I Won't Put My Son on a Leash


Xavier and me walkingMy son is running. He’s no Usain Bolt, but he’s pretty quick. Rumor has it, he will only get faster. So the question is: Will I use a restraint for him, one of those backpacks shaped like an animal that has a really long tail? The answer: No! I will not put a leash on my son.

His safety is my chief concern, so I don’t care that the harness might embarrass him or make him look like an ancient Mike Myer’s sketch on Saturday Night Live. (And I do allow concessions for children with medical issues that may make a restraint a requirement and for parents who have more than one child to keep an eye on). But if you have only one child, like me, you should be able to keep your little one out of harm’s way when walking down the street.

First step: Put down the cell phone. I see this all the time. Parents walking and celling at the same time. If you are walking with your child, there is nothing more important than your child. Texting while walking is a no-no. Talking on the phone while walking is a no-no. Facebooking while walking is a no-no. Wait until you get to the park or the library or Grandma’s house, some place with four walls, and then you can ignore your real family to play with your fake one.

When my son and I walk down the street, I’m looking at him with brief glances to scan our surroundings. If I need to look somewhere other than at him for an extended time, the first thing I do is hold his hand.

When we walk, I am on the street side, and he can amble without any restraint. If he wants to be on the street side, I am holding his hand (or wrist, when he tries to pull away from me). This isn’t negotiable.

So Daddy’s arm will be the restraint, along with stern looks and sterner warnings. But leashes? No way.

Do/did you use a harness? Why or why not?

Image via Angela Johnson Meadows



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Rhond... RhondaVeggie

Holding his hand is bad for his shoulder joint. How would you like to walk around with your hand straight up in the air?

tuffy... tuffymama

I'm short so it is NBD for my LO to hold my hand as we walk. When we are out shopping as a family, he ALWAYS sits on DH's shoulders. I've never leashed my kids but I have put my charges on leashes per their mother's instruction. Those kids were MANIACS, though. Their parents weren't really attentive. :/

insei... inseineangel

I do not plan to use a restraint for my daughter. If I can't keep her out of harm's way when I'm right next to her, I'm not doing a very good job at parenting.

And I COMPLETELY agree about the cell phones. Every day I watch moms walking down the street with their kids, or pushing them in a stroller, and I swear 9 out of 10 of them are looking at their phones, not their children. Seriously, which one is more important?

PinkB... PinkButterfly66

Sounds like daddy is more concerned about image than the safety of his child.  If his kid is a runner, then a harness will keep him safe.

mcfar... mcfarterson

I used to feel the same way.. I thought there is no way I am putting a leash on my child.  BUT, now that I have a RUNNER for a  3 year old, I am seriously considering it.  Not to mention, I want to let him be able to roam close, with me not holding onto him for dear life.  Of course, I am not talking about busy streets or parking lots or any place that I would NEED to be holding his hand for safety.  I am talking a little bit of freedom in the grocery store OR a department store, freedom enough with me not having to restrain him from moving within an arms length.   I don't know, Im still on the fence whether i will do use one or not, but, I certainly am not judging the parents that do (Not anymore, anyway!! lol)    

1is20... 1is202rteens

I only  had to put my third child on a "leash".  She was definitely a runner and never EVER listened not matter how much I warned her.  So yes I put the third one on a leash and my older two would always ask if they could "walk" their sister, I allowed it since they would hold my hand LOL


2many... 2manydiapers

I'd rather use a HARNESS then risk safety, a casket cost way more then a harness, and it takes a split second in a parking lot. Oh and holding hands while in a wheel chair can be dangerous.

Melissa McClinnis

I am in a power chair. Once my son started running, I had to use a harness for his safety. He also has ADD.

Kathryn Marie Precious

our parents never harnessed us. Why do I need to now harness my child? I am sure most of us were runners at that age. If you have one child, I don't see the need.

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