We’re not entirely sure who invented child leashes, but they have found their way to Japan and the controversy that surrounds them has been imported right alongside. Discussed widely on Japanese online parenting forums, the disputed child gear are dubbed "maigo himo" (literally, “lost child cord”) and have become increasingly available at online shopping sites such as Rakuten.
But no matter what you call it – be it lost child cord, leash, harness, tether, or reins – one thing’s for sure: No one can agree if they are an embarrassment or proper parenting tool.
Japanese netizens who disapprove of child harnesses have been quite vocal on Japanese forums:
“I’ve never used one myself, but I have seen other parents using them. That’s because I’m under the impression that my kid isn’t an animal.”
“It’s certainly very unsightly when seen around town. It looks just like you’re taking your pet out.”
“Kids aren’t pets! As long as the parents are keeping a close watch on their children and make sure they’re holding their hand when walking around, that’s good enough. It almost seems like child abuse.”
On the other side of the debate, “safety” seems to be the keyword, with many people claiming children are kept out of harm’s way while physically attached to their parent.
“I started using one because I thought I might be slow to react if something were to ever happen.”
“Even if I hold my child’s hand, they’re able to twist and get away. Those who choose to only hold their child’s hand judge us for using a harness, but they won’t understand why we use a harness until something like that happens.”
“I used a harness on my toddler when I was pregnant with my second child. My belly was so big, I couldn’t run after my child if they were in a dangerous situation. Other than for this reason, everything will be fine if you just hold your child’s hand."
Some seemed completely terrified of taking their children outside for fear they might be kidnapped or injured by a stranger, citing harnesses decrease those risks:
“It can’t be helped, these are the times we live in. Even if a mother is near her child at the park, there are people who run around murdering anyone with a hammer, that’s just how it is now. It’s horrible.”
“The largest threat to a child’s life isn’t illness, it’s unforeseen accidents.”
One mother commented that she went to a crowded outdoor festival with her child attached with a harness and was complemented on her parenting by a police officer who said there were many lost children that day. Others said a harness should only be used on children ages one to three, adding that it’s best to use one even if it decreases accidents by a small fraction. Many took a hardline on the issue, saying they’d rather their child “look like a pet” than get killed in an accident.
It seems there’s no consensus in Japan when it comes to the use of child harnesses. Some can’t get over how strange it looks, others wonder why you wouldn’t use one to keep your child extra safe.
Source: Naver Matome
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