A family from Sackville, N.B. is hoping to save the backs of parents across the country, while helping to teach kids how to skate at a very young age.
Chris and Martine Patterson invented a learn-to-skate harness after struggling to teach their own kids how to skate.
“We took our youngest daughter skating and she was only about a year and after holding her up after only one or two laps around the ice my back was sore and she was not happy either,” Chris said.
So he and his wife Martine, who is a physiotherapist, got creative and hit the garage. Using some PVC pipe, an old jolly jumper harness and some skate laces, Patterson says they rigged up a harness that would fit a young toddler and hit the rink.
“I first did it as something to teach my kids how to skate, but when I saw other parents wanting it and asking where I got it I knew it might be something for the mass market,” he said.
The couple, who have never been inventors or entrepreneurs, are in the process of patenting the two stage learn-to-skate harness that can be used for kids as young as one year old.
WATCH: A family from Sackville, N.B. is hoping to save the backs of parents across the country, while helping to teach kids how to skate at a very young age. Global’s Shelley Steeves reports.
Figure skating instructor Jessica Allen has been teaching kids how to skate for 15 years. She says for parents trying to do the same, it can “literally” be a pain in the backside.
“Most of the time you are bent over and trying to physically support the kids,” Allen said.
She says she has used the harness, now available online, for her own kids and says the push handle allows parents who are not good skaters themselves to be more confident teaching their kids.
“It just allows the kids to feel confident. We want the skating rink to be a fun place for kids to come and not a place where they feel they are being forced into something that is not fun,” Allen said.
Chris, who now uses the harness for his own one-year-old son, says the product will glide into stores across Canada this coming fall.
“Our little boy Jack goes in it and he is learning the fundamentals of skating and is having fun on the ice and if he falls he just gets caught in the harness so he never gets hurt”
It’s an idea born out of necessity that Chris hopes will one day help turn young children into superstar skaters on the ice.