Imagine how quickly your energy drains away at having to run after a hyperactive toddler all day. Now, imagine something worse -- the fear and terror of losing your energetic child in a crowded mall even for a few minutes. These two are the main reasons why parents say they choose to use a child harness or leash.
Those who use child harnesses and leashes look at it as safety devices. It brings them peace of mind especially in populated public places. Some kids are naturally more energetic than others; refusing to hold the hand of their guardian or letting go when something interesting catches their eye. Compared to a stroller, a harness and leash gives the child enough freedom to roam on his own without the parent having to worry he’ll get picked up by a stranger, according to harness users.
There are a lot of types of child leashes. There's a harness that are straps that go around a child's chest, a backpack-type leash that attaches to a backpack, and a walking handle leash that a child holds and isn't attached to a part of the body. Here's a sample of what a backpack-type child safety leash looks like:
Of course, child leashes also come with controversy since many say the similarities with a dog on a leash come to mind. Comments from bystanders are often along the lines of “Kawawa naman yung bata.” Some also feel like a child harness constrains a child and could possibly hurt him as well when the leash gets taut or is yanked. Are they really that bad? Over at SmartParenting.com.ph's Parent Chat, there's a lively discussion going on.
Those against it
1. I’d rather hold his hand For me, ayaw ko talaga yung harness. Mas gusto kong hawak ko yung kamay ng anak ko pag umaalis kami. This way we teach our children how to behave properly in public areas, and to always be mindful and conscious of their surroundings. 'Pag madaming tao kasi makakasagabal pa yung harness and yung paghabol-habol is part of being a parent, isipin mo na lang form of exercise na din yun. – ParentChatter ea_brea
2. Can’t shake off the pet feeling For me, disagree ako dito. Puwede naman hawakan ang ating mga anak kapag nasa mall tayo at laging tingnan. Feeling ko kasi parang pet lang talaga sila pag may strap. – ParentChatter denise2214 3. Are children that uncontrollable? Uncontrollable ba masyado yung bata na kailangan i-harness? Hindi ko gets kung bakit hindi ma-control ng parents ang anak nila. As parents, we should teach our children how to behave in public places as early as possible. And, it's probably better if we could avoid crowded places kung hindi naman talaga kelangan pumunta dun. – ParentChatter ea_brea
4. Find a different strategy Ako ayaw ko talaga yung baby harness kasi para mo na din kinulong si baby. We used a carrier nung baby pa siya then stroller na ngayon. Pag nagsawa na siya nakaupo, ready na ‘ko tumakbo and humabol sa kaniya. Tinututukan ko na lang talaga. Nakakapagod pero part talaga 'yun ng development ni baby. – ParentChatter aliya_liapot
5. Personal preference I think depende na lang talaga kung san tayo mas mapapalagay ang loob. Kung san sa tingin natin safe ang mga bata.
Ako, sobrang likot ng anak ko lalo na sa mall -- hilig tumakbo at parang di rin natatakot kahit mapalayo na sakin sa kakatakbo niya. Pero no ako sa hand strap. Ayoko lang. So talagang nakatutok ako sa kanya, to make sure hindi sya masasaktan or mawawala. Pagod lang talaga kakahabol at kakasunod pero ok lang. – ParentChatter Nuna
1. Convinced Before, same din ang reaction ko with this “harness” thing. Same with most of the mommies here na nag-react na para namang dog/pet ang mga kids. Until I had my 2nd son. Nagbago ang paningin ko.
Kasi naman useful din ang harness, dahil napakalikot at hindi talaga papa-awat ang bunso ko. Ilagay man namin sa stroller niya, pumipiglas at talagang kumakawala. Ilagay namin sa mga nauuso ngayon na car strollers and pushcarts na nire-rent per hour sa mga malls, deadma.
Kahit madaming tao sa mall, kumakawala pa din at tumatakbo. So, ang ending ng aming pamamasyal, uwian ng maaga, dahil nakakapagod maghabol sa aking bunsong bagets. Plus, nakakatakot at baka mawala pa siyang tuluyan.
Kaya naman, ang “safety harness” na dati ay ayaw ko at nawi-weirduhan ako, kapaki-pakinabang na sa aming anak at sa buong pamilya. Dahil nae-enjoy namin ang malling namin at siyempre, alam ko na nage-enjoy din ang bunso ko dahil nagagawa niya ang gusto niya -- nakakapunta siya sa gusto niyang place/area, with me feeling secured na hindi kami magkakahiwalay. –ParentChatter maivy
2. Necessity is the mother of invention I have a 4-year-old son who we describe na parang vaccum kasi hihigupin niya energy mo. I don't have a yaya to run after my son kapag mamasyal kami dalawa. At sa panahon ngayon ang hirap, hirap na. Malingat ka lang minsan nasasalisi na yung anak mo. And I know 'di ko mapapatawad sarili ko kapag nangyari yun.
Like kapag nasa toy shop kami, minsan o madalas habang nagbabayad ako he will roam around. At least, kapag suot niya yung backpack na may tali, I know nasa tabi ko lang sya. Plus [it's useful] kapag nagbo-bonding siya with his grandparents. Siyempre hindi na naman sila mabilis tumakbo. Kahit papano bantay pa rin siya at 'di niya tatakasan mga lolo at lola niya 'pag nasa mall siya. –ParentChatter mommy darling
3. I know my child best and that she needs it Have been using this all the time. Really don't care kahit pinagtitinginan kami. She's my daughter and I know her very well so alam ko na need ko gamitin yun, not because I don't know how to discipline, but because kids are kids. They tend to break rules... and mahirap nang magsisi. –ParentChatter preciouslara
4. A single mom only has two hands Now that my son is older and can understand why it is important to hold mommy's hand, we rarely use the strap and the harness. But I still use the harness when we go to crowded places.
I am a single mom, I don't have a yaya na sunod ng sunod sa akin or sa baby ko... But I still need to go out, do errands, do my groceries, do all what mommies have to do. I cannot carry a bag on the other shoulder and carry grocery baskets on the other one and hold hands with a very malikot toddler while trying to make up my mind what to buy…I am not lazy just because I use harness. I became productive because of it… I am trying to make life work for us. While I need to do things, my priority is safety. I dont care what others think. My baby is safe. – ParentChatter ilovegabe 5. Only when needed We have used this in malls, Manila Ocean park, Enchanted Kingdom... whenever it's a crowded and well-populated area. Now, he doesn't need to be strapped as frequently, but I would readily put it back on, especially if we're on the airport, and it's just baby and me. My son at least knows that straps are for safety, like when I demand him to put on his car seatbelt and his hand strap. –ParentChatter sweet&spice
Every child is unique, so is every parent and every situation. A child harness or leash works for some and doesn’t for others. Like what developmental-behavioral pediatrician Dr. Stella Guerrero-Manalo told SmartParenting.com.ph on the matter, “What you do to keep your child safe is your business.”
Parents know their children best and are always only concerned about what’s best for their baby – on what keeps them safe and secure by their side. Whether simply holding hands is enough or extra reinforcements are needed is to be decided on by the one who knows the child the best. As long as the method isn’t abusive, all's well.
What do you think of child harnesses and leashes?
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Would you consider using a safety leash on your child?