Leashes Are for Dogs Not Toddlers

Sigh. When I came across an article this morning over on Today debating whether or not putting a child on a "leash" is acceptable, I tried my best to keep an open mind since I've always had such a strong opinion on the subject. To put it quite simply -- I can't stand them.

And yes, I said a "leash," as in one of those little backpacks toddlers wear with a harness attached to them that parents hold onto so their little ones don't wander off in public.

I won't lie -- as I read through some of the points made by Katy Maher, a "pro-harness" mom, I nodded my head a little because she sort of makes sense. She likes using the leash because it allows her child to be able to safely "explore" while they navigate the streets of Chicago.

And I get that. I really do. As a mom who has lived in the suburbs since my son was born, which means I never had to deal with keeping tabs on a kid amid the hustle and bustle of a big city -- maybe my perspective on leashes is a bit biased. There's a decent chance I'd be all for them if I'd been living in an urban area when my son was little.

More from The Stir: Picture of Toddler Tied to Lamp Post During Parade Goes Viral (PHOTO)

But every time I see some poor kid attached to one, the thought that immediately goes through my mind is that it's pretty much a lazy parent's way of getting out of having to keeping a constant eye on their kid. It's like, "Hmm. I don't feel like hanging onto junior today, so I'll just tie him up and that way he won't get too far out in front of me."

And I'm sorry, but I have to go there -- seeing a kid on a leash instantly reminds me of a dog. Even when it's for their own safety and is not intended to humiliate the child in any way, shape, or form -- it still just has this demeaning quality. I feel terrible every time I see a kiddo attached to one. And I simply cannot imagine ever, EVER using one.

But for moms who do use them, maybe I should give them the benefit of the doubt. Yeah -- a leash may seem unnecessary, but I guess it's a better alternative than losing your child in a humongous crowd of people.

Do you use a leash? Why or why not?


Image via sarahgoldsmith/Flickr

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Gypsy... GypsyMa76

Yes I used one for both my girls. First we lived on a busy street & it gave me a piece of mind knowing if she lets go of my hand she can't go far & my second is a runner. I love it & don't feel that it makes me a lazy parent, i care enough to take  extra precautions to my babies safe.

Katha... Katharine205

I absolutely used one, my daughter went through a phase where she didn't want to sit in her stroller and she would bolt.  When we went to a crowded mall or parade or something I would keep her little backpack leash on her, I never saw it as way to humiliate her it was to keep her safe.  My mom used one way back in the day with my brother too, he was notorious for running off and she had to or she couldn't keep up with him.  The kid's safety is more important than your perceived offense.  My daughter love to pretend she's a dog, she'd be over the moon if you pointed out that she really looked like one with her backpack leash on (which means I'd have to find it, haven't used it since she was a wee one).

nonmember avatar Sarah

Some kids need leashes. My nephew has autism, he's five years old, and he is non-verbal. He's a wanderer. The second you let go of his hand or he manages to pull away, he's gone. You should count yourself lucky that you've never had to be challenged the way a lot of other moms have. Just because you can't see that s/he has special needs doesn't mean the child is "normal". It's not lazy parenting; it's being cautious. You're an adult; try to think a little passed your own nose and experiences.

Mrscj... Mrscjones

I'm with you first thought always been they look just like dogs. I see the pros but that one thought kept me from getting one.

Freela Freela

I didn't use one, when my kids were at the age where they might bolt and run off, I would take the stroller with me.  If they wanted to walk they were to hold onto the stroller, and if they took off even once, they went in the stroller and that was that.  I'm not opposed to them, though, I see how they could be usefeul depending on the circumstances.  Some kids are more apt to wander off (I had two that were stuck to me like glue and one runner) so if you have a child prone to taking off and are in an area with crowds, traffic, etc. I can see how parents would use them.

curly... curlycues

Heck to the no. I have 4 kids and I had 3 in 5 years of each other. I never ever used one and never would. Control of your child starts at home. Traini9ng them to stay with you and holding on to you, or your cart or stroller or etc. And yes, 80 percent of the parents in the USA have a very nagative opinion of kid leashes.

sassy... sassykat122

To MARY and MRSCJONES...the saying "cut the apron strings"? It is based in reality. Mothers used to tie young kids to their aprons to prevent them from wandering too far. Early harnesses. So i guess mothers have been treating their kids like dogs for hundreds of years

curly... curlycues

ok..... forgiveness needed lol... a three year old bouncing off me as I was typing and I didn't spell check :-p

Jacee... Jacee2348

Get a grip; if people want to use them so be it. Anything to help keep kids safe and close at hand, I'm all for. That doesn't mean you attach the "leash" and wrap it around a pole or other stationary object so you are free to pay less attention to them. If used for its' intended purpose, it has very likely kept many kids from being lost or darting out in traffic.

nonmember avatar Em

Yes I use them. On my 19 month old twins.
Picture this: trying to teach them to stay with you, so allowing them to walk, holding your hand of course. One does. Not. Want. To. Hold. Hand. So he makes his legs rubber. Need to scoop him up to carry, or put in stroller...this requires 2 hands. 2nd hand is occupied by the hand of twin 2. Let go of twin 2 & hope he doesn't dash? Try to carry tantruming twin 1 & hold hand of twin 2. Now twin 2 does not. Want. To. Hold. Hand. Makes legs rubber. How to scoop him up AND carry 1? Et cetera.
Do you have a solution to offer me? I mean this as a genuine question. Have you lived this? Now imagine this scenario with a 3 year old in tow. How am I supposed to keep all safe AND teach them to stay with me, so that I can ditch the effing "leashes" and get them to function in society??
You can judge me in public, and I deem you an *ss.

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