Child Leashes; Parenting tool or Cop out?

Barb - posted on 11/20/2010 ( 181 moms have responded )

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Recently a woman was arrested for dragging her toddler through a cell phone store on his back with a leash. Here is a link to the video and short story: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=a88_12490...

I couldn't find the video but recall seeing one where a mother and child were standing on one side of a partition in a store, the child was near the end, and a stranger was at the end near the other side and lured the child away from the mother in a matter of a seconds. The leash would have prevented this from happening, so would have the mother paying attention or holding the child's hand.

My own personal experience is, i've never used a leash on my kids. I have lost my youngest in a store before. We were in Sears, in the boys section, they had a game set up with the controller out at his height and the tv up above. I was checking out clothes in the rack behind him, thinking i had a few minutes since he would be engrossed in the game. The next time i looked up he was gone from the controller and my heart stopped. Then i heard them calling my name over the loud speakers. I felt relief but i don't know what my face was showing because when i was running to automotive to get Jr he saw my face and stepped behind the sales clerk to hide LOL. I hugged and kissed him and she said "you must be mom?" i would hope so! Still, i never bought a leash, i just used that experience to praise him for going to a store clerk to help find me. And to teach me to grow a wondering eye that stayed trained on him.

So what do you think? Parenting tool? Necessary safety device? Unnecessary tool, or Cop out/Lazy parenting?

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Candi - posted on 11/22/2010

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although I am disgusted by the video clip of the woman dragging her kid through the store, I have to wonder.....Did the kid throw a tantrum and refuse to stand up? SO the mother did what most (not all) mothers would do and get him out of there one way or another? If he didn't have a leash on and threw a tantrum, would she have grabbed his hand and drag him that way?I'm sure she was pretty frustrated and lost thought of what she looked like and just wanted to avoid further embarrassment. I don't know. I am not defending the mother AT ALL. but lets all think back to when our kids were little...how many times did they throw a fit in a store and we were totally embarrassed? Luckily it happened very few times for me. Very Few!! BTW, the kids in the video looks waaay too old for a leash, so the mom probably does use it as a cop out!!!

Sabrina - posted on 11/22/2010

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I completly used to be againts them and used to say something to parents who I'd see using it on ONE child.
And now my personal opinion on them has changed since I've had toddlers , LOL
I used to use a velcro wrist bracelet wich I'd call the "wrist buddy" and I only used it when I when grocery shopping or on the bus with my son and bless his little heart he listened really well for a two yrs old boy and if he'd be incomplacant with holding my hand 'id remind him that he could either hold mommy 's hand or I could put on the wrist buddy and it always worked most of the time he'd prefer to hold mommy's hand .
On the flip side of things I later had twins and that's really different when one little girl goes one way and the other little girl goes the other. And being in a crowded mall can become a parents worsed nightmare just that 20 seconds of absolute illness that come over you when you can't see one of your children. So I upgraded and got the teddybear/backpack harnesses for the girls they wore them and love them and i give them the option if they want mommy to put on the clip -leash or if they want to listen to mommy and walk close.
I think its a great tool now, that re-enforces your child to make a choice on whether they want to listen an feel empowered by their choice or not have a choice at all. I've learned more in the past six wonderful years being a parent then the whole twenty before that lol.

[deleted account]

My cousin had the opposite view in a sense... he DIDN'T want his dogs leashed just like he wouldn't leash his kid. Guess what? The dog got hit and had to have his leg amputated. My stupid cousin 'blamed' the dog saying he should've known better. @@

Mary - posted on 11/22/2010

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Teresa, I have had that same thought myself when I see that whole dog argument thing crop up. As a dog owner, I can tell you that I use a leash for THEIR protection - I want them to be able to walk safely without the threat of undue harm from the world around them. Why is it a bad thing to want the same for your child?

Quite frankly, my dogs have a better understanding of the dangers of traffic and strangers than my two y/o. Many days, they listen better than she does. Using a child safety harness in no way demeans or degrades your child. It is simply a tool. When I see another parent using one (appropriately), all it suggests to me is that the parent in question recognizes both the needs and limitations of their child. They are being responsible for their child's safety.

To those who think toddlers should not be treated like dogs....the world would be a much better place if even half the parents in this world cherished and cared for their kids as much as I do my dogs.

[deleted account]

I hate the 'my kid is not a dog' argument. Don't want/need to use one for yourself... fine, but using that argument about the dog is extremely pathetic. So.... you love your dog enough to make sure they aren't going to run away/get hit by a car, but not your kid? Um... ok.

[deleted account]

THANK YOU Jamie-Leigh!!!

I do agree that IF someone is using it improperly, then yeah, it's not cool. If you're dragging your kid around by it or strapping him to a tree or a pole somewhere then....well DUH...not cool lol But I think the cases of people using them improperly are few and far between (in my experience and from what I've personally seen). I think the majority of parents who use them are using them as a tool, a safety device that I see no differently than child locks for doors, cabinet locks or corner covers for sharp table corners.

*Side note: The other thing I'm sick of hearing is how anyone who uses the harness is treating their child like a dog. Makes me want to bark and growl lol Grrrrr....

Jaime - posted on 11/22/2010

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I have a harness for my son and I use it regularly. My son is 21 months and has no clear understanding of danger. We're working on sidewalk safety and despite all of my patient efforts to teach him to stay close, he will run as fast and as far away as he can get in whatever direction happens to be available. As for holding onto my son's hand...not exactly possible if I'm shopping or carrying bags in my hands, which is where the harness proves to be very useful. It gives me peace of mind, it helps my son to stay close and although it is a slow process...he IS learning!

I have said it a million times and I'ma keep saying it. I will gladly look like a douche walking to the store with my kid SAFELY strapped into his harness, than worry about scraping him off the road because he darted into traffic!

[deleted account]

Ohhhhhh I hate this debate. But here goes.

If used properly, it's a safety device. I only have one son and we used one with him a handful of times and it worked wonders because it gave me peace of mind knowing that in a crowded place (zoo, mall at Christmas) my son wasn't going to get snatched from me by some pervert. Never once did I use the harness without also holding his hand.

And anyone who thinks a mother is a bad mother for using any safety device at her fingertips needs to get off her high horse and promptly remove the stick from her ass.

Laura - posted on 11/22/2010

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Child leashes ARE an optional parenting tool. These devices CAN provide safety for a child (and parent). YES, they can also be unneccessary--it depends on the behavior of the child. And finally, YES, these tools CAN be a cop-out to good parenting--any tool can be mis-used/abused by parents. The woman dragging her child through the store is proof of that. Bottom line, it's entirely up to the parent to use or not; it's not a right or wrong decision.

Johnny - posted on 11/21/2010

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Absolutely Candi. As a parent with only one child, I would never presume to judge what those with multiples have to do to make things work. Until you've walked a mile in their shoes....

I generally find that the uber-judgmental make rather bad mothers, but that's just my opinion...

Candi - posted on 11/21/2010

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Yes, Melissa, with only one child it would be easy to keep up with him! Most mothers who use them have more than one child. I have 3 kids and I have never lost any of my children either! They are not stupid and I am a good mother, but stores have displays that attract children, parks have things that distract children, amusement parks have things, do you see the pattern here? When you have a few children, they do tend to go in different directions and you might have to choose which one to chase! I didn't have to use mine much, just in busy places and I only had one. I didn't have 1 for each of my children.Picture this scenario. You are at a parade with your 2 kids. They are 18 mos old and 2 months old. You are on the sidewalk sitting down with the baby. The 18 month old is sitting down beside you. You turn to see the parade start and your 18 month old decides to get up and run! What in the world do you do? You can't just hop up with a newborn in your lap and its hard jumping straight up from sitting on the ground. THATS when a leash comes in handy. My husband is in the military and has deployed a lot, leaving me at home with the kids away from family, so yes, a leash is a handy thing to have. If you think they are for animals, you're right, they are. They also make them for children. You can find them at Babies R Us, as well as other stores. As long as they are used in the proper way, there's nothing wrong with them.

[deleted account]

OMG, that woman! She didn't even look at where he was being dragged and pulled him right into that wall!
I don't agree with them and i will never use one. But if another parent feels it will help them and as long as i NEVER see a mother dragging their child like that then i will say nothing and carry on on my own merry way!

Krista - posted on 11/21/2010

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Gee, Melissa, judgmental much?

So, let's recap: mothers who use child harnesses are bad mothers who do not keep their eyes on their children. Is that about what you're saying?

Because that's pretty darned offensive. Most every woman here has said that they're handy when a) in the process of teaching a child to stay close, b) when the child is being cared for by someone with mobility issues, and c) when the child is autistic and cannot be relied upon to control his impulses.

I just hope that you limit your judgmental attitude to the internet and are not one of those people who would actually make rude comments or give dirty looks to someone using a child harness. Because if so, you may want to keep in mind that you don't know WHY they're using one, and you could be making somebody feel very bad even though she's only doing what she has to do to keep her child safe.

Melissa - posted on 11/21/2010

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AND my child was running at 11 months old. If you teach them from the beginning then you do not need one!!

Melissa - posted on 11/21/2010

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A leash is for a dog, not your child!! I have an 8 year old and not once did I ever loose him in a store. He knew to stay with me and hold my hand. Kids are quick, and if you keep your eye on them like a good mother is supposed to then you do not need a leash. I hate when parents use this on there child like there some kind of animal!!

Amber - posted on 11/21/2010

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It should be a parenting tool, but like all other gadgets they get misused by some.
I had one for my son. But we only used it a handful of times. And while he was on it, we were still holding his hand. I only had it in case he dropped hands and ran off. And I only did it in crowded places, never just to walk around. It was to keep him safe, not so that I could ignore him and do my own thing.

Barb - posted on 11/21/2010

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Thank you Carol, I would have loved to have had one of those when Jr was a baby. That was 19 years ago, back when the internet was a bulletin board system LOL and i sure didn't have $40 to buy one new.

Now that everyone is pointing out the darting or running children i do recall Jr darting away from me once, in the most dangerous place, the parking lot. But he wiggled away from me, turned and darted right into a parked car, knocked himself down and learned a lesson the painful way.

My baby has grown into a full sized man now. He is 6'7" and around 190/200 lbs. The other day we were walking into the grocery store and he said, "Mom, remember when i was little and you said i should hold your hand and stick close to you because i was little and the cars couldn't see me but they could see you?" i replied "yes" he said "well, you should stick close to me because the cars can see me now better than they can see you"

Christina - posted on 11/21/2010

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I've used leashes. I have two autistic kids, and both were runners. I put them on leashes for their own safety if we were going somewhere crowded. My daughter only wore it twice, as she would take off and run to the end, not stop and end up falling backwards. I didn't want her to crack her head, so I got rid of the leash and just let her scream in the stroller. With my autistic son, he loved the thing! It gave him independence to not have me touch him, but kept him safe.

Sandra - posted on 11/20/2010

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First, let me say that Ergo's are ahhhh-mazing. I started with a bijorn, but ended up buying an ergo as my son got bigger so I could put him on my back.

I definitely feel leashes are a parenting tool. Or should I say that they should be used as a parenting tool. However that being said, I have seen parents use them as a cop out. I think it really depends on the parent. (Child also, but more so how the parent uses it)

My son is just starting to walk, but I can already tell he's going to be a runner. And I don't have a problem using a leash at certain times until I can be sure he won't run. To me it's a matter of safety. But just like most of you said, it should be a tool used in conjunction with teaching them the correct behavior.

Ez - posted on 11/20/2010

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Parenting tool. I haven't needed one, but would have been open to it if my daughter was a bolter. I've been lucky in that she has always been great at walking beside me, and has not even been in the pram for months.

Candi - posted on 11/20/2010

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depends on how its used! My MIL bought one for my son. He enjoyed running from her and thought it was a game to hide from grandad! I didn't have to use it much on him. My oldest daughter started walking at 8 mos and she was FAST!! I used it on her to go to amusement parks and, well basically everywhere! lol. Although my youngest didn't need it, I used it at amusement parks. She is such a mama's girl, she refuses to let go of my hand. Their leash is the kind that slips on the wrist and velcros so they can't get out of it. Once in a while, my 5 yr old will dig it out and say "do we need the leash?" They never yanked on it while wearing it, so hurting them was not an issue. I never pulled or yanked while using it. Its kind of like using a leash on a pet, if they know its there, they are less likely to pull. They are not going to hurt themselves on purpose! it has to be used properly in order to be effective

[deleted account]

Parenting tool. Needed for some, but a waste for others. I've never needed one, but you'd better believe if I lived anywhere else and was brave enough to take my toddler twins out in public on my own.... I would've had two. They weren't so confident if it was just one of them, but if they were together..... they'd walk off ANYWHERE if me and/or my ex weren't watching. It was like they would think 'what do we need mom/dad for... we have each other.' lol

Kate CP - posted on 11/20/2010

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Depends on the mom and the kid. I didn't need one for my daughter but I'm not against them at all. If my son (due in February) turns out to be a runner I'll pull out the leash for sure.

Johnny - posted on 11/20/2010

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Parenting tool. But like anything, it needs to be used properly and responsibly. I've never needed one, but I'm short and my daughter was tall, so hand holding wasn't too bad. I also used an Ergo until she was around 18 months, which got us through that difficult phase between when she started walking and when she started listening.

There are kids I've seen who need them. The boy across the street from us is autistic and a bolter. His mom was morally opposed to leashes, until he ran out into the street when a car was driving by. Broke his leg, his arm and a bunch of other injuries. He wore one after that and now his sister does too (although in her case it may just be that now, understandably, the mom is paranoid).

So while I wouldn't choose one in most cases, because I like to try to teach lessons not just avoid the issue. That doesn't work all the time. I really do believe that there are many kids for which they are a necessity, and I never judge any parent for using them at all. After all, if I have another kid, who knows?

Krista - posted on 11/20/2010

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I'm with Anika -- it's a backup tool WHILE you're teaching them to stay close and hold your hand. My son is only 15 months, and I feel bad if he's cooped up in the carseat and stroller all day while we're running errands. So, he has his little bear backpack, which gives him the chance to stretch his legs instead of sitting there passively, and it gives me the chance to start teaching him to stay near Mumma. I most certainly don't expect a 15-month old to catch that lesson quickly -- I know it'll be a work in progress that'll take a long time to really sink in. So I owe it to him to keep him safe WHILE I'm teaching him that lesson.

[deleted account]

I vote parenting tool, but the necessity of it depends on the situation.
In the first situation, the mom was obviously lazy and, well, not fit to be a mom--who drags their kid through a store???

My son walked at 8 months, by 10 months he pitched a fit when I put him in a stroller. He wanted to walk and the walking was good for him, but at 10 months he was so short that to hold his hand I had to been over quite a bit, which hurt, and I couldn't depend on a child that young to stay by my side while I shopped. We really didn't use it that often, but I used it shopping because it was impossible for me to watch him and focus on what I was purchasing. After a while, he liked the stroller again, and it was almost obsolete, but then when he out grew the stroller we found a new use for it in airports and crowded markets. I know it is rare, but those are easy places for kids to get snatched. Almost all stranger abductions happen in crowded places where parents are distracted, like airports, malls, and markets.

[deleted account]

Child "leashes" has its time & place. While I never used one on my son, it was something I heavily considered. He was a RUNNER, and he never sat in a stroller. He hated to be carried, and never walked "nice" holding Mommy's hand. Matthew always wanted his freedom. I also lost him once at a very crowded event at a large park. With that being said, every kid is different and every situation is different. I do know that a friend of mine used a child leash for her older autistic son. But like the comment above about using the leash as a teaching tooo, I don't have a problem with. A parent literally dragging a child on it, well then yeah, I have a problem with parenting techniques.

[deleted account]

I think it all depends on how its used. Personally, I will consider getting one once my daughter starts walking. If she's a "lets run away from mummy" kinda kid, I'll get one in a heartbeat. HOWEVER, it would only be used in conjuction with teaching her safety and listening to me. It will be a fail safe not the thing I rely solely on.

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