/ harness for kids ...full body or waist?

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mark s - on 27 Sep 2017
i want to get my 7 year old daughter a harness but wasn't sure which to go for. she is 7 and big for her age.
TobyA on 27 Sep 2017
In reply to mark s:

I think they normally give size guide lines based on the kids weight? I suspect you'd still get a good couple of years out of full body harness for 7 year old, with the added peace of mind that it is the safer option. I think my son only started using a sit harness when we got this one to review: https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=5779 (scroll down) and it says there he was 9 and half!
MFB - on 27 Sep 2017
In reply to mark s:
It pretty much depends on the child's developmental stage, if they have hips and waistline (little kids don't and need a body harness) a sit harness is much easier all round.
We found

http://eu.blackdiamondequipment.com/en_GB/climbing-harnesses/wiz-kid-BD651071_cfg.html#start=24
a really good harness
the kids Edelrid is just not as good - difficult to put on

https://www.edelrid.de/en/sports/sit-harnesses/finn-ii.html

7yrs- might be bit young for sit harness
Post edited at 19:44
marsbar - on 27 Sep 2017
In reply to mark s:

Usually at 7 I'd say full body.

Does she have defined hips or is she straight up and down?

If she doesn't have hips she needs a full body harness to prevent the risk of falling out of the harness.
mark s - on 27 Sep 2017
In reply to mark s:

thanks for advice, I think a full body is best, also as she is pretty new to climbing she hasn't experience on a rope.
Stefan Jacobsen - on 27 Sep 2017
In reply to mark s:

My son was 6 or 7 when he began using a sit harness for top roping, abseiling and ascending the rope. Perfectly fine.
wayne1965 - on 28 Sep 2017
In reply to Stefan Jacobsen:

It's true that a sit harness CAN work!
however ... if something goes wrong ....
..... in a full harness there should be no way the kid can end up hanging upside down.... that might freak them out a tad
or worse ...... best not go there!
marsbar - on 28 Sep 2017
In reply to wayne1965:

I think you mean that if the child does go upside down they won't fall out of a body harness, but may fall out of a sit harness.
gallam1 - on 28 Sep 2017
In reply to mark s:

Full body, no contest. My 10 year old still wears his and so does his 7 year old brother. They have the Petzl Ouistiti. I find it removes one source of imagined accidents and that is a great blessing when introducing small boys to climbing.
In reply to mark s:

At that age, go full body for sure.

Our 6 and 4 year olds have got on really well with the Edelrid Fraggle II, and there looks to be plenty of growing room left in it yet - review here:

https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=8448

We're now reviewing the Petzl OUISTITI. Early days yet but so far I'd say it seems as good as the Fraggle
MFB - on 28 Sep 2017
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

Ouistiti-very good
cb294 - on 28 Sep 2017
In reply to mark s:

Body harness is indeed safer, but if you have a sit harness that fits now and offers a bit of room for your daughter to grow into, you can simply add a chest harness. Even it is jury rigged from a sling it will prevent her inverting.

All my children survived just fine....

CB
winhill - on 28 Sep 2017
In reply to mark s:

If you look at the BMC YCS competitors at age 8 they all have sit harnesses, except a very occasional one.

A big 7 YO should be fine in a sit harness unless they have no hip definition.

Kids are also way more likely to claim a harness is uncomfortable if it's a full harness and ask to be released, whereas a sit they wear all day IME.
marsbar - on 28 Sep 2017
In reply to cb294:

Don't see anything wrong with that.
marsbar - on 28 Sep 2017
In reply to winhill:

I've never had kids complain about wearing a body harness. However some don't have any padding so maybe that is the issue?
mark s - on 28 Sep 2017
In reply to mark s:

going down the line of a sit harness and can rig a sling around her chest. will get a bit more life out of it then. just got to hope she enjoys routes as she does bouldering
summo on 28 Sep 2017
In reply to mark s:

Some petzl models have a separate chest harness, so if they fill out you can just stop using it and get full life out of the sit harness. Can't remember the name of it and it's in the car still from this evening, bright orange in colour though!
wayne1965 - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to marsbar:

yes and no .... a fully body hardness tie on point is higher up (chest area) and so more or less impossible to end up upside down.
krikoman - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to mark s:

Why not get both?

This is good and I've used it with most of my kids. It is adjustable and has a massive range.

https://www.amazon.com/Petzl-Voltige-Chest-Harness/dp/B002IAODZS

Or if your a bit more adventurous.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/238517631/custom-built-100-leather-military-chest
MFB - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to wayne1965:
'fully body hardness tie on point is higher up (chest area) and so more or less impossible to end up upside down.'

Take care with the knot, tendency to whack child in face when under tension.
Post edited at 17:57
marsbar - on 04 Oct 2017
In reply to wayne1965:

Ah I see what you mean.
winhill - on 05 Oct 2017
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

> At that age, go full body for sure.

Why for sure?

It seems well out of step with current practice.

NICAS is a scheme to standardise indoor training for young climbers, aimed from age 7 and up (just like the OP).

The first part is about harnesses, the (Rockfax published!) Beginner's Guide, shows two different types of waist harnesses. A standard sit and an Alpine centre style with the tie in point above the waist band (which is what the walls round here use from age 5).

Full body harnesses are not mentioned at all, the focus is on adjusting the waist band, a threadback and zip lock required to be demonstrated.

This is all aimed at ab initio kids from non-climbing backgrounds.
summo on 05 Oct 2017
In reply to winhill:

Our kids are 8 and 10, climbed for a few years now. One has full bod, the other a machuu (spelling) and a chest harness. We climb in and out, of the two the full body is far more practical and seems easier for kids when young.

It is great to standardise, but better to use what you and your kids are happiest with. There are enough rules with kids climbing and paranoid centre staff, without the crag police getting excited about your choice of harness.
marsbar - on 05 Oct 2017
In reply to winhill:

Maybe there has been a change in advice more recently?

My information was from Scouts quite a few years ago.
climbwhenready - on 05 Oct 2017
In reply to winhill:

The test is whether a child has defined enough hips not to fall out if they invert.

It is better to apply that "current practice" than to go with what's shown in a picture in a book.
Jus - on 05 Oct 2017
In reply to mark s:

My 7 year old has worn a sit harness since she was 6, and is absolutely fine. in it. She always complained about the full body harness being uncomfortable!

She doesn't lead climb yet, so why not?

My older daughter started leading regularly at 9.

winhill - on 05 Oct 2017
In reply to summo:

> It is great to standardise, but better to use what you and your kids are happiest with.

It's not about standardisation, it's about the quality of advice being given on UKC.

This is very out of step, shows a true lack of useful experience, to say 'for sure' that you wouldn't put a 7YO in a sit harness.

It means you can't teach kids to tie in properly, it means you can't teach kids to belay properly.

So it begs the question at what age would you do that?
summo on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to winhill:

> It means you can't teach kids to tie in properly,

Our 8yr old tied herself into her full body harness last night. Rethreaded fig8. 10 yr old the same with the combo (machuu and chest harness).

> So it begs the question at what age would you do that?

When you know they won't ever fall out of a sit harness?

Because we have two different types they can swap harnesses and practice. At that young age attention spans vary etc.. I let our kids rest, play, boulder between wall climbing.. they can learn belaying in a year or two.
marsbar - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to winhill:
Personally I probably wouldn't teach a seven year old to belay. However that is my preference and I'm not saying other people shouldn't.

I'd say around 10 if I had to put a number on it. However that's me speaking as someone who takes other people's children climbing, and usually beginners, same with the harness. Parents are in a different position to make those judgements. Children who climb regularly might well be learning to belay at a younger age. Parents know if their child is likely to deliberately flip themselves upside down. Scout Leaders etc have to err on the side of caution. If someone asks, then the answer towards caution is the one I'd give, with reasons. It doesn't mean anyone going for the sit harness is wrong as long as they understand the difference and make that decision in an informed way.
Post edited at 08:53
marsbar - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to Jus:

I tend to recommend the Tom Kitten, it's properly padded and I know various small children who have worn one happily all day.

It's also ideal for hanging them off tree trunks and other silly behaviour
marsbar - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to summo:

I also think that it's about recreation vs sport. I tend to be very much a recreation person and think kids should be playing and climbing, not belaying. However if people see climbing as a sport then they will be looking at progressing and so on.
krikoman - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to Jus:


> She doesn't lead climb yet, so why not?


Because kids don't have hips, and if she inverts she might slip out of a sit harness.

Leading doesn't have much to do with it to be honest.
purplemonkeyelephant - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to mark s:

If the child doesn't have enough responsibility to make an informed decision for themselves whether the risk of inversion is worth it, then obviously full body harness.
In reply to winhill:

Perhaps there are some big 7 year olds out there, but I don't think I've seen one I'd consider large enough to properly fit a sit harness. Our eldest will be 7 in a couple of weeks and she's way off that. No hips.

At that age I really don't think the benefit of a sit harness outweighs the obvious things-going-wrong potential. A decent full body harness isn't really that restrictive anyway (he says, never having worn one) - I've put kids way older than 7 in them with no complaints.

A climbing wall is a very controlled place - perhaps indoors, just top roping, with zero danger of inversion, I'd risk a sit harness if that's all there was. But outdoors, no. Either place, what's to be gained that outweighs the increased safety margin of a full body harness?
summo on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to marsbar:

> I also think that it's about recreation vs sport. I tend to be very much a recreation person and think kids should be playing and climbing, not belaying. However if people see climbing as a sport then they will be looking at progressing and so on.

Would agree, don't want to house the kids into any particular sport and turn into a Judy Murray. They can decide their own direction and intensity later.
winhill - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

> Perhaps there are some big 7 year olds out there, but I don't think I've seen one I'd consider large enough to properly fit a sit harness.

So you've never even tried it? Like I said it belies a desperate lack of experience.

Something like 150,000 kids have done NICAS, I think if there was a problem with the 7YOs it would have raised itself by now.

The Foundry in Sheffield is advertising for Lead Climbing Team members ATM and the age range is 7-13, no chest harnesses there.

My local wall puts 5 YOs in an Alpine waist harness and their NICAS too, I've seen literally thousands of their sessions and they don't need to resort to chest harnesses.

Have you ever seen a 7YO kids sessions at a wall?

> A climbing wall is a very controlled place - perhaps indoors, just top roping, with zero danger of inversion, I'd risk a sit harness if that's all there was. But outdoors, no. Either place, what's to be gained that outweighs the increased safety margin of a full body harness?

I'm not clear why you think an outdoor face is much riskier, or why you'd think there is zero chance of inversion on an indoor wall, but it sounds like you don't have much useful experience of kids in indoor/outdoor climbing environments.

There's nothing wrong with not knowing of course but best to limit the advice to areas you know about.
girlymonkey - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to marsbar:

> I also think that it's about recreation vs sport. I tend to be very much a recreation person and think kids should be playing and climbing, not belaying. However if people see climbing as a sport then they will be looking at progressing and so on.

I find kids are often very keen to belay as it is what everyone else does. They often don't want to be left out of that process.
winhill - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to girlymonkey:

> I find kids are often very keen to belay as it is what everyone else does. They often don't want to be left out of that process.

It's not just that they want to do it or they may feel left out, it's a good way to run a session.

It's not about recreation vs sport or some sort of hot-housing(!) these are just random guesses from people who do know.

If you have 1 instructor and 6 kids for 2 hours, if the instructor belays each kid themselves, then each kid gets maximum of 20 minutes.

OTOH if you teach the kids to belay (this can be lesson 1 or 2 of an ab initio course), then the instructor can easily tail 3 ropes while the kids get 1 hour of climbing each.

You simply can't do this if you put the kids in full body harnesses.
marsbar - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to winhill:

I wasn't referring to running a session for 6 kids. I was referring to parents taking their own child climbing as in the question. For a session with 6 kids it does make sense to teach belaying.

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