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child leashes

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
Okay, I know this is not a popular idea here at MDC, but I'm really trying to figure out what to do. We're going on a Disney trip next month. My 2 yo is a runner. He jerks his hand out of yours and takes off. On a normal outing, I just chase him and grab him again. If we're going to be in a busy parking lot, I hold on TIGHT, or I carry him. We do practice teaching him to stay close in the grocery store, and hang onto the cart, etc. But he is just not at an age where he can do this consistently yet. The other problem is that my 4 yo, who knows how to stay by us, will sometimes decide HE should start running away just for kicks because his brother is doing it.

But, at Disney, there will be so many crowds, and we will be there ALL DAY, and I'm sure we'll get tired/distracted. And repeatedly chasing him around does not sound like a good time. I almost think having him on a harness will give him more freedom of movement and keep him happier than having to hold our hands constantly. We wouldn't use it constantly, just as it seems to be needed. He would also have time in the stroller or in a backpack carrier, and there are play areas where he can run around and play more freely.

So, anyone used a harness, and what did you use? Or, does someone have ideas of how to enjoy our trip without one, and not spend the whole time scared to death he's going to get lost?

Am I a terrible mom for even considering using a harness? :
post #2 of 64
I don't think so. I think your DS will have a little more freedom, and you won't be so stressed.
In this situation I think they work great, niw what I have seen that I really dislike is parents taking the kids to the park and playground with them on leashes. They aren't dogs people!
post #3 of 64
I think the situation you're describing is IMO one of the few exceptions to the rule re: human leashes. I normally find them highly offensive and tend to think that it's lazy parenting to use one. But, in a large crowd such as DW, where the possibility of him getting lost is very real, it would be very appropriate for a 2 y/o with a history of running away. I really don't think anyone could blame you for using one in that situation.
post #4 of 64
I used them selectively for my oldest in those types of situations where it would be extremely dangerous for him if he got lost, i.e., the airport. He was a dasher and ran straight into busy streets or crowds without ever looking back once. We had a "Safety First" brand and it was adjustable and worked fine. I looped it often to my beltloop so it was me connected to him and looked less like me holding a leash in my hand.

I wouldn't judge you. We all love our kids and want to do what is best for them while keeping them safe in a world that isn't always safe.

Thank goodness my second is much much less a dasher and hasn't ever needed one. He usually sticks right by me in crowds. Different temperment than his brother.
post #5 of 64
Leashes have their uses for sure. The last time I flew, I flew alone with my then 2 mos old and 3 yr old. My 3 yr old is not a runner but I just couldn't chance it so I used one when going through the airport. When it's a safety issue, like the airport or extremely crowded places like Disney I think it's totally appropriate.
post #6 of 64
I've used them in that type of situation, and they're just fantastic in that context, make the whole trip so much more enjoyable for EVERYONE even my DS, he can actually walk around without having to be carried to keep him out of danger.
post #7 of 64
I used to be one of those judgemental moms (before I had kids of course) when it came to the child leashes. Then I got a toddler who HATES a stroller, and HATES a backcarry. I wasn't able to carry her on my hip or in the front since about 13 months- and that was when I wasn't pregnant

So if DH and I want to take her for a long walk (in town to the Farmer's MArkey like we do every Sunday), or to a busy area like the mall, we use one- a cute little froggie backpack one. Did it feel weird at first? Uh, yea. My DH still refuses to use it. But DD loves it, and it makes sense in our situation. A friend of ours just took her toddler to disney and used one- she said EVERYONE had one there. I'd go for it.

That said, there are definitely situations where it IS unnecessary.
post #8 of 64
i agree, park = hell no, parking lot= of course!
I will add, please don't tie it to your belt loop, the least you can do is have enough care to hold it in your HAND! This probably irks me because I tie my DOG to my belt loop. :
post #9 of 64
Use one. You're definitely not going to be the only mama there with a toddler on a harness.
post #10 of 64
My daughter is two and she's a jerk and runner. We always hold hands and in parking lots, I mostly carry her. She's VERY good about sitting in a cart while we shop but she's not good in a stroller. For crowded places (the zoo, airports, and most certainly Disney if we should ever decide to go), I use a back pack with a long tail that loops over my arm. I still hold her hand, but I have the backpack as backup just in case. She can also carry a few things in the pack so she likes that.

I think it can also be useful for a child who is still learning to walk close, but sometimes forgets. You can keep practicing that he/she walks close but if they forget and wander, there's still a connection. And it must get uncomfortable having your arm cranked up over your head, holding the hand of a much taller person.

What people react to, I think, is the idea of a kid straining on the end of a "leash." To me, that doesn't make a ton of sense. The child isn't learning or practicing walking close or holding hands, he or she is just out there. And that's a good way to trip taller people who may not see that tether stretched out.

Practice, practice, practice at home. Don't just get there and snap it on. With our dd, we made it a bit of a game. She wore it outside and I followed her, I wear it and she follows me. We run around and act silly and then we start with hand holding and eventually we made it out and used it and everything was fine.

With a runner, and certainly with two, it never hurts to have that second line of defense.
post #11 of 64
Safety is more important then anyone's opinion. I used a leash for my oldest when she was little, even on a regular basis. She has special needs and it helped her learn not to run. It didn't take a long time, She was strong, fast, and was behind in social skills and comprehension. I hope most people would realize that there is a darn good reason why a kid is on the leash, because you just wouldn't put up with all the looks for no good reason.
post #12 of 64
Wow, I think you are brave to even take your two year old to Disney. We won't be making that trip until our girls are at least 7! Go for it mama! Have fun!
post #13 of 64
Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
Am I a terrible mom for even considering using a harness? :
I don't have personal experience with a harness, but I don't think anyone should consider themselves a bad parent for doing whatever needs to be done to keep their child safe.

Have a wonderful trip!
post #14 of 64
If you choose to use one (and I don't consider you a bad parent for looking out for your kid!) I would like to caution you to watch out for people getting tangled in the leash! We were at WDW last june and it was really really busy. My then 3 yo neice was in a child harness, her parents were distracted (as can happen at WDW) and she decided to make a break for it. Fortunately, her parents hadn't let go of the harness so she didn't get far. Unfortunately, she tripped a teenage kid who didn't see the harness line right in front of him.
post #15 of 64
Better a leash than a milk carton.

If YOU know you're not a lazy parent, and don't do things to demean your child, who cares what other people think as long as your LO is safe?
post #16 of 64
Originally Posted by kriket View Post
I will add, please don't tie it to your belt loop, the least you can do is have enough care to hold it in your HAND! This probably irks me because I tie my DOG to my belt loop. :
What the heck is the difference???? Seriously.
Tying a sash around my belt loop and ds' belt loop and strolling through a festival makes for a pleasant stroll.

Anyway, most people hold dog leashes in their hand, not tied around their belt loop. Especially big dogs, in crowds.
post #17 of 64
Thread Starter 
Okay, thanks! I don't usually need to get validation from others for my parenting decisions, but for some reason this one was bothering me!

Now I just have to figure out what type to go with. Thanks for the suggestion of practicing with it before we go, and also the tip about watching out for tripping other people. Yikes!
post #18 of 64
In a huge and crowded place like Disneyworld, I would definitely consider using a leash. Our 2.5yo will take off running, our 20mo is even worse. Disney is just too big and too risky.
post #19 of 64
My son is a 13 month old and is a runner. He has no fear (last week he tried to climb INTO the rhino cage at the zoo!) He thankfully loves the stroller but only for so long. After he's done with that, we put him his bear leash. HE LOVES IT! He gets freedom to move and climb and be active. If we didn't have a leash, we'd have to stay home, which is not fair to him, me or my 3 year old.
post #20 of 64
I used to think they were a bad idea until I had a child that needed one. My first 2 sons were great I could take them anywhere. But then had DD and she is just the opposite. She is very much a free spirit. Better to use one then to wish you would have. Anything that will make the trip safe and more enjoyable I say use it and have a great trip.
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