A HBC reader suggest that this practice began in the Netherlands during the the 17th century. He reports that family life with children brought up as children began in those so beautiful little houses. We can not yet conform or dispute this. The harness for childdren reappeared at the turn of the century, especially in London and Paris. Modern children's harnesses seem to be much more common in Britain than America. They are available from both Boots and MotherCare. They appear to be less commonly available in America. We are not sure how common they are in Continental Europe. There are many books published in France about that practice of leashing. The most famous is Philippe Aries on children during the Ancien Régime". I am less sure about modern France.
The modern children's walking harness appear to be less commonly available in America than in some Ruropean countries, especially Britain. We have no information on the 19th century. What we thought was a child's saftey harness in 1900 Sears catalog turns out to be more likely a play for children's games of horsey. We do not recall seening many parents using saftey harnesses during the post-World War II era. A HBC reader who wore one has a todler, however, tells us that they did exist. The move to the suburbs after world War II may have reduced the need for saftey harnesses as it was a relatively secure environment. We have noted increasing numbers of saftey harneses in the 1990s and 2000s perhaps reflecting an increasing parental concern with saftey and security.
We note increasing numbers of English children being put into leather harnesses in the late 19th century. We note a number of historic drawings. We do not note any photographs from the late 19th and early 20th century. This does not mean that they were not ued, but it is crious that we have not been able to find photographs. We do note photographs of English mothers using saftey harnesses after World war II. It seems to have been much more common than in America or European countries. We are not sure why this was. The English seem especially concerned with security. We even note a special coomemorative harness sold on the occassion of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953. We know nothing quite like it from any other country. We do not no Modern children's harnesses seem to be much more common in Britain than America. They are still commonly used in England and are available from both Boots and MotherCare.
We note an Estonian company currently offering children's play harnesses. The ad reads "Pony Harness: nd they’re off! Here’s a great way to “harness” all that energy
from kids who go through life at a gallop, and turn it into teamwork. Take turns being the horseman, or the trotting, foot-stamping, whinneying pony. Includes 32" reins, extendable,
easy-tie waist belt and three jingling bells to add to the fun. For ages 3 to 10 years." The company is: Magic Cabin. it is a traditional enterprise trying to offer traditional games to the modern generation. It is a German-Estonian harness. Not real strong as a webbedsafty harness, but suitable for children's play.
The practice of harnessing children seems common in France as least as early as the 17th century, especially among the privliged classes. We note both Louis XV as a child with leading strings. We also note the son of Emperor Napoleon I, but he seems to be pictured more with a harness than leading strings. There are many books published in France about that practice of leashing. The most famous is Philippe Aries on children during the Ancien Régime". The practice of harnassing children apperaed in Paris at the turn of the 20th century at about the same time as in London for the same reasons.
We have liitle information at this time about the use of child walking harnesses in Germany. We note that the Some traditional leather child harnesses look quite similar to the leather halters worn with Bavarian lederhosen.
A HBC reader suggest that this practice began in the Netherlands during the the 17th century. He reports that family life with children brought up as children began in those so beautiful little houses. We can not yet conform or dispute this. One Dutch reader recalls a halter-like device that was prescribed for him as a boy in the 1960s.
Reports from Norway in the early 20th century indicate thatv simple rope tethers attavched with waist bands were in use. These were chuld minding devices to keep children close at hime. We do not know how common this was. Reports from Norway in the eraly 20th century indicate thatv simple rope tethers attavched with waist bands were in use. We do not know how popular child harnesses are in Norway today.
A Scottish reader tells us, "I read your article on children's harnesses with interest, since I always used one for my children in the 1960s. I am Scottish and the harnesses
were used by all the mothers I knew in order to be sure the toddler would not run off into a busy street. They have the great advantage of holding the child secure both from escaping into danger and also from falling since they give toddlers some sense of freedom when they do not have the walking and balance skills acquired by older children. When I came to the United States, I brought the harnesses with me and was greeted by shocked intakes of breath when Americans saw my toddler walking safely on the harness in busy streets. I did not ask, and nobody ventured a comment, but I have always thought they suspected it was some form of
punishing restraint, and I was probably a somewhat unfit mother! The design of the harnesses also allowed them to be used to anchor the child securely in a highchair or stroller to prevent a boisterous and adventurous child from climbing or falling out.
These harnesses were not generally used after the child was about 3 years old since by then, they have usually learned to stay with the parent and not run into danger. Now I see them in more common use. I also see wrist restraints, which seem to me to be very much more dangerous since a sudden movement by the child allied to a responsive tug by the mother could result in a dislocated shoulder for the toddler." -- Margaret Gloag
A reader tell us, "I saw your page about harnesses and read about your missing
information on the child play with the harness. Such harness could still be bought in toy store for kindergardens or therapies supplies here. I grown up in Switzerland and I can remember my kindergarten time, where we had such harnesses too (about 1978). They were of some belt material, like canvas. There was no opening or buckle and the reins were fix sewn to it, you have to tow it over your head and slip your arms in it.
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