Would You Walk Your Child On A Leash?

Would You Walk Your Child On A Leash?

Mom Jeanine
June 8, 2010


Good Question, hot topic, Jeanine Edwards

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On my way to pick my daughter up from school yesterday, I couldn’t help but be totally appalled as one woman walked her son home…on a leash. I’m not kidding–see for yourself:

That cute stuffed animal isn’t fooling me–a leash is a leash and a little kid being yanked and tugged by his/her parent is just cruel in my eyes. I understand why some moms and dads might initially consider these backpack leashes, otherwise known as safety harnesses; keeping track of your kid is a lot easier when he/she is always just a leash-length away. But after you start to think about it, do you really want this human being, that you birthed no less, tethered to a string like your pet? The thought of it just really breaks my heart.

I didn’t say anything to the mother because my initial instinct is always to each her own. But now that I’ve had a few hours to sit with it, I really hate the idea of kids on leashes. What about you? Would you ever use a leash with your child? Would you ever say anything to a mom who had her kid on a leash?

If the idea of strapping your little one into a safety harness (a.k.a. a leash) doesn’t seem all that bad to you, even I can admit this puppy ($12) is pretty adorable. I wouldn’t use it as a leash, but you decide what’s best for your child.

If you, like me, can’t wrap your head around the whole kid on a leash idea, give this electronic leash ($26) a try. Just attach the transmitter toy to your child’s clothing and you hold onto the sensor. If your child starts to wander off–beginning at 6 feet up to 30 feet–the sensor will begin to beep.

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  • michelle
    June 16, 2010

  • I think the leash is a great thing for a parent of two or more kids and your taking the fam to an amuesment park. It is very easy to get lost and if your kids are anything like mine they don’t want to hold hands and they don’t want to ride in a stroller all day. so the leash is a good thing to have in some cases.

  • Nicole
    June 16, 2010

  • Safety harnesses are awesome. I’m sorry, when you have multiple kids that like to run away at every chance they get, then yes I’m using a harness. At first I shared the same thoughts as yours prior to becoming a mom but soon realized that it was not a bad ideal. The key word here is safety, as crazy as it may look it helps protect my child from running in the street or away. I rather be safe than sorry. Plus my child loves it. Lastly, don’t put it as if it’s in relation to walking a animal or its some horrible torcher because it’s far from it. And I would love for others moms who disagree to approach me; I don’t mind sharing my opinion.

  • Val
    June 16, 2010

  • I’ve never used a leash with my child before because I figured I could handle a wandering kid, but after a few trips dealing with airports, luggage, crowds of people in the tarmac and trying to get on/off airplanes, I’m all for it. I don’t believe it should be used all the time, but it’s a good thing in certain circumstances.

  • Kristen
    June 16, 2010

  • I own two of those. I have only used them maybe 4-5 times. My 2yr old loves to wear the backpack and carry as many toys that will fit in there. I have four children and recently my 2yr old has decided that running from mommy and daddy is the greatest game in the world. She finds it hysterical. Most of the time she will hold my hand or ride in a buggy when we‘re in public. Sometimes riding in a buggy isn’t an option or she gets noodle legs because she doesn’t want to hold my hand. I think the harness is great for when it is necessary. As cool as the electronic one may sound 6ft could be out of site. Heck, 3ft could be out of site in a department store or crowded area. My children are my world and if keeping them safe means them wearing “leash” then so be it. This is not a parent parading their child around like an animal. This is a parent taking safety measures to protect someone very dear to them. It is no different putting a child in a car seat. Do you consider making a child wear a seat belt (sometimes against their will) cruel? I understand a child’s safety harness might not be for everyone and that’s fine. Not every child is a like. Not everyone parents their children the same. As parents we have to constantly adapt to what’s best for our family. Sometimes that requires us to be more open minded.

  • sarah
    June 16, 2010

  • its funny, because I bet if the mom didnt have her child on a “leash” and the child was running from her, and child got hit by a car..you would be bitching about that too.

  • Lori
    June 16, 2010

  • It never ceases to amaze me how ppl think they can raise other ppl’s children better than their own. I hope you asked that lady permission to take a photo of her child before lambasting them on the internet! Because if you didn’t that smacks a lot worse than any feelings you might have about this leash. I think these leashes are a great way to keep track of your kids without losing them to a crowd or to a sleezy pedophile/kidnapper. Kids are quick and can disappear like THAT. To compare an apparatus like this to something akin to walking a dog is asinine.

  • Stephanie
    June 16, 2010

  • Everyone else has said it just as well as I can, but I’ll add one comment – the one I used when I LET one of my children wear their puppy or frog leash: Better on a leash than on a milk carton.

  • Mara
    June 16, 2010

  • Its very simple. A person with a problem with the “leash” has never had a spirited child that is faster than they are. My first child was so easy and so calm. Never left my site. My second was a tad more challenging but I managed. Enter then my son. Not only did I need to keep track of him but also my two older kids. He had no fear and was very impulsive. Would run into the street at 2 without thinking. Would rip his hand from mine to run and look at something. Would climb out of strollers and shopping carts the moment your head was turned. Yep he is what you could call a spirited child. I finally embraced the leash with him. What kind of mom would you think I am if he was running amuck or got hit by a car in a parking lot? He won’t still be on the leash when he is older. It is a tool that works well with certain types of children. I would like to point out that beeping thing is worthless. If my son rips his hand from mine I don’t need a beep I need a way to keep him from being hit by a car. The leash I can yank him away from an oncoming car. The beeping thing will just keep beeping as he gets hit.

  • Jennifer
    June 16, 2010

  • Really!!! I belive not only does the “leash” keep my daughter with me and I know where she is, instead of being anthor missing child, it helps foster her sense of independence. Not only that she loves her puppy!

  • Leta Baez
    June 19, 2010

  • When I was a small child (pre-World War II) my mother “gave me” a harness
    so I could play horsey when we were in crowded places. Yes, I was on a
    leash, but I could walk by myself, didn’t have to hold her hand, and couldn’t
    wander off. Although child-snatching was not such a concern then, having
    a young child on a leash is a much better preventive than a “beeper”. If
    someone grabs and runs off with your child, how much help is a beeper?
    I vote for the harness and leash for as long as they are needed.

  • sharon
    June 19, 2010

  • i work for a major retailer and i hate to see this,only dogs should be leashed!a child on a leash indicates a very lazy parent.

    June 20, 2010

  • I had a kid who is now 18 who loved to run away whenever he could. Once he ran into the street while I was distracted taking something out of the trunk (he was right beside me until I leaned into the trunk and then he took off). I dont really like the “harness” type things, but the one I had for my son … was more like a strap. One end would go around his wrist (held tight by a really heavy velcro strip), and the other end went around my wrist. That way I still had control but he was not “harnessed”. It was also great for the beach … I would sit at the water’s edge and he could wander as far as his strap would let him go. Didnt have to wonder where he went or scream at him that he went out too far.

  • Samantha
    June 28, 2010

  • My son is 19 months old and can run faster then i can sometimes catch him, i have a plain black leash and yes i use it there is nothing wrong if you are somewhere where there is a possibility of your little child running off. I have never yanked my son on the leash or made him fall. I love them because it allows my son to be out of a stroller more, whats worse never letting your child walk or having them on a leash. In a stroller a child learns to be lazy and can gain weight. I am not talking about babies i am talking about children that can walk on there own and not fall down. I really do not like this article and the person that wrote it should think of what would happen if the child got hit, kidnapped or just disappeared because the child was left to go on his own.
    PLUS look at the picture does it look like it bothers the child? Is the mother hurting the child? I also see that they are at what looks like a busy street corner! Would you like to have taken a picture of the child bleeding on the ground after getting hit by a car????? I see not one problem with the picture!!

  • Samantha
    June 28, 2010

  • sharon, I AM NOT LAZY! and since my son gets to be on a leash and walk more then being in a stroller all the time. He is not lazy either. So you should not assume that something that allows a child to walk more and get more exercise means that a parent is lazy!

  • Marissa
    June 29, 2010

  • I may have thought the same thing not too long ago, I never had one for my DD. But she was really laid back and did not mind going shopping with me in her stroller,or holding my hand for a little bit either. My son on the other hand loves to run around, hates his stroller climbs out of his stroller. So instead of putting him in the stroller to where he will climb out of it, no matter how tight it is buckled, I put him in a harness, with an actual back pack and leash. It is really handy as we can fit his sippy and diapers and my wallet in there, and waaa laaa my typical luggage now consists of a tiny back pack that he loves, and it keeps him safe. I love it!!! We downsized from a stroller, a huge diaper bag, and a baby who is whining to get out, do you have ANYYY idea how much easier my life is now?!?!

    June 29, 2010

  • Im not a fan of thoes things. it reminds me of walking a dog but with a nice little anmile on it. I have one but i use it for my dog. i understand when there running around and you cant controll them. take them home, or let them get a good run in befor you go out. IDK I guss there just not for me.

  • Mira
    July 1, 2010

  • I actually have one of these harnesses and I have used it twice. Both times I felt uncomfortable, however, at the time I had 3 to 4 children in my care, 2 under the age of 12 months. I never “walked” the children, however, I did use it with the children’s safety in mind. I think the first time I used it was at Costco, when I first went shopping on my own with my 3 children; I did this because I was uncertain of how capable I would be with 3 kids in a huge warehouse. The second was at the shopping mall and I had my niece with me plus my 3 kids and I had to get them from the parking lot to the interior of the mall. I agree that it is hard to see a child on a harness, however, I feel that in certain situation it can be really helpful. Better to feel humiliated and judged by others than to feel the regret and sadness of losing a child.

  • Freckles
    July 1, 2010

  • Its sad that you need to critisize women and their choices becasue of your ignorance.. My friend has severe eye problems and near blindness so she uses one. Women who have seizures find it necessary to use one for the safety of their child. Maybe the child likes it and its great play for the child, like he is a balloon, its called imagination and its usually highly encouraged by parents.

  • bob
    July 3, 2010

  • We found it necessary to harness our daughter from age 15 months to four years, due to otherwise uncontrollable bolting away from us, in crowded places.
    I would attach the leash to my belt, and have her hold my hand. When she would pull her hand from mine, and try to run, the harness would take over.
    Eventually I would remove the leash from the harness and be able to have her
    stop & return to me when I called her name, while holding the leash in my hand.
    My Grandmother introduced me to this method of control when I was three years old. I did’nt want to play “run off” games, and always stayed within hands reach, to prevent her from re-attaching the leash.

  • Apples
    July 6, 2010

  • I actually just purchased one of these this weekend. I didn’t want to, I always said I would never be a parent that put their child on a leash/harness. But my 2 1/2 year old daughter is a handful. She can now unbuckle herself and get out of her stroller and would much rather walk than ride. She loves the monkey “backpack” and freedom to be a big girl and walk like the other big kids.

    I work for a police department and have seen all too many cases of kids being hit by cars or wandering off. This harness gives me the piece of mind of knowing that my daughter is safe.

    Before I had kids I would have been someone to roll my eyes and say “Are you kidding me. You put your kids on leash like a dog?” But that would be the naive me that had no clue on how it is to have a wild 2 year old.

    Don’t judge someone’s decision on why they are doing something until you are in their shoes.

  • evail
    July 14, 2010

  • I’m not a mother however, I plan on taking my nephew to the Nick Live tour when it comes into town. With all the children running around, I purchased a harness to him to wear. By him wearing it, I’ll have full confidence of his safety – He won’t wander, get lost or be taken from me – it only takes a second for something to happen. I don’t understand why others are offended, when you look at it in terms of safety, it could potentially save your child’s life.

  • maggie
    July 15, 2010

  • the first time I saw one if these, the kid was on the ground eating dirt while his mom looked at bracelets. so no way, never nuh-uh would I put this on a kid. my cousin, though, has one for her son and she will ignore him when it’s on.

  • katie
    August 8, 2010

  • In my opinion, I just find using a leash on your child wrong on so many levels. I know other people feel the same way. If you use a leash then good for you but I just hate seeing it. They were meant to be made for animals, not humans. If your child starts to run then do you pull on the leash too like they are a dog? I’ve seen people at the grocery store that only have one kid and they have had the kid on a leash. Is it hard to put your child in the shopping cart? If you’re husband or boyfriend starts to run away, are you going to put him on a leash too?

  • P
    August 27, 2010

  • I was at a mall the other day and an announcement was made that a 3 year old was missing from his mother. She was frantic! He had wandered away with out her knowing. They had to alert security and staff to help search for him, all doors where blocked. Thank God they found him safe. I realize that some people think that using a harness is a terrible thing and someone even said ” It really breaks my heart”.
    Well, it would “really break my heart” if my child suddenly darted in front of a car and was seriously injured or even killed. It happens!
    I think I will take the ridicule and judgement over playing around with my child’s safety. Because I love my kids that much!

  • P
    August 27, 2010

  • I don’t think having a back pack harness on your child is any more demeaning than having your child strapped down in a stroller or shopping cart. The harness gives your child a sense of independence and allows them to walk around and use their energy and muscles. It’s definitely a healthier alternative to being seated and strapped down.

  • Shari
    February 22, 2011

  • Absolutely not. There are other ways of keeping your children together (wagons, strollers, etc.). I think the whole “leash” idea is demeaning to the child and an embarassment to the parents.

  • Jasmine Blossoming-Rose Primas
    March 3, 2011

  • when I first saw this – it made me do a double take, and I thought the mother was crazy. But if you loo up the statistics on child abduction you might go into shock. When I did my research – it was so much to take it. It’s almost 40% of the people in the area are registered sex offenders ..then you have to imagine the ones that aren’t registered. I honestly thought the leash was ridiculously insane, but after doing the research – it’s pretty smart. Would you rather walk with your little one on a safety leash or would you rather you turn around for 5 seconds to find that your baby is gone.

  • Joy Most
    August 17, 2011

  • i use the leash for when i go to an amuesment park or in a big crowd so she can have a little bit of freedom, and i dnt have to worry bout her running off or someone taking her :)

  • Amy
    August 19, 2011

  • I would get dirty looks all the time when I used the leash with my first daughter. She loved to wander and wouldn’t hold my hand. It took her almost taking a head first fall down an escalator for me to purchase one. I wouldn’t hesitate to use it again with my 15 month old.

  • Jessica
    September 4, 2011

  • Before my son I swore I would NEVER put my child on a “leash” – then suddenly one day, when my 18 month old son would not get in his stroller or hold my hand I caught myself saying-”I wish I had a rope to tie to him to me!”
    My idea of a ” leash” changed when we went on vacation & I had left the stroller behind-I was desperate-in the middle of a very busy city w/ a toddler that wanted the freedom to walk on his own-& run from me cause he thought it was a fun game-there I saw a mother with her 2 children-both on leashes-they were all happy-a content mother knowing her kids were safe by her and happy little kids leading the way-not being pushed around in a stroller-getting what little kids get these days EXERCISE! “holding your kids hand sounds wonderful-but what happens when you need to use your hand! ie:hail a cab, open a door. . .My next purchase that day was a leash” & god do we love it! No, it’s not glamorous,& yes I admit a bit embarrassing-but that’s the sacrafices we make being moms these days!
    Whoever wrote this article doesn’t need to “feel sorry” for our kids being safe-I feel sorry for her being so judgmental!

  • cj
    October 6, 2011

  • Loved the comments. I have a son who is now 37. He used to delight in darting off and hiding. He didn’t do it often enough that you were always on guard, but often enough that you never forgot the heart stopping panic that gripped you when you realized that he’d silently escaped the shopping cart or stroller and disappeared. Or the time you needed two hands to make change at the checkout and had to let his go for just a second. He has two active boys, 2 and 5, and it takes ALL your attention to keep up with them. As if there were no other distractions! Using a “leash” or tether to provide some measure of safety for your children is a very small price to pay for the value gained.

  • Jean
    October 20, 2011

  • I think the leash is great. I am guessing that you also never caged your baby in a playpen or let him/her crawl on the floor.

  • Rockasillyminx
    December 16, 2011

  • I have a teddy bear one for my 16 month old. She gets excited when she sees it because she knows she’s getting to walk around with me and explore, not be strapped into a buggy to make my life easier.
    Leashes were ‘made’ for animals? Get a grip! That’s like saying, radios were made for ships/aircraft and shouldn’t be abused with music.
    My child gets exercise, explores and has freedom by having a harness. I know she won’t run off and get hurt. How irresponsible are the parents who let their children run riot and break things in shops or just stick them in a buggy?? How anyone can think that is preferable to a leash is beyond me!!

  • Carmen
    February 7, 2012

  • This article really upsets me. I have a 5 year old son that was recently diagnosed with autism. When he was a toddler he was a “darter” and for his safety we had one of the backpack leashes for him. It gave him the freedom of walking on his own but kept him safe. I would see articles like yours and couldn’t understand why people didn’t see the reason for it. Then I had my second son who did NOT need a harness. He would cry if I wasn’t holding his hand. Then it hit me, the parents that are “appalled” are the ones that have children that stay with with them. So before you judge anyone think of what it might be like for them. :(

  • Claire
    March 10, 2012

  • Wow! I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I think people who use a leash are smart parents. It is a safety tool. Having 3 under 5 (including twins) and flying overseas by myself with them this summer I am planning on buying 2 leashes TO KEEP MY KIDS SAFE. Do not judge people that way. You raise your kids your way let others raise them their way.

  • Courtney
    June 21, 2012

  • I agree that putting you child on a leash is lazy parenting. I know from personal experience (I am a mother of three small “spirited” children) that there are circumstances when it is important to have your attention fully focused on your children, to avoid them being abducted or hurt. To rely on a device akin to what people use to keep track of animals is, again, lazy. Parents that use these devices probably also use the television as a babysitter. I also think that if your children just randomly “bolt” away from you without notice they need much more discipline in their lives. I have a son that cannot sit still for one moment. I take him along with his sister’s to the grocery store often without any “Safety Harnesses” to keep them safe. We cross big parking lots and go through crowds of people together. The difference is when I tell my children to stay with me, because it is not safe to run off, they listen, and they are 2, 3, and 6 years old. They know there are consequences to their actions. Parents, if you are going somewhere that you feel is hazardous (airport, grocery store) and you don’t have the attention span to keep track of your children, and get your errands done, then maybe you should find a sitter, or a personal assistant to help you out. Don’t put your child on a leash and humiliate yourselves and your children by advertising that you cannot keep track of them.