" sun. I was the worst mother in the world to this women. I kind of stood there, deciding whether to laugh or walk away. Well, she had one of those canes, with the hook on the end, and I knew I wouldn't get far, (those are dangerous weapons!) so I waited calmly, wondering why she chose me.

Well, after a little while, my daughter (who waited patiently) said, "Mommy, let's go ride on some rides."
I thought it was a good idea and possibly my que to leave. Well, we weren't going to be allowed to leave until I succumbed to this woman's will.

I had just about lost it, when something better came to my mind. I explained that, my daughter was a very independent 2 1/2 year old. She loves to walk, and instead of encouraging obesity by making her stay in a stroller, we thought that the exercise would do her good. (she snickered at me) I then explained to her, the it was her choice to lose her children, or grandchildren, but I was not going to. It is very easy to lose a child at the fair, and there are tons of people willing to take them. With the crowds and the amount of people, there was no way to be certain that we would not accidentally let go of our hands, plus it was hot, and baby hands get slippery when wet.
So, I showed her that the "leash" was securely clipped to my belt (as secure as one could get without being over paranoid and using a padlock!)

I told her to go about he way and to bother someone else. Unfortunately she didn't but I amused myself in the fact that I felt very justified having her harnessed up. Not to mention that she actually likes the thing! For her, I believe it gives her a sense of safety, and security. She doesn't fear losing me, when she is in it. When we go for walks, we live on a busy road, I harness her up.

It may seem mean, but it's really not.

I asked her if she felt like a dog in it. To which she responded by dropping down on all fours and crawling (it was really funny)
I like to encourage her to walk and be independent, but I will not risk her safety, or her happiness over a harness. She likes to walk, so that was a great alternative for us!


Anonymous said...

That woman was a bit out of line, if you ask me. And a bit more out of touch with current events. I have also used a child harness - aka Leash - with no guilt at all. My son and I have taken a trip from Maine to Maryland a couple times and both times I felt it quite necessary for me to use the harness. With all the chaos that makes up airline travel, losing my child was one less thing to worry about. And like your daughter, my son enjoying wearing it and it did not harm anyone.

Jackie said...

My daughter detested the harness (and I didn't force it on her,) but my niece... oh my goodness. That child would wear her "puppy" to bed if we'd let her. (She has a pink puppy backpack/harness.) There's no forcing, coercing, or bribing her to get it on. Those things come when we try to take it OFF. ;)

Well done for illustrating in a very clear manner why mamas like you and I (and my sister in law, of course,) choose this measure of safety for our children. Poo on anyone who can't or won't see those reasons.

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