J loves trains! Especially, Thomas the Train and all of his friends. We always plan our summer vacation several months in advance. Last year we decided to visit Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock, NC on our way to our final destination. It is a fun theme park with many rides similar to what I remember riding as a kid. Plus, there is a big train you can ride named “Tweetsie”. Even better, their calendar of events showed that Thomas was going to be there the time same as us!
We knew all three kids were going to have a lot of fun, but I did have one concern. There would be a lot of people there and J is a runner. J was 5 at this point and getting stronger and faster. I could catch him, but it might take a few seconds. In a crowd it could take even longer. J will usually walk while holding hands, but not always. Plus, he may be just too excited when he sees Thomas.
Finding A Child Safety Harness
So I started looking for a child safety harness for him to wear. At first I was concerned about the looks we may get, but his safety and our ability to keep him safe were more important than anything else. I searched online, but the vast majority of child safety harnesses I found were for toddlers. Also, everything I found that would fit him, looked way to easy for him to take off. The little guy can wiggle out of about anything. Then, I came across a site called Children’s Harnesses by Elaine. She makes custom child safety harnesses and I thought the prices were reasonable. Her site explains a lot about the harnesses and why she makes them. I have not been paid or compensated in any way for talking about these harnesses.
We ordered J’s with a non-removable hand strap (permanent handle), a 5 foot removable lead, and a removable crotch strap. We bought the crotch strap in case J tried to pull the child safety harness off over his head. Turns out that would be hard to do and we haven’t had to use it. When the child safety harness arrived, our intention was to try to get him used to it prior to our trip. We never successfully did. So the first day we completely strapped it on was the day we went to Tweetsie. We put it on at the place we were staying which was only a few minutes away.
Putting The Child Safety Harness To The Test
Now he fought like crazy when we were putting it on, but once it was on he calmed down and as soon as we arrived at Tweetsie, he wasn’t bothered by it at all. It wound up working great! We could give J some freedom to move around and we weren’t constantly nervous that he was going to get away or get hurt.
It was a fantastic day at Tweetsie! We rode Thomas and lots of other rides. I really liked how the place operated. There were not a ton of rules and the lines moved quickly. The food was expensive, but that’s pretty much true everywhere now days.
We’ve used the child safety harness a few other times and something unexpected has happened. J doesn’t fight putting it on. Every time he wears it we go or do something fun and I think he realizes that. That’s been a great added bonus. The child safety harness was made with adjustable straps so we should be able to use it for a few more years. I’m sure it will come in handy when we are on vacation this summer too!
Read more of my posts on the topic of Autism here.
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