Leashes for kids? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 01:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is a thread that's spun off from this thread over in GD.

My MiL bought me a leash/harness for our baby when she starts walking. I saw these used quite often when I was in England this spring. At first, I thought it was weird....the whole idea of having your kid on a leash, you know? But then I started to think....well, maybe it could work sometimes. Like, not all the time, but if you're taking your LO to a crowded mall for instance, and she's maybe going through the stage of wanting to walk herself and not be carried or in the stroller, etc.? Also, seems to me there's so many stories of moms in shopping centers who only look away for a second, and their kids disappear. Don't want to be tortured by stupid fears, but I've thought of that too. What do y'all think? Anyone with any direct experience?

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#2 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 02:15 AM
 
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I have a couple of generations of experience. I was on one; and 40+ years ago and with grandparents that owned a kennel, it was a real dog leash

We used one with my ds#1. He walked very early and pretty much quit using a stroller and hated being carried at less than 10 months. Both he and I had horrible aches from holding each others hands. It was much easier for him to explore places like the zoo in a harness and tether attached to his sister. That way we could also easily keep track of her and they were both much freer to explore and notice things at their own level, bugs, feathers, etc.

He's still a crazy kid at 14 and seems to have no ill effects.
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#3 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 08:28 AM
 
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I have a monkey backpack leash for Jack. He is ALL over the place and when DS3 has soccer he kept running on the field. Its cute looks like a monkey back pack with a LONGGGGGGG tail. If I want to watch any of DS3's soccer game its the best thing I can do. I have used them sparingly with the other boys in similar situations.

Jeana Christian momma to 4 sons Logan 18, Connor 15, Nathan 6, and bonus baby Jack 1
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#4 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 10:07 AM
 
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Some kids hate them, but for all the kids who don't mind them, I think they give MORE freedom in many situations.
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#5 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 10:27 AM
 
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The sight of them has always made me cringe but now that when we're out and about my 18 mo DS is insisting on walking, has no fear of wandering away from me, and can't yet follow instructions to stay close, I fully understand their usefulness and am tempted to try one out. I like the sound of the mokey one that pp mentioned.

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#6 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 10:56 AM
 
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I cannot imagine using one. I've heard of situations where they're truly needed, though. I'd wait and learn the personality of your little one before deciding.

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#7 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 10:59 AM
 
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Olivia was an early walker (10 months) and she hated all manner of baby-wearing. She barely tolerates the stroller. I bought one of those back-pack type harnesses and she loves it. I really don't care what anybody thinks about it. She's happy; I'm happy.
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#8 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 11:06 AM
 
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nak...DS -almost 3 has ASD and is a runner. His monkey works like a weighted vest. DD - almost 19 months -wears her doggy because her brother has one. They both ask to wear them. I swore I would never use them, lol now I love them.
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#9 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 11:07 AM
 
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My DD was an early walker as well, at 10mo, and is on the smaller side for her age. When she first started walking she was so short I had to bend over in order to hold her hand.

I bought one of those monkey backpacks with a long tail things, but she wouldn't have any of it. She happily wore the backpack but if the leash tugged on her at all she would lay down on the floor and have a fit. Not exactly helpful.

We found it much easier to just hover after her. It only really worked when both DF and I were with her - that way one person could shop while the other watched DD. When I was out with her by myself she just had to stay in the stroller or cart because I couldn't give her my full attention.

Now at nearly 2yo she will reliably walk with me when we are shopping so she is allowed to walk quite a bit when it is just me and her.

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#10 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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we don't have one, but we've never been in a situation where we needed one, yet. I can see how they might be useful. ds really still enjoys being worn, or since we rarely use the stroller, it is something of a treat for him if we need him to ride in it for some reason.

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#11 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 01:37 PM
 
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We have one and I think we've used it less than ten times. Our kid just isn't one to take off. And I've never had a stroller and she stopped wanting to be worn around 14 months. We practice on walks all the time. She is very good at coming back when asked. But it's a temperament thing. She's mellow and happy to follow directions. If she didn't behave that way I would totally use it.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#12 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 01:51 PM
 
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I think it totally depends on your kid.

We have the monkey backpack AND the puppy backpack for DS, and they were total lifesavers when he was younger (I'd say 16 mos. to 2.9 or so). He's three now and I have trouble imagining putting one of those on him all of a sudden. They do change so fast.

But I've heard of and met kids who just weren't into them at all, hated them, threw tantrums, etcetera, and if you're kid is one of those, then leashes are not for you.
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#13 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 01:55 PM
 
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I bought one for a trip when my daughter was just over 2, and I would be flying alone. She was going through a phase of gleefully running away from me while I was momentarily unable to contain her - like paying for something at a store - causing me to have to drop everything and chase her. For the airport, I decided that wasn't a viable option, as I'd be lugging car seat, suitcase, carry-on, and her, while pregnant. So we bought a horse backpack, and she thinks it's great fun that I hold it's long tail. I've only used it that once, but she's since named it Buckle (because it has buckles, obviously) and asks to put it on sometimes. I did have an airport screening person tell me she wasn't a fan of them, and I was thinking, Really? Have you ever tried to make your way through an airport by yourself with all this stuff and a kid who bolts? Stop judging me lady.

I think if your child is a runner, and if you're in situations where it would be dangerous or scary to have him or her dart off, and if the kiddo will wear it, it's a great way to give them some space while still being safe.
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#14 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 02:02 PM
 
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They are invaluable!

My son was VERY independent very early on - as soon as he figured out walking that's all he wanted to do (unless he was too exhausted to carry on). We got a soft one that looks like a teddy bear, and it gave us so much freedom. Not only did we not have a kid that was PO'ed about being in a stroller - we went lots more places that were not stroller-friendly and were not very kid friendly either (like hiking - he could be "free" and we did not have to worry about him running into a ditch/cactus/etc).

I have gotten tons of evil-eyed looks from people, and once a teenager shouted "OMG they have their kid on a leash!!!!" But I've had more parents of screaming stroller-trapped kids ask me where they could find one.

ETA - and if you could not tell, my kid is the runner type. He does not run away just be be a pain, but he does not see any reason to be with me if there is something interesting elsewhere. He stopped enjoying being worn at 9 mos (when he learned to walk) and flat out refused it by 12 mos. And YES - they are perfect for the airport.

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#15 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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I did have an airport screening person tell me she wasn't a fan of them, and I was thinking, Really? Have you ever tried to make your way through an airport by yourself with all this stuff and a kid who bolts? Stop judging me lady.
Seriously? Because you would think, if you spent all day watching parents try various strategies to juggle STUFF and their kids, you would start to be a fan of kid leashes really darn fast. Or of anything else that prevents people from dropping diaper bags, bottles, shoes, car seats, strollers and other children all over the checkpoint while sprinting into the crowd, and yelling at the top of their lungs.
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#16 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 02:38 PM
 
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I dispise them.
Mainly because I remember my mom putting a leash on me, I remember the stares and comments from strangers and I remember how embarrassing and humiliating it was.
And I wasn't even a "runner".

DH and I - totally winging life with our four children, DS1 (6.5yrs), DS2 (5yrs), DD (3yrs) and DS3 (1)!

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#17 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 02:45 PM
 
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My DD loves to get out of the shopping cart or down from the Ergo and walk on her own, but she has turned into a "bolt and run" kid so we tried one. I hate it! It gets tangled around things and throws her off balance when she bolts, so that she trips and falls. Even if she doesn't bang a knee and cry, she would touch the floor of Target and that makes me cringe So we don't use it unless absolutely necessary (airports!!!)

Karen , wife x 11 years to J and SAHM to Evie 9-19-08
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#18 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 03:01 PM
 
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I can't imagine I'll ever need one for my DS, who is 26mo and sooooo not a runner. He sticks close and is usually appropriately fearful/careful near roads and in parking lots. He occasionally will run off (I mean, he is two after all!), but a scared screamed "STOP!" from me brings him to a halt very reliably.

I had a friend visiting over the weekend and not only is her 22m/o a runner, but she has a 4m/o as well who she was often wearing or carrying (so she couldn't be chasing the toddler quickly, or picking her up easily). It was often puppy backpack (leash) or holding my hand or her mother's hand - for her safety.

The contrast between our two kids is pretty astounding, and my friend and I parent very similarly. My son is just cautious (for a 2y/o) and her toddler is most definitely not!

I have no qualms with the backpack leashes, and generally assume there is a reason for them. I've only once been bothered seeing it, but I try to remind myself I had no idea of the whole situation in which it bothered me.

B, happily married to M. Mother to two boys: B (3/08) and A (9/10)
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#19 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 03:01 PM
 
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A friend of mine used one in the airport when picking up her mom one time, and got kind of embarrassed when her son was walking around saying, "Woof! Woof!" the whole time, LOL.

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#20 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 03:27 PM
 
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I don't think every kid needs one, but I think they're great for some kids. I don't see why they're viewed as worse than a stroller, maybe it's just the labeling of "leash" that makes people think of animals? I think they're great for kids that want to walk (as opposed to being carried in arms or a sling or riding in a stroller) but aren't old enough to stay nearby or don't have the temperment not to bolt. I've got one (somewhere ) and we've never used it regularly, but I've found it helpful for larger, crowded places.
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#21 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 04:02 PM
 
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This is why I never judge others. I have friends who have "been appalled" at the "lazy" parents who use them. But in my opinion - you don't know the kid or the situation so don't judge. And as you can see from all the various experience it can be an absolute safety issue and in fact provide MORE freedom to explore - we wouldn't think twice of keeping a kid "trapped" in a stroller for safety reasons - so why not a harness? (sound better than leash to me) And the kids will actually get more exercise, sensory input/development then sitting passively in a stroller (and for those strong willed kids they just may not tolerate the restriction of a stroller. So....do what works for your family. I have an only child so never used one (but I did lose track of her once at the busy Atlanta Zoo and was in a panic for a minute or two, so I maybe should have)
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#22 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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This is why I never judge others. I have friends who have "been appalled" at the "lazy" parents who use them. But in my opinion - you don't know the kid or the situation so don't judge. And as you can see from all the various experience it can be an absolute safety issue and in fact provide MORE freedom to explore - we wouldn't think twice of keeping a kid "trapped" in a stroller for safety reasons - so why not a harness? (sound better than leash to me) And the kids will actually get more exercise, sensory input/development then sitting passively in a stroller (and for those strong willed kids they just may not tolerate the restriction of a stroller. So....do what works for your family. I have an only child so never used one (but I did lose track of her once at the busy Atlanta Zoo and was in a panic for a minute or two, so I maybe should have)
The only negative comment I ever recieved was from SIL on FB who declared she would NEVER use one and her child stayed close to her. Her child doesn't have ASD and gets yelled at frequently. . I do live in an area where baby wearing is just becoming semi common pre 6 months. I got more negative comments on babywearing than this.

I do at times feel like it's a bit much when I have 2 kids on leashes, I feel like I'm walking them. DS has sensory issues though and he loves to pull. I'll stand still, and he will lean forward and pull. Looks silly, but is great. DD isn't a huge fan of it, but we do therapy 3xs a week in a busy place - they are a must.
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#23 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 05:04 PM
 
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I'm another who always swore I'd never use one, didn't like the look of them. Then my dd got to about 13 months and wanting to walk walk walk everywhere, sometimes much quicker than I'd expect and she'd get away from me for a moment. Usually we were walking places where that was ok, but we lived near a road and walks from our house usually meant at least some time on it, and it just wasn't safe if I couldn't reel her in quickly or limit how far she could dart away.

Then at 15 months I took her to a music festival with, oh, about 60,000 people at it. We stayed planted in one area pretty much both days but still, there were a LOT of people and she loved it and wanted to follow everyone. It was exhausting when she was off the harness, but on it she was still such a happy camper and I felt like it was manageable.

These days I keep all 3 in the car: the ergo, the stroller, and the harness. And for anything longer than a short walk, I usually have at least 2 of the 3 because at some point dd is going to change how she wants to travel and I can't just carry her a long distance so need options.

Big fan of the harness now!
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#24 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 05:20 PM
 
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i say you got to do what works for your family and your family only. just because i don't use one, doesn't mean that it wouldn't be helpful for someone else or in a certain situation. totally depends on your kid and your needs.

my only issue with the whole harness idea is using it at a leash. i think there is a difference between having the harness on the child with the parent holding the end, allowing the child to explore and move at the pace compared to the child who is straining at the end of the harness because the parent is trying to pull them in a different direction. i think i explained that clearly .

to me, it's there for exploration and safety. it should be used as a back-up to providing direction/guidance to your child. but realistically, a 2 year old doesn't always listen well or is just trying to remember the rules and can take off quickly so at least the harness is there as a safety net to reinforce the lesson that the parent is teaching.

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#25 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 05:32 PM
 
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we have 2 of the puppy back pack reigns i bought for caitlin and cameron when they were younger and i find they do have there uses i bought them after cameron ran off twice while christmas shopping nearly caused me heart failure i had never been so scared in my life.

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#26 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 06:04 PM
 
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I think they're ghastly.

R~Mama to my sweet A 7//07 & bubbly Z 3/12

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#27 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 06:21 PM
 
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I was appalled by "those" types of people who would dare leash a child, until DS came along. I get it now.

I wish as mothers we wouldn't judge each other so much. That's what motherhood has made me realize. Unless I see you full on spanking in the middle of the mall, I'm not judging.

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#28 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 09:46 PM
 
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My daughter had a backpack with a "tail" (did we all buy the same one?). We "practiced" at home. I wore it and she held the tail, my husband wore it and I held the tail. The dog wore it. She wore it. I put it on her in situations where there would be crowds. She wore the backpack and I had the end looped over my wrist and we held hands. I had a second line of defense if she made a run for it. We didn't need it for very long at all because she learned to hold hands and stay close.

I used one with a child I used to babysit because her parents recommended it. The actual tether was really short so it was sort of like holding hands, but without her having her hand up over her head. She was not a runner and stayed close but she had both hands free and so did I (she had a younger sister that was often perched on my hip).

When I see a kid having a fit because it's on or straining at the end of one, I think that's probably not the best way to use them. They're good for crowded situations with a child who generally knows to stay close (like the mall at Christmas. Even a kid who isn't TRYING to wander could get lost in those crowds in a heartbeat) or a kid who is always doing the jerk and run (my niece. No matter how tight I hold her hand, she can get away and RUN before I can catch up).
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#29 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 09:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SparklingGemini View Post
I think they're ghastly.
Why?

Anyhow, I think they're fine if they make for a happier child. My oldest was an early runner (learned to run the day he learned to walk, on his 10 month birthday) and didn't want to be worn from that day forward, unless he was very tired. Holding hands hurt him, he was fiercely independant, I couldn't keep up with him, and he screamed in a stroller. With a sling used as a harness, he was a happy clam, and so was I. Neither one of us would have been happy with any other option available to us. He got to explore and I got to walk at a pace I could keep up with.

I didn't use it either for my DD (who was a later walker and was much slower and much more hesitant than big brother) or for ds2, who hated it worse than he hated holding hands or riding in a stroller.
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#30 of 80 Old 05-27-2010, 10:03 PM
 
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I think they have their place and was glad to have one with my 2 year old who loved to bolt. (My children are 20 months apart, so I also had a small infant at the time!)
The only time I have ever questioned one was at a street fair a few weeks back. One toddler, two parents. I thought that was really, really strange. Two (seeminlgy healthy) adults can't keep one (typical?) child safely nearby? But maybe there was something going on that I just couldn't see.

Mother of two. : 4/05 and 1/07 Wife of one. : 7/01
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