Gripsterz Child Leash Alternative

We do a fair amount of traveling as a family.  At the moment we are traveling abroad with all the children.  So I thought this might be a good time to write some a blog post or two about keeping children close when traveling.

If you have ever had to bring your children with you through a busy airport such as Miami International Airport or London Heathrow you know how hectic and hair-raising it can be.  Multiply that be 100 and you know the feeling of taking your children through some of the third-world airports missionary families encounter on a regular basis.

Now imagine being in line for the security checkpoint with all your kids, your carry-on items and travel gear.   You definitely want to keep your children close, but sometimes when you use a traditional child leash or harness your child will realize they are being tied up or involuntarily restricted.  Does it help to have them sit down in the middle of the causeway and start bawling their eyes out since this restriction makes them feel like they are being punished when they haven’t done anything wrong?

Gripsterz child tether alternative at SJO San Jose, Costa Rica

Keeping children close with Gripsterz child harness alternative during international travel

Gripsterz Stay Along, which is comprised of a walking rope and voluntary character handle, helps alleviate that stress.  Children hold on to the handle because they like the monkey character, and they do not get upset since they are not being involuntarily restricted.

Gripsterz also gives children a feeling of security and ‘connectedness’.   They don’t have to cling to Mom’s leg because they are in a strange new environment.  Decreasing stress and anxiety for kids helps decrease stress for parents.

While there is no silver bullet for all people in all situations, we have used Gripsterz as an alternative to a child leash extensively during international travel and have found it works wonderfully for our family.

ViveVita has successful show at ABC Kids Expo

ViveVita attended the 2012 ABC Kids Expo in Louisville, KY from October 14-17, 2012.  This was our fifth year attending the show.

ViveVita exhibited the Label Itz line of baby and child labeling products, including:

ViveVita ABC Trade Show Booth 2012

ViveVita and Dr. Brown’s Booths at ABC Kids Expo 2012

Also on exhibit were Gripsterz StayAlong, the original, patented character handle and walking rope, Kissaboo boo-boo covers, and washable, waterproof Everyday Elegance Chair Covers.

Lily Winnail from Padalily visits Robyn Pellei at ViveVita Booth at ABC Kids Expo 2012

Thanks, Lily, for visiting!!!

 

 

 

 

 

We were delighted to be visited by Lily Winnail, CEO and owner of Lily’s Loving Arms, LLC, maker of Padalily. Lily is one of the Huggies Inspired Award winners, a fellow Charlotte-area Mompreneur and friend of Robyn’s, who also happens to be a “movie star”!  She was in the movie “Hunger Games”, and is currently the body double for Claire Danes (Carrie Mathison) in the Showtime series Homeland.  Both of those productions are filmed in our home town area of Charlotte, NC.

Robyn Pellei, the CEO and President of ViveVita, llc was also proud to also announce a synergistic business relationship between ViveVita, llc and Dr. Brown’s Bottles.  Stay tuned…more details to follow on that announcement soon!.

Gripsterz In Action

Managing Children In Airports with Gripsterz!

We made it to Panama!  After months of preparation we saddled up Wednesday morning, and had one of our great babysitters come with us to the airport.  Robyn has to be the greatest packer on the planet!  Our luggage for three months away:  6 checked duffel bags, and roughly half a dozen carry on bags with our computers, and gameboys, games and books for the  kids.

Luggage for three months-6 check bags, 6 carry-on bags

Luggage for three months-6 check bags, 6 carry-on bags

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank goodness you can once again check bags at Skycap for international flights.  That made all the difference in the world!

Robyn and kids travel by Skycap at CLT

Robyn and kids travel by Skycap at CLT

 

We checked in and got a quick lunch at Charlotte International airport….

Kids watching planes at CLT

Kids watching planes at CLT

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kids eating lunch at CLT

Kids eating lunch at CLT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… then boarded and flew through Miami International Airport–grabbing a quick bite to eat, and arrived at Panama-Tocumen Airport (PTY)!

Robyn and the 9 children at the runway at MIA

Robyn and the 9 children at the runway at MIA

Robyn and the 9 children deplaning at MIA

Robyn and the 9 children deplaning at MIA

Gripsterz walking rope helps keep the little 3 boys close at Miami International Airport

Gripsterz walking rope helps keep the little 3 boys close at Miami International Airport

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gripsterz Stay Along monkey handle was critical!  We had the three little boys holding on and keeping up all the way through the airports (see pictures).

Robyn and smaller children with Gripsterz at MIA

Robyn uses Gripsterz walking rope with the little 3 boys at Miami International Airport

Robyn uses Gripsterz walking rope with the little 3 boys at Miami International Airport

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gripsterz and 9 kids at Miami International Airport 5-23-2012.

Bandette Sippy Cup Labels and Gripsterz Character Handle Featured in Recent Reports

Bandette Sippy Cup Labels were recently included in a trade show report by The Giggle Guide.

Gripsterz, the monkey character handle and walking rope system, a child leash alternative, was featured by Barb Arondin on CBS-TV Channel 11 News. Watch this on YouTube..

Types of Involuntary Child Connectors

My previous article pointed out that there are different times and situations that might call for different types of connections between children and parents.  There are a variety of means to connect a child to a parent when traveling or even when just out and about around town.  This article will look at different  tools available and utilized to connect a child to a parent by involuntary means.


As Featured On EzineArticles


As Featured On EzineArticles

Which type of involuntary child connector do you use?  (You might be surprised…)

There are people on the web and in your neighborhood who will vocally oppose the use of child harnesses, tethers and leashes as inhumane or humiliating.  What many of them do not realize is that a large number of them use even more restrictive means of connecting and even controlling the movements of their children.

CHILD CARRIERS

There are a number of child carriers.  There are child slings, front carriers, back carriers, papoose packs, and backpack carriers, to name a few.  These tend to be the most secure carriers, often used for young children before they can walk.  They also happen to be the most restrictive carriers as they bodily connect the child to the parent with a lot of body contact and little freedom to move.

STROLLERS

Believe it or not, strollers are an involuntary means of connecting a child to an adult.  The child is connected into the seat by a three-point or five-point harness, while the parent pushes the stroller to be in complete control of where and when the travel takes place.  The child has a small area within the stroller seat to wiggle around, but not much personal freedom.  Bassinet strollers can be used for infants, reclining strollers can be used with slightly older children, upright strollers when a child can sit on their own, etc.  Children who are old enough to walk are occasionally put in stroller on a long hike or jog (think jogging strollers) when they otherwise may not be able to complete the trek without the need to be carried.  Likewise, they have often been used in settings such as art galleries or museums to keep a child comfortable, and possibly contained.

LEADING STRINGS

Leading strings are attachments sewn directly into clothing, an invention of 17th century Netherlands, with which to help children learn to walk without falling and to guide them in their direction of walking.  A modern day article that functions in a similar fashion is called “walking wings”.  While this gives a child freedom to contact the ground and a small range of freedom, a two-handled connection to the parent or caretaker provides a fairly high level of security to prevent falls.

BODY HARNESS

A body harness fits as a vest or crossing-strap attachment to a child’s torso which is then connected to a parent by means of a connecting tether or strap.  The child may walk or play on the ground, but is restricted to remain within the distance of the connector from the parent.  As the connection between the harness and the strap is usually located on the back of the child, there is little chance of children in such a harness being able to disconnect themselves.  A body harness will not typically prevent a child from falling, but will prevent a child from running off.  An example of use would be on the sidewalk along a busy street.  A cute adaption of this harness is a backpack in the shape of an animal, which then gets a ‘piggyback ride’ from the child.  The animal’s tail is the connecting strap in disguise.

FANNY PACK/BELT CONNECTOR

This article consists of a belt that fits around a child’s waist which is then connected to a parent by a connecting strap.  An alternative approach to this is a fanny pack a child wears like a belt, but is able to store personal items in, that still happens to be connected to an adult by a strap.  Since the child is tethered at the waist, there is a little more freedom than with a torso harness, where a child is tethered from waist to shoulders.  Again, there is a set amount of freedom to explore based on the length of the connecting strap.  This device is unlikely to prevent falls if a child loses his or her footing.

WRIST STRAP/CORD CONNECTOR

This is a simple strap that attaches to a child’s wrist on one end, and an adult on the other end.  One current variation on this product is a wristwatch-looking Velcro strap that attaches to the child’s wrist and a similar looking one that attaches to an adult’s wrist.  Each has a cord with a hook attachment of variable length that connect between the two.  The ‘length of freedom’ granted to the child is a combination of the length of the connecting strap or cord, the length of the child’s arm, and to some degree the length of the adult’s arm.  This also gives a larger degree of freedom, as these tend to be the easiest from which a child may detach themselves.

The above list illustrates there are a variety of means by which a child may be involuntarily connected to an adult.  The list progresses from the most restrictive of those included to the least.  As noted, also, each is used for a slightly different purpose in different security settings.  In general, the more freedom allowed, the less security delivered.  Some may have been surprised to recognize that child carriers and strollers are in the same class of involuntary connectors as harnesses, tethers and leashes.  Were you?

My next article will examine the pros and cons of using the harness-leash-tether types of involuntary child connectors.  Please stay tuned; you might be entertained….

About the author:

David D. Pellei, MD, is the father of 9 children, ages 1-10 years at the time of this writing.  Both his work and leisure take him traveling with family often.  He just recently completed a 27-day journey with his wife and 9 children, driving a van up and down the East Coast of the United States, visiting historic sites from the periods of the American Revolution and the Civil War.  You can read about his trip on the blog:  27 Days in a Green Tin Can.

With his help, and in conjunction with a pediatric occupational therapist, David’s wife Robyn has created Gripsterz, a voluntary character handle, which is just one means of connecting a child to a parent.  You can read more about Robyn and Gripsterz at her website www.ViveVita.com.

Child Leashes-Harnesses-Tethers: For or Against?

Child Leashes-Harnesses-Tethers:  For or Against?…..More like, Beware the extremists!

Fade out to scenario….

I got into the strangest discussionthe other day.  I, a long-haired, barefooted, beach-dwelling dude, was strolling pleasantly along my white soft-sand beach with the wind in my hair.  The gulls calling and gliding on the breeze, and the smell of salty air and coconut oil toasting in the sun gave me a warm, perfect feeling.  When who did I encounter, but a rough Irish bloke wearing the largest pair of winter galoshes!  He accosted me about my bare feet, saying where he came from the air is cold, and the angry Irish sea is violent as it crashes on the rough shore pebbles to slowly wear them smooth.  He insisted we should all be wearing heavy rubber galoshes at all times to protect our feet, while I insisted we should all live in bare feet with no exceptions so we could enjoy the sand in our toes.  We spent the rest of the day arguing over who was right.

Barefoot Public domain image used courtesy of FreeStockPhotos.biz

Fade back to reality…


As Featured On EzineArticles


As Featured On EzineArticles

Which type of involuntary child connector do you use?  (You might be surprised…)

It might be evident from the scenario above that an argument may last a long time if we only reference our own perspective at the current moment and apply it to everyone else without considering their situation and perspective may be different from our own.  In reading web articles and blogs regarding voluntary versus involuntary means of connecting children to parents while in public, this seems to occur unusually frequently.  One group or company may claim a certain product or method is the silver bullet to solve all problems for all families at all times.  Conversely, others argue vociferously against child tethers, harnesses and leashes altogether, deeming it unfit treatment for anyone at any time.  Ironically, many of the same people strongly advocate for the use of involuntary strollers or carriers.

The point is that both sides should avoid absolutes and judgment.  In the barefoot versus galoshes scenario above, one might agree that going barefoot may be fitting on a warm Carribean soft-sand beach.  But the Irish sea argument holds water (excuse the pun) on its own home turf.  And a third person would probably advocate for crampons if they just came off a glacier climb.  The old quote ‘different strokes for different folks’ holds true here.  Or, even with the same person, to paraphrase Ecclesiates, ‘to everything there is a season, a time to every purpose’.

So it is with family connectors.  The proper use of the proper tool or technique will depend on many things.  It may depend on the individual make-up of a family, including the number of children and age range, the temperament and abilities of each child, and the needs and possibly special needs of each child.  A family with an eight year old and a twelve year old may not need a child harness, nor a stroller, nor even a hand hold, in the proper setting.  However, a family with three-year-old twins may need a lot more attention and help to keep up with the young crew.  And a family with four or even eight will realize the adults don’t have enough hands to hold onto everyone.

Likewise, different settings call for different measures.  A family may not likely need strollers or harnesses in their church nursery, but they may want something to keep the children a little closer in a shopping mall, and closer still while crossing a busy street or parking lot.  While sitting at a departure gate waiting for a flight, a child may not need anything but the parent in the next chair, but my guess is an extra pair of hands would be most useful to help manage things going through airport security checkpoints.

Speaking of airports and security, things will also differ based on the level of security in different geographic areas, settings, and times.  It may be fine to escort a few children around a Pennsylvania farm on a non-harvest day.  But my guess is that it would be somewhat harrowing to escort the same bunch through Times Square on New Year’s Eve.  The different levels of security would likely call for different methods of keeping contact.  Likewise, a missionary family with six small children will be taking different precautions when they traverse the campus of the JAARS missionary training center in Waxhaw, NC, than when they pass through a third world city in an area known for abductions and human trafficking.

The end picture is that unlike our barefoot versus galoshes argument at the beginning of our article, we need to keep an open mind with respect to what will work for ourselves and other people, and anyone arguing absolutes should consider that other people may have different perspectives and situations than our own.  Not all families have the same number of children with the same ages, temperaments and needs.  Not all settings will require they same level of connection between family members.  And certainly not all levels of security will require one single answer.

In my next article, I will attempt to explore and classify different types of involuntary child connectors (stay tuned, as you might be surprised by some on the list…).

About the author:

David D. Pellei, MD, is the father of 9 children, ages 1-10 years at the time of this writing.  Both his work and leisure take him traveling with family often.  He just recently completed a 27-day journey with his wife and 9 children, driving a van up and down the East Coast of the United States, visiting historic sites from the periods of the American Revolution and the Civil War.  You can read about his trip on the blog:  27 Days in a Green Tin Can.

With his help, and in conjunction with a pediatric occupational therapist, David’s wife Robyn has created Gripsterz, a voluntary character handle, which is just one means of connecting a child to a parent.  You can read more about Robyn and Gripsterz at her website www.ViveVita.com

Author’s outline notes below:

(avoid judgement)

  • Different strokes for different folks—barefoot analogy
    • Different families
    • Different children
      • Number of children
      • Ages & abilities
      • Temperaments
      • Needs & special needs
    • Different settings
    • Different levels of security

.