String along: An example of a baby harness that keeps your child close to hand. Picture: Facebook
There was a time when a leash was only really meant for a dog, or pet of other sort. However, modern-day parents who take their kids out to busier and busier places are devising ways in which to keep them in check, and more importantly, safe.

A video clip showing a dad walking in a mall with his son attached to a type of harness has caused quite a stir on social media this week, with many asking: would you string your child around in a public area?

In a matter of days, the video posted to Penjual Barang Import Murah’s Facebook page clocked up more than 172 million views and counting.

This particular toddler harness, is attached to the adult’s wrist with a retractable cord which connects to the child’s arm. It’s quite a nifty invention, considering what’s available on the market currently.

Anyone with a small child who has just learnt to walk knows how difficult it is to keep them on hip and hand, in a stroller or to bend down to hold hands while walking.

But what do you do when they decide to make a beeline for the pricey playthings in the shopping centre? Do you yank the chain?

The comments associated with the post ranged from shock to delight, with some agreeing that the horror of child snatching and human trafficking is all too real.

One Facebook user Nicole Dillman commented: “It isn’t for keeping your child from running off, it’s to keep strangers from taking your child. And it lets your kid walk around without having to hold your hand. Human trafficking is serious.”

Another user Nancy Sick said: “You get frowned upon and judged if you use something like this – and you get judged if you let your kid run crazy. Someone will always say something about the way you parent.”

Most seemed to approve of the Harness Safety Baby, while others took a harsher stance, accusing parents of being lazy. Jim Hall commented: “This is just an excuse for parents to be a little less responsible. How did people ever take care of children without inventions such as this?”

Bertram Joe Dinesen was less forgiving: “How about you watch your kid instead when you’re in public places? It’s not that difficult if you actually participate now and then.”

When shown the video, mom of a rambunctious toddler Megan Baadjies laughed in delight, saying: “I’d definitely get that! I think it’s the best invention ever – it’s like holding your child’s hand – but not really.”

There are pros and cons to harnessing children, but safety takes priority in the leash debate.

What the parenting expert says:

There are pros and cons to harnessing children, but safety takes priority in the leash debate. Parenting expert Lee Koetser shares her thoughts:

Keep your friends close and your kids closer

It is extremely easy for a mother to become distracted when you are speaking to someone. It takes only a second for your gremlin to pull away and a split second to be swiped by a stranger.

Look right, left and right again

Crossing the road sounds easy but if your busy body wriggles loose in an intersection, your beautiful bundle may in seconds become a pancake.

Movement means development

Sometimes the only way to shop is to confine your child in a stroller. By keeping them strapped in you are not only looking for World War 3 but not ensuring your child gets the movement required for optimal development. Yes, prams are used but they are not ideal for long periods of time.

Protection from others but also from oneself

I am in the special needs sector of education and often see the effects of children with these barriers of which impulsivity is one. One of the traits of impulsivity is not taking into account the consequences for one's actions. A harness in this regard will protect your child from making poor impulsive choices.