I saw someone using one when we were in Disney in California 2 years ago. Don't have them here I don't think. And I would never use one. Here when you go into a big place like an amusement park, you can get an extra arm band for your child's arm. You write your name, their name and your phone number on it. If they get lost, anyone can take them to an employee or info desk and then they call you or page you. They are used to lost kids, crying kids... they give them coloring books or game or gum or something until you come. I lost my kids once in the mall and they were upset but happy with the gum. I think in the states again I would just put my own arm band on my kids, or write our telephone number on their arm.
I was seriously considering one for my DD when she was maybe 14months old. She was a very early walker (started at 8.5 months! I hope I don't have any others who do that!) so by the time she was about 14 months old she was pretty stable on her feet, and FAST, but had no impulse control and was definitely NOT very consistent about listening to me or DH. She was a bolter, and it wasn't so much the risk of getting lost that I feared as it was just for her general safety. We live in Los Angeles, so our walks to the park or library are frequently near areas with fairly heavy traffic, and she used to head STRAIGHT for the street sometimes!
We never did end up getting one as I was too self conscious about what others might think. Now that she just turned 3 she is much better at listening and complying when we say STOP! and we have been teaching her that she has to stop at alleyways and curbs to check for cars, and that we NEVER cross the street or alley without holding hands. Now I feel much safer bringing her out without the added security of a leash, so from my experience I would say that 2.5 to 3 yrs old and up is too old for a leash. Of course, that's assuming that all 3 yr olds listen and learn traffic safety rules like mine has. It's entirely possible that there are older kids for whom impulse control is still an issue.
I might consider getting one if I had a number of small kids to look after and one was a bolter. I have a feeling that I won't need it for the next baby that is due in June, mostly because DD really likes to be in charge (read: she's bossy!) so I think she will do a good job helping me corral her little sister, if necessary.
I was going to get one for this summer too. Like ketteh, my son started walking at 8.5 months too and people just don't realize what he's capable of! Normally a kid with the mind set of a 12 month old is just meandering around, falling down, easy to keep track of... my son RUNS! and he's totally unpredictable! Yesterday while I was trying to get my stroller into the back of my SUV, against my better judgment I thought it would be simpler if I just stood him on the sidewalk (I was parallel parked) and put the stroller in, instead of putting him in his carseat first and then putting the stroller away. I knew I had to watch him so I kept my eyes on him and blindly started throwing things into the cargo area... and he just takes off for no reason down the sidewalk (at least he gave me that!)... so I had no choice but to just drop the stroller, leave my purse which was on the road and run after him... A leash would have been really handy at that point.
I've never seen this discussion go well on MDC, but...
I have no problem with them. I used one with dd1 when ds2 was born. She was two and a bit, and tended to run away. I'd had a c-section and wasn't physically capable of chasing her. My incision was infected, and it was weeks before I could do much more than walk at a slow pace. So, I put her in the harness and we went for walks and/or to the nearby tourist farm. Without that harness, she'd have basically been inside for almost two months. It gave her a ton of freedom, and kept her safe at the same time.
Sure - they can be misused. So can carriers and slings. In most cases, it's not the tool that's the problem - it's the way it's used.
I would have used one with ds2 up to about the age of five, if I'd been able to do so (he'd figured out how to undo the fastener long before that). He looks, and usually acts, like a perfectly normal child, but he does have behavioural issues, and was very prone to darting into parking lots for a long, long time.
It isn't my thing, but I don't care what other people use. Personally, I'd prefer to use a wrap or stroller than a leash.
I would use one if needed. With our DD we never needed to. She wasn't a bolter. And never once tried to run into the road. We live in a very busy urban area, and felt pretty safe going for walks with her. She stays on the sidewalk and holds our hand to cross the street.
If one of our boys turns out be be a runner, or impulsive around roads, we will use a leash. I feel it can give a kid some freedom to explore while keeping them safe near roads or in parking lots.
Our nephew was a runner. His parent spent 90% of all of their time out literally chasing after him. He would just run and run. Glad my DD wasn;t like that and really hope my sons aren't. Don;t think we will be going to many places that aren;t fenced in.
Well, I do think the a big part of it is the word "leash" - it conjures up dog images for some people.
Eta: cross posted with mamazee - what she said.
Oh ok, well that argument is invalid with me and many other of my dog owner friends... their dogs a literally treated better than a lot of children I know :)... I'm not talking treating dogs like human children, but feeding them the healthiest possible diet, exercising, stimulating and training them so they're as happy and healthy as possible and all of their needs are met... The physical tools that someone uses to keep their child (or dog) happy and healthy don't matter to me in the slightest.
I kind of think comparing a dog to a toddler is pretty fair though, actually. They have roughly the same vocabulary, level of predictability/impulse control and I wouldn't not put my dogs on a leash in much of the same situations that I wouldn't let my son run free, such as parking lots or traffic. It only takes a second for a child to not realize what they're doing even if they were told to stay in one place and are normally good listeners.
We used one for a short time after I said I'd never use one. There was just a period of a few months where he figured out he could run and wasn't quite old enough to understand danger and "stop". He never tugged on it and gave him just the right amount of independence. In fact, he never bolted with it on because he felt he didn't need to pull one over on us. We only used it at airports and things like that, so it wasn't something we used regularly. We only used it in situations where either we'd have our hands full and couldn't stop him running into other people, or we knew we'd be walking along busy streets.
I guess by that time, I was already used to dirty looks about my parenting.
before i was a parent i was vehemently opposed to one.
yeah i would have been the one coming here raising a ruckus.
but after i had dd - oh boy do i understand. however i never used one as dd was not a bolter. but i totally understood if another mom had to use them.
in my friends circle for many moms it was a godsend for the airport.
"Sure - they can be misused. So can carriers and slings. In most cases, it's not the tool that's the problem - it's the way it's used."
This is the crux of the argument for me.
I've known many, many parents in my early parenting days who who where exceedingly vocal about the evils of having a child on reins (is that a leash? Never heard that word). But their solution to having a kid who was a bolter was to strap them in a buggy (or put them in a carrier). So they would see it as preferable that the kid was confined and unable to run.
We live in an urban area and both my child's safety and his right to exercise were more important to me than what other people thought. When my son was not quite two, and we had a second child, we used reins on occasion. This was a kid who, you opened the front door and he just ran. (He's still like that but more philosophically nowadays ). He was pure energy at that age (he still is-its pretty much impossible to physically tire him out even now he's nearly 10). At the same time we worked a lot on road safety and a big advantage of the reins was that he was physically beside me, making road safety decisions, rather than in a sling or pushchair being passive. We aimed for situations where where could let him off the reins, of course, and talked to him about the whole thing. I'd say by around age 3, he had really good traffic awareness and was also prepared to hold people's hands, and at nearly 10 I'm completely happy for him to wander around the neighbourhood on his own.
For us it was a tool to extend his interactions with the world, to allow him to do things he couldn't otherwise do. The easiest thing in the world would have been to have put him in the double buggy and I did sometimes (I have 22 months between my older two) but the best situation for everyone was for him to be on reins in traffic / river areas and his sister in a sling and he and I walking.
I guess I'm trying to say that I think, usually, there's a reason for what people do. Honestly the only time I've known them used for older kids would be for a serious behavioural infraction (I wouldn't do this but I don't think its the end of the world, if what you're doing is making a kid stay with you rather than letting them go off and beat up littler kids, say) or where there is SEN.
I have never used one but its more because every time I try to help ds be mobile I always cause more harm than good. If he looks like he is going to fall and I try to help him somehow 80% of the time he ends up worse than when I intervened. I just Imagine me knocking him over constantly with one of these things.
Considering my choices, when my daughter was about 18-24 months, were:
A) Child screaming bloody murder and thrasing, while contained in a stroller or shopping cart.
B) Child screaming bloody murder and thrasing, while contained in backpack/sling carrier.
C) Child screaming bloody murder and alternately thrashing/dropping to the floor limp-noodle style, while holding my hand and "walking".
D) Child darting wildly between other pedestrians, potentially being injuredby or *causing* injury or damage to others or objects around her, and me having to chase her around/apologize/fix messed up things while also tending to 3-yo older sibling.
E) Child happily walking along while wearing stuffed bear backpack with tether...
Guess which one I'm going to pick?
I actually only used it a few times in that agespan (and probably should have used it more). But it was worth every.damn.penny and nuts to anyone who thought badly of me....I would suggest *they* were welcome to figure out a way to supervise both of my children, in my stead.
mamazee, I love answering simple questions and sharing my terribly important opinion:-)
I have no problem with a leash (I think they are also called harnesses) )because it is so much better than a stroller and still contains the child if used correctly. My son is ripe for a harness being almost 2, and I don't think I have to explain the multiple locations where a stroller is inconvenient and deprives a child of the exercise and holding hands and expecting a child to cooperate is just unrealistic.
I would probably not use a harness through a busy street with moving cars or other hazards because of the risk of it breaking.
I cannot judge anyone that uses them because we all do our best to manage our children in this society which has changed a lot from the one our parents or grandparents lived in. There are more crowds, traffic, and dangerous streets and I could see how they may be useful. For my first born I usually wore her or sometimes used the stroller but like many mothers that have posted here I now have an early walker and it is so different. She dislikes being worn and to be on a stroller she is very independent and likes to wonder or dart on her own to explore so I am highly considering buying one. She often pulls away from me and wants to dart into the street. For my sanity and her safety I think I should buy one. Actually thank you for this discussion because I didn't even think of buying this item before but reading all the comments above I think it is just what I need for my daughter. All children and parents are different and have different needs, so it is what it is. I believe the name "leash" seems kind of negative comparing child to dog but otherwise it seems like a useful item, as long it is not overused and of course there are safe spaces where a child should be free to explore on his/her own and there will time where my daughter is aware of her safety and I probably wont have any use for it then. It is about balance and moderation and options :) now I have one more. Thank you.