May 1, 2014

Using a Child Safety Tether

The boys are walking. Everywhere. They are so proud when Casey and I let them walk holding our hands! Wether it be down their bedroom hallway or across the mall, they love to walk. But I can't safely hold two hands when I am out with them by myself. And it will only get harder when the new little guy arrives.
For now, I can still win a good old fashioned alligator wrestling match and get the boys into the stroller when we are out. They fight getting in tooth and nail because they hate the loss of freedom, but once they are strapped down and contained they don't mind riding in the stroller. But, I know that the opportunity to walk, and experience independence, and explore the world would be really good for them.
Davy walking with Daddy at the mall.
I would love to give them that freedom during a walk around the neighborhood or on our next trip to the arboretum. But remember, I am a mom of 15 month old twins! And they are curious little explorers who have no concept of danger or cars or strange dogs. Even just a walk on our residential street is more than my nerves can take. Oh squirrel.... Just as brother sees a dog. And then brother cutely waves at the car - as he runs towards it. Oh another squirrel! SQUIRREL!
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So, leashes. Or, the PC term, child safety tethers. Doesn't that sound better?
In my opinion, the tether allows relative freedom to explore the world and touch the grass and see the flowers and expend some energy compared to sitting in the stroller. While I love to babywear and I am still able to tandem carry, I know in my pregnant state it won't be much longer until my belly is too big for someone to fit on front. And you can't babywear three at a time so that isn't a long term solution.
Hence why I'm currently researching backpack harnesses.
All three of my babies.
The argument against tethers seems to be that they are inhumane and children deserve to be treated better than animals. I am confused by that line of thought. I love my dog enough to walk her on a leash because I know she is oblivious to danger and would run off. I love my kids. They are oblivious to danger. They would run off. So shouldn't I treat my kids at least as well as I treat my dog and offer them a tether?
I agree that some parents use leashes to lazy parent and drag their child around. I agree they are ripe with issues. But I feel that when they are used as intended, they can be a great safety tool. I love holding hands and walking with my boys, but the backup of a harness seems like a great safety protocol. I know I'll still have to chase and crouch and control and manage and discipline. And hopefully the controlling and managing and disciplining will render the leashes unnecessary in not too much time. But until then, I feel comfortable exploring this option.
I know that the harnesses are really controversial so I'm opening myself up to all sorts of parenting criticism here, but:
  • Do you have a backpack harness you use?
  • Do you like it?
  • Does it help keep your child safe?
  • Have you tried one and not liked it?
  • Did it not work for you?
  • Please don't chime in with your opinion on why you would never use one. I want to hear from people who are open-minded enough to explore the possibility.

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