How do you feel about using a leash/harness on your child?
MOST HELPFUL POSTS
Nicole - posted on 12/19/2010
Oh dear... Here's one of those "controversial topics" that seems to get out of hand easily and we start attacking each other. So far, so good. Let's keep up the good conversation, ladies. Be kind to each other...
Now my opinion... It is a harness, not a leash. I see it no different than putting straps on a child to safely keep them strapped in a stroller, cart, buggie, car seat, pram, etc. etc. These are all devices that keep our children safely contained. I think harnesses, though, give the children a bit more freedom and a little exercise that will make them happy and healthy. When they are used correctly, they are not harmful or oppressing to the child. Personally, I don't like holding my children's hands for long periods of time. Our hands get sweaty, they can easily wiggle out, someone-if they snatched hard enough-could snatch my child out of my hand... I would feel safer with a harness safely strapped on my child and the end of the strap around my wrist. Plus, because I have 4 children, that is more hands to hold than I have hands to hold them with and I am less concerned of what people may think of me for using a harness than I am about the safety of my children. That goes for using any safety device: a harness, a stroller/pram/buggie past a certain age, etc. My kids are more important than what anyone thinks of me as a mother. At least I know that my child is safely attached to the end of the harness and not wandering off. And to be honest, harnesses, strollers, buggies, etc. all make my job as a mother easier. I am somewhat spacey and I can only focus on a few things at once, so if I am too worried about my children getting lost at the mall or at the grocery store, I tend to forget what it was that I went to the store for to begin with. =S So, judge all you want, at least my children are safe, happy, blessed with a less stressed mother and are NOT being dragged around by the harness like a dog on a leash (since that is the thought that most people have when they think of harnesses).
On another note: You can't always know someone's situation just by looking at them. My second child has an Autism related disorder and so he spent lots of time in the harness and sat in strollers longer than the general public would have felt necessary, but because of his disability, he was impulsive and couldn't help it. Punishment, hand-holding, threats, and so on, wouldn't have made him any safer. He needed to be attached to me until he was mature enough to overcome his disability a bit. Passing judgement because something isn't familiar to you isn't productive.
And when I said "you" in this whole post, I meant "you" in general not to anyone specific.
"Leashes will NOT teach them this. It will teach a child to stay near you as well as it will teach a dog. In 6 months, your child won't understand the rules any better than a dog would when let off the leash."
Now, I think YOU are the one comparing children to animals. Humans are smarter than dogs, you see, so a HUMAN child will grow to understand the importance of the lesson that was taught while using the harness.
Honestly people, if I hear one more argument or complaint about how it treats children like animals, I'm going to flip out! Maybe we are treating animals like children. I know people that have bought playpens for their dogs. Personally, I think that the harness is a wonderfully instructive invention. Not only does it give your little explorer the freedom to roam and feel "grown up" by walking "unattended", but it give the parent the peace of mind knowing they are still with you. This will teach the child that she can have all the freedom she needs within the limits, you have to stay close to Mommy.
My daughter is wonderfully well behaved. However, she is an 18 month old and has been walking since she was 10 months. She recently HATES her stroller and twists her body around in it so vigorously, I worry she will flip out. If I put her in a trolly or shopping cart, she will force her way to standing on the seat which, in my opinion, is FAR more dangerous than a stupid backpack with a tail. When I let her walk holding my hand, she does so for about 5 seconds before she twists her hand out of mine and darts off. When I hold her, she throws her 35 lbs around in my arms, which tires me out and worries me that I might drop her. She likes her independence. She likes to walk on her own. I like to know she is safe while showing her that she is allowed to be her own free spirit. If anyone EVER responds negatively to it, I will be venomously sweet in my response, you can bet on it. I WILL compliment EVERY parent I see that is using one. I would much rather these children be safe than end up on the evening news for one reason or other. I would much rather these children be tethered to their parent than watch them run around a store and demolish everything in their path.
Personally, I think forcing a child to hold your hand is terrible. How would you like to be forced to remain in such a small vicinity when you feel compelled to look around? When that child starts twisting out of your hand, what do you do? Do you clamp down on his hand to prevent his escape? Doesn't that squeeze his poor little hand and hurt him? Don't judge others unless you want to be judged, or in a more Biblical saying, "Let he without sin cast the first stone."
Candace - posted on 12/17/2010
I don't see how a parent choosing to use a leash is treating their child like a pet or being lazy. Truth of the matter is when most kids learn how to walk the last thing they want to do is be held or have their hand held. You could use a stroller but once their mobile they don't want to be in that either. Just because someone does not want their child running all over the place or walking ahead of them does not make them lazy or mean that their treating their child like a pet. If their dragging the child around and talking to the child with no respect then I would say their treating the child like a pet.
I've read some responses and people are like, "My kid isn't a pet." Well stop and think, why do you keep your pet on a leash? Not to show your dominance but to keep it safe... so it doesn't run away and get hit by a car.
Yeah, kids should learn to behave but you know what, sometimes they don't. Sometimes even the the most well behaved children throw fits.
My baby is only 9 months old so I haven't used one yet... but if I had to, I would have no problem with it. Kids are short. It would kill my back to lean a little to hold her hand if we didn't have the stroller.
Nicole - posted on 12/21/2010
Why do people care SO much about these things??? So what... you don't like them... Who cares? Don't use one. Why do parents feel the need to be so petty as to demean another parent for doing what they feel is best? You rear your child as you see fit and I will rear mine as I see fit. So long as it is done in a loving and non-abusive way, it's none of anyone elses business! If you find some scientific evidence that shows me that using a harness is threatening to my child's physical or psychological well-being then PLEASE fill me in, but until that day, it's none of your business. Thank you.
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Vicki - posted on 12/22/2010
if it keeps my daughter safe thenn hell yeh im gonna use it!! It does kinda feel a bit mean but without it she would be stuck in her pram.
My lo is 2 in January and I know when Im out and about I can take her out her pram and put her reigns on and can let her walk alongside me safe!
How can people say its like walking a dog on a lead?! No it's simply a responsible way to allow your child to walk and gain a bit of independence without risking them running off!
I'd rather be the mummy with my lo alive on a 'harness' than be the broken hearted mummy sat at the roadside cradling their unconscious child knocked down because he/she ran away from mummy because they were not restrained!
Crystal - posted on 12/22/2010
Just so you know, Im not just considering what it looks like and forgetting about the safety part of it. If you choose to to use one for your child thats fine, Its not something I would do. I can understand in some cases it is probably necassary. I have 3 kids close in ages and if you introduce to them at a young age about safety they will stay with you. Why make it sound like Im not worried about my childs safety? I was the mom that before walking age stopped my kids at the street and said YOU HAVE TO LOOK BOTH WAYS and only if there is no cars coming you may go.
Jenn - posted on 12/22/2010
I have one and use it when there are no carts around at the store of if we are out at the zoo or something like that. That way she can walk and have some freedom and a choice to make of where we walk since she leads us. Her and her sister are 16 months apart so it is very helpful for me. She is very independent and strong willed so instead of making a scene of her kicking and screaming to get her in the stroller or to walk beside me i rather her have her freedom. I really dont think there is anything wrong with it when a child still gets freedom its not like you are dragging your child around. Toddlers do not always listen and that one time she doesnt listen could be her last, so i rather not take that chance just yet. In another year she will understand her world around her more and see that she needs to stay close in order to be safe. Thats just what I think.
I think in some cases the Leash is necessary. At certain ages. It is better to let them get the exercise rather than keeping them in a stroller. In some cases when there are a lot of people or when you may have to take your eyes off them, it's better to have them connected. Besides, they are making them more fashionable...like little monkey backpacks....instead of looking like a puppy on a leash.
Kelly - posted on 12/22/2010
I have the little life back pack for my daughter, she is 2 and is very free spirited and wants htings her way. It has been a great compromise, she feels free to do her thing and I feel I am in control of her. She loves her backpack and often we just let her use it as a backpack and on few occations we have used the lesh and she is totally cool with it. I was sooo against it! But i dont feel as bad about her being on a leash seen that it is attached to something she loves. (her bee backpack) It is great when shopping... I can pack the car and make sure she doesnt run into traffic. I use it when we go for walks down the road and going to and fromt eh car when shopping alone. We bought it at a baby expo recently... there were loads of people and lost children. My hubby said, you know" if I wanted to steal a kid this is where I would come...nobody would know it wasnt your kid if you just carried one out"... the next stall we passed had the bakpacks and we did not hesitate... I bought it cos I love my child not because I want to control her. I dont want her to be stolen or lost.
Sara - posted on 12/22/2010
I have two and i LOVE them. They are like little backpacks and are animals, the harness straps are legs/arms of the animals so it's like they are hugging the kids. They like them too. It's nice not having to worry about if they are gonna run off. I was one who always said I wouldn't use them too.
Alisha - posted on 12/22/2010
I believe that a harness is sometimes the best option. its not even a matter of having children that do or dont obey, but it is a matter of safety. using a harness can be a great way for children to explore with two hands while safely being attached to their parent, particularly in crowded spaces or in areas where there is a lot of excitement like a beach, zoo, park or carnival. i think its a choice that people should be able to make without being judged :)
Melissa - posted on 12/21/2010
I have one of those monkey harnesses for my son and LOVES that darn thing. In the past 6months he has learned to hold my mom's, my sister's, or my hand even while wearing the harness. We had an incident about 3-4months ago at the local Wal-Mart, I took my son to use the bathroom(he's in the potty trainning phase) without his harness b/c at the time I though it would get in the wayof him using the bathroom. Well I had to use the bathroom to and I told him to stand against the wall & not go anywhere. Well I guess he heard a noise or something and, like any other curious toddler, went to investgate. He's one fast little stinker and by the time I was done using the bathroom and was able to look for him he had vanished. to make a long story short, he was found in the mens bathroom by a Wal-Mart employee, and ever since that day my son has NEVER taken off like that again and I use his harness even if all we're doing is going to the bathroom at the store.
I also have an almost 11month old daughter(she'll be 11months old 2days after Christmas) who is about to start walking and I will use on on her too to keep her safe and with me(or a trusted family member) when we are out and she doesn't want to be in the cart/stroller, her hand to be held, nor carried. It's a matter of safety for me.
Catherine - posted on 12/21/2010
I have a 2 year old 3 year old 5 year old and 7 hear old and never had to use one til about 6 months ago when my 3 year old starting ignoring everything I said. he used to ne a really good walker then suddenly starred running away. i much prefer to have him on a harness than get run over. fortunately the rest of then all walk very nicely
Ashley - posted on 12/21/2010
My daughter has a Harness Buddy and it's the BEST thing I ever got her. We went to Cinncinati Zoo this past summer. Not only does it help to keep them from getting away, but noone can take them without you knowing. I have gotten some bad comments on it, but those people who downed it dont think things thru. The Back Pack Buddy Harness is for safety.
Jannelle - posted on 12/21/2010
My mother used one with me. It was yellow and had big bird on it. It was put on the wrist. That being said I have a disabled sister in a wheelchair and an older brother. She always got mean looks but I was NEVER lost or stolen. These days they're even better. they have them as backpacks that are cute. I don't currently own one but if my son still bolts after I give birth I may have no choice but to buy one. They are not meant to "drag" your children around. They are made to keep them safe and at your side.
Stacy - posted on 12/21/2010
I personally think there is nothing wrong with using a harness or leash. My brother's son was big and very strong for his age, and when he was 3 we used a harness when we took him to the fair. If we hadn't, there's no telling how quickly he would have gotten away from us. If a harness is used the way it's supposed to be, and not to drag the child, then it's not a problem.
Meaghan Van - posted on 12/21/2010
I also am preggo with baby #2, with a 13 month old toddler, who is not the best listener, and who has just recently discovered walking. I feel like most of the women on here, As long as you arent using the harness to drag your child around, there is nothing wrong with it. I live in New Zealand, and its a pretty safe country, but I will always live by the code rather safe than sorry. I know how Toddlers love to bolt after things they find attractive. And quite frankly in todays world, you never know who might just pick up your baby and walk away, when you are distracted for just a moment... No i totally agree with using a harness to keep your children safe and sound.
Amy - posted on 12/21/2010
I believe that if it is a way to keep my daughter safe, in a crowded area, etc, then I will use it. I would rather have an extra safe way to keep her by me than take a chance and have her run off. She is just starting to walk, so I haven't tested my theory yet!
Katie - posted on 12/21/2010
i have two children and my eldest is 5 and he was taught to hold my hand and not fight it. If we were in open areas where he could run then he was allowed to if it was safe and when we were in an area which wasn't safe or busy he always held my hand. My second son is about to start walking and he will follow the same guide. I don't like to see children on harnesses/reins/leashes etc
Sarah - posted on 12/21/2010
please don't call it a leash/ lead.. this really winds me up!
its a form of safety equipment, well sorta ... a safety harness.
anyway, although i don't use mine all the time; its nice to keep it handy in the bottom of the pram for when your child wants to walk, but it isn't safe for them to just hold your hand.
my son holds my hand fine; but in places like town or something more than a quick stroll to the corner shop; he would more than likely run off!!
like many of you have said toddlers are very curious little explorers.
luckily for me my son loves his little harness, because its a monkey backpack =D and it looks like theres a monkey riding on his back (the tail is the reins that i hold and it detaches when he's older to just make a bag!)
used to use it all the time, but not so much now he is getting older.
my son will be 2 at the end of jan and has since learnt not cross roads until the green man shows at the crossing and i lift him up to press the button.
Nikkole - posted on 12/21/2010
I HATE how moms say if you use a leash its treating your kid like a dog!! SOME people treat there animals better than there kids ive seen dogs with expensive clothes on, hair bows,in strollers, in purses, being held, and yes sometimes on leashes!!!! IF you dont like em dont use them that simple but dont tell other moms you think there treating there kids like animals! Some kids dont need anything and will stay right by you and some kids will not EVERY child is different you can not compare kids to each other!
Erin - posted on 12/21/2010
Considering when I was a toddler my mom dragged me around on this rainbow colored wrist leash (Yes, I remember the color I hated it THAT much) I would not use one on my child. nothing like getting dragged around with a very sore wrist.
I guess at least they have those backpack ones now eh?
Sheena - posted on 12/21/2010
I was always completely against them until I met my nephew :S when he was a year and a half he was such a handful (now mind you he didn't listen at all) so he was all was running away from you and touching EVERYTHING. I totally think a harness would have been loads of help when i was out with him and 8 months pregnant and couldn't catch him when he took off.
now my son is only 6 months so not an issue yet, but i definately would use one if just him and i were out so that way I know that he's there. I would still teach him to hold my hand and stay close, but just as an extra safety precaution.
Michelyn - posted on 12/21/2010
If it simplifies my life, keeps my son safe and we are all enjoying our walk or whatever, I'm in!!!! I used to judge other parents for using a "leash" and a few different things but I've realized that we are alll in the same boat - Parenting, doing our best, making mistakes and learning from them. Besides let's face it - kids can move fast! Sometimes lot faster than I can!:) I never used a harness for our son but I have had family members use for their children and not on a regular basis but when there were a ton of people in a crowd and they feared losing their child. Safety first!
Honestly, the things people get up in arms about! How ridiculous. It's not like we're using a choke chain or dragging the children around behind us by their throats. If I saw a parent using a harness inappropriately, I might call CPS as it is, but not for USING the harness. If I start dragging my daughter around or whipping her with the leash end, I give you all full permission to notify CPS for my daughter's SAFETY.
Perhaps, if every parent was using these harnesses, there would be less news reports of kidnapped babies.
Laura - posted on 12/21/2010
lol, Aura I've seen people pushing dogs around in strollers too. Maybe we should stop using strollers for children if people are going to use them for animals. Oh and people buy baby gates for their animals too so maybe we shouldn't use those for children either. They just need to learn to stay in the room that they are told and not go up the stairs. People who use baby gates are just lazy and can't keep an eye on their children also. lol this is just getting stupid.
Heaven forbid kids use their imagination and act like animals. My boys are often found running around the house on all 4s pretending they are our dog, or an elephant or horse or whatever animal they want to be at the time. They have a great imagination. But I guess some would think I'm a bad mother cuz I let them act like animals. Oh well.
Asia - knowing my adorable 13 month old son if i put a leash on him he would bark like a dog until i took it off. I don't use a stroller or god forbid a leash (Seriously i find it hilarious that parents use these) I stick him in the trolley when he doesn't want to walk or its too busy. He does hold my hand and he knows not to let go
Elizabeth - posted on 12/20/2010
My son just turned 1 last month and has been walking since he was 10 mo...he refused to hold a hand regardless of where we are (home, store, yard)...he's never been a hand or finger holder...When it comes time, when he hates to be in a shopping cart, I will probably use one...He is a husky, healthy boy (almost 30 lbs with no sights of slowing down) and is a mover...we'll see what happens...
Amy - posted on 12/20/2010
I don't see a problem with it as long as they arn't using it in an abusive manor... I don't plan on using one on my child either but I have seen some mothers with a handful of children and it seems to be helpful at times in places such as a grocery store. But then again that just goes back to proper supervision. I think my opinion would be based on the situation...
Laura - posted on 12/20/2010
"I feel that it is demeaning..Leashes are for dogs. If we treat them like dogs while out in public they will act like dogs...I am totally against it. It makes people look at both you and your child like there is a lack of control."
Actually I think it teaches them more independence than to be like animals. If they are locked in a stroller/cart or on your hand they can not walk on their own. With a harness they can walk on their own and still be safe. As far as people looking at me like I "lack control" I could really care less how others look at me. My boys love it and they are safe that's all I care about.
As I have said I don't use mine hardly at all but I like knowing it's in the car if I need it especially as I'm 32 weeks pregnant and can't move very fast
As for people saying to just keep them in the cart, when I buckled my 2 year old in the cart as tight as the seat belt will go I turned my back for two seconds to let my 4 yr old tell me something and when I turned around my son was hanging over the back of the cart into the basket and his leg got caught and could have very easily broken it because it is easy to slip out of those seat belts even completely tightened.
I really wish people would realize there is more than one way to raise a child and just because you choose not to do it, doesn't mean it's wrong. If you say "I don't like it and would not use it" fine that's your opinion I just hate when people say "I don't not like it, it is wrong, it ruins the child, any who does it is lazy" That's just not right. That's not an opinion, that's being judgemental and not very helpful.
Emma - posted on 12/20/2010
my son is two years old and i do not consider having him on a wrist link in town to be treating him like a dog or lazy parenting! It is far worse to hae your child confined to a pushchair. Aaron has been walking everywhere since 3 months ago and loves it but he does act up, is it really safer to allow him to muck about by a main road constantly in use by buses or better for him to be snatched by a paedophile. He is a good boy, and there is nothing wrong with using a wrist strap or reins, for peace of mind. Surely its better than seeing a child walking around a lost supermarket crying for her mummy? Come on people. Stop being so judgemental. Peoplehave their reasons
Taryn - posted on 12/20/2010
I only have one child of my own, but have frequently been out with up to as many as 4 children under the age of 6 years old.
While it's very difficult to keep an energetic child calm and nearby when in a store. (my son is a 2 year old boy... he's a maniac about 80% of the day) He often doesn't want to hold hands..
Children also don't want to eat anything but candy.
They don't want to take baths.
They don't want to go to the doctor.
But learning to be safe in crowds, around strangers, and in/near streets is something important that you NEED to teach your child.
Leashes will NOT teach them this. It will teach a child to stay near you as well as it will teach a dog. In 6 months, your child won't understand the rules any better than a dog would when let off the leash.
You need to verbally communicate the importance of the rules as well as what they are in order for children to learn them.
I understand the use of them in situations like theme parks for children who are still learning, or in situations where you might have your hands full and can't keep a good grip on the hand of a toddler (such as if you have two infants or crawlers in your group).
However, it's definitely NOT impossible to never use a leash or harness- I haven't.
But I also had my child completely naturally and I wouldn't chide any woman for feeling as though she needed some kind of pain killer.
The only time harnesses or leashes become really disgraceful is when it's obvious a woman IS using it out of laziness. She's put her child on a leash because she's too involved in her own little world/activities to pay attention or communicate with her child.
Nicole - posted on 12/20/2010
Asia, are you implying that my kids act like animals? Actually, my children act like children. HUMAN children. Small children have no idea that they resemble things that are tethered to animals. That is just your opinion. Children are not going to think of them that way unless you imply it. And my kids didn't instantly start barking like a dog or neighing like a horse when in a harness. Using one didn't magically turn my children into animals.
Asia - posted on 12/20/2010
Everyone has their own opinion about this. I just could never fathom restraining my child while she is out in public. Toddlers definitely run and have too much energy at times, but seriously a leash?I understand wanting to keep them safe, but there is no alternative. I find this hard to believe that the only option to keep a chidl from running off is a leash ...No matter how cute it is dressed up it is a leash which is meant for animals. What do we think will happen if we treat kids like animals?!Just glad my baby is old enough to understand staying close to mommy!
Natalie Rose - posted on 12/20/2010
I have a 2 year old and a 7 month old and started using a leash for my daughter when I was pregnant with #2. She is a sweet girl, but is a toddler and loves to run (and has a LOT of energy). I don't find them demeaning at all, unless the parent is tugging and pulling, I simply use it to keep her *safe* from harm, and keep her from getting too far away if I am unable to run after her. I call it her 'big girl backpack' and she loves wearing it. She particularly loves that she doesn't have to hold my hand when wearing her 'big girl backpack' (except, of course, if we're crossing a street or parking lot).
Personally, I find the occasional use of a leash to be far less demeaning than a child who misbehaves in public and is smacked on the ass as a result. Talk about demeaning!
Asia - posted on 12/20/2010
I feel that it is demeaning..Leashes are for dogs. If we treat them like dogs while out in public they will act like dogs...I am totally against it. It makes people look at both you and your child like there is a lack of control.
Emma Jane - posted on 12/20/2010
I have a 2 year old and she loves going for walks with me and I would never think of not using her reins, it only takes a minute for a child to run off or god forbid someone to snatch them. With the reins I can make sure she is near me all the time.
Shada - posted on 12/20/2010
I have though about getting one with my son who is 18 months and wants to run/walk around every where we go. He will hold my hand in the parking lot but as soon as we get inside the store he wants to run off. I thought that I would never get one but my son is just so active that I figure this way he can still have some freedom but it is limited and cannot run around. I have also let him push the cart but that only lasts as long as the cart is moving and if I stop he wants to run around. I have not bought one yet but I might especially since I am planning on going to an airport and I do not want him running around and possibly getting lost or kidnapped for that matter. I feel that it is better to be safe then sorry.
Karen - posted on 12/20/2010
my son is 14 months old and i have one for him...i very rarely use it, however, when we are out and about to a very busy spot (ie, the mall at christmas or walking on a busy street) i have it with me. my son is beginning his "i hate the stroller" phase and always wants to walk . generally he's very good at holding my hand but if he wants out of the stroller i tend to put it on him because occasionally hands can get seperated for one reason or another. i never ever think of it as treating my son as an animal....it's just a safety precaution
Kayla - posted on 12/20/2010
We had our kids 20 months apart. We never used one. When we were pregnant we started to teach our son to hold hands when we would go somewhere. we ALWAYS took a stroller. we would let him walk with us unless he would try to run off. Then we would put him in the stroller (double stroller) and he hated having to sit there. Walmart is a good place to get your oldest used to staying with you and holding hands. Everyones kids are always yelling and its Walmart.. enough said.
I agree with Caitlin though... if a parent uses the harness/leash for its intended use I would never judge... most people who have kids and are a part of their lives would understand that kids will be kids and a parent has to do what is necessary to keep their child safe.
Melissa - posted on 12/20/2010
oh yes for sure strollers are great, just a matter of opinion i suppose :) I hate to lug a stroller around cause they are hard to push in certain areas and my kids are 3 and 4 now (which i have not used a "leash" (we call it a back pack) in well over a year cause i think 2 maybe 3 should be the limit on them and they don't like to ride in stollers anymore so we hold hands now. this is a huge topic among parents and your either on one side or the other, no judgment either way from me, i see both sides :)
Nicole - posted on 12/20/2010
I have never had the need to use one. I have a 3 year old and a 20 month old and both of them have always stayed near me when we are out alone. I tried to use a stroller whenever I could and I think that pretty much sloved the problem. They have nice strollers now for an infant and an older child so that you can handle both at the same time.
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