|This article does not cite any sources. (March 2012)|
A child harness (alternative: child tether, child leash, British English: walking reins) is a safety restraint for walking with children. The device is mostly used with toddlers and children of preschool age, and typically consists of a shoulder harness with a lead (tether) secured in the back, either directly or by means of a hook.
When the device is used, a child wears the harness and a parent or a guardian holds the end of the lead or attaches it to their wrist. This allows the child relative freedom of movement in comparison to being seated in a stroller, carried by the adult (with or without a child carrier), or being held by the hand. At the same time, the child harness prevents child separation from the adult by the way of the child running off in a crowded or dangerous area.
There exists a difference of opinion on the use of child harnesses. Those in favor argue for the benefit of enhanced safety, and increased freedom of movement compared to hand-holding or confinement of children to strollers. Those opposed to their use prefer restraining children through hand-holding, not making them seem like animals, confinement to strollers, or not permitting children who behave badly or wander away to leave their homes.