Baby Leash! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 1 Old 12-30-2001, 04:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Baby leash!

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Member posted 07-12-2001 10:07 PM
DD is cruising now and DH has jokingly mentioned getting a baby leash when she starts walking. I'm a 100% against it, I can't see treating my daughter like a dog. DH is very fact based and I'm trying to come up with a list of reasons why we shouldn't tie dd up.

Member posted 07-12-2001 11:00 PM
I think for kids you would call it a harness. I would like to get one for my dd for when we are out in public and she wants to walk. As my mother said, if that 2 year old in England had been on one, he couldn't have been abducted and killed by those other kids. That's all the convincing I needed (if any). I don't know where they would sell them.

Member posted 07-13-2001 04:16 AM
They sell them (the harness) at One Step Ahead.
You can call it a dog leash if you want, but if you have a runner, then you will put your child on one. My ds (2.5) ran away from me while I was holding 8mth old in the mall at Christmas time. It was just me and the kids. He's very fast, much faster than I could run while holding the baby.

After he realized it was no fun to be on a leash, he stopped running away from me. We only had to use it maybe a month.

It's not that big of deal actually. All it took was for me to remember the little boy in England who was taken from the mall and killed by those two other boys.

Good luck to you. Maybe you won't have a runner
*edited for spelling*

[This message has been edited by Paulab52 (edited 07-13-2001).]

Member posted 07-13-2001 06:36 AM
Well, I'm sure I won't need a harness, because I'm SURE that when my cub is old enough to be hyper-mobile that he'll always hold my hand, and stick close, and nevernevernever run away or dart out in a parking lot ... BWAHAHAHAHA!
Seriously, those harnesses only damage their dignity if YOU let it -- it's all about perception. And if it's a choice between a harness and a trip to the ER because he ran in front of a car, or a trip to the police station because he's gone missing, I'll take the harness and make no apologies to anyone.

I've heard folks say that they're an imiprovement over holding hands, not only because they're more secure (kid could snatch his hand away and be GONE) but also because they're more comfortable. Don't you remember how tired and sore your arm got when you were a kid, being hauled around all day? Plus, it's frighteningly easy to dislocate a child's shoulder, which is why I'll be using a chest harness rather than a wrist leash.

It'd be nice if I never needed it. I'm hoping that the cub will be sling-able until he's cognizant enough to be trustworthy. But he's a big boy, with Mighty Viking Genes on his dad's side, and I'm not a big woman. So I suspect that he'll be too big for me to carry throughout the mall at holiday time (for example) but not old enough to know to stick close. And I'll be damn glad to be able to leash him to me.

p.s. I'M NOT NEW!! the board ate me!! at least I got my old username back ...

[This message has been edited by Pallas (edited 07-13-2001).]

Member posted 07-13-2001 07:05 AM
I'm not new either Pallas, it ate me too *sniff*, but it did let me register with my old name as well.
We never needed the harness as ds was slingable until past 2 years. He was a good hand holder and though he wandered a bit he was never a runner. He was also my only child, I was a sprint-able 20 years old, and all of his medical stuff kept him from being a very active child in *that* way (he did get into everything and talk our ears off however!).

I always hate the idea of a harness, but if my little one was a practicing escape artist, I would DEFINITELY use one, at least in crowded public places. Toddlers certainly do wander into roads, fall off docks, and get kidnapped. Terrible things happen sometimes when parents have turned their back for a second. I can't stand it when I see parents letting kids wander out of eye sight, totally confident they will find them later in one piece.

I have also heard of a new wrist device that will let out of shrieking sound if your child wanders more than 10 feet away from you. That would not help if your child was *running* away from you, but with an older child (past 3 or so) who just might have lost sight of you, those might be great in crowded situations.


Member posted 07-13-2001 07:10 AM
mimiplane I was thinking another compromise would be to just use the harness sparingly. You would not need it at home, the park, or at the grocery store really.
Isn't it mainly those times when you are wandering through the mall, or shopping, or at a crowded event that one worries?


Member posted 07-13-2001 07:19 AM
I saw one (maybe in Baby Love catalog) that was a fanny pack for the kiddo with a retractable "leash" in the back. We used to use an actual Dog leash-dh would hook one side to his belt loop and the other end to ds belt looop. kind of took away the walking my dog feeling.

Member posted 07-13-2001 07:40 AM
Before I was a mother I thought those things were just awful, I swore there was no way I'd ever do that to my child... well, I haven't done it yet but I have a feeling I might need to one of these days. I'm making a solo airplane trip w/my son and I think I might get one of those. He is spirited to the utmost level and is a runner. I've learned not to judge others on their parenting choices the hard way (breastfeeding, etc). Funny what life can deal you when you feel so sure and secure of your convictions, but that's an entirely different topic, isn't it?

Moderator posted 07-13-2001 07:52 AM
Hi I just wanted to add that the Maya sling can also be used as a harness...I too thought I would never use one and as my ds is still so little I don't need to now..but I would much rather use one in a potentially dangerous situation then risk the consequences.
Just my opinion

Member posted 07-13-2001 08:16 AM
I have a runner too although we've never used a leash. I just try to keep a very close watch on her & if she doesn't obey our rules for holding hands etc., then we just leave wherever we are. And I have had to run after her with baby in sling.
Over time she's gotten much better because we have very little tolerance for the behavior.

Besides the whole dignity issue, one of the reasons that I never really considered it was the fact that it may create a false sense of security - ie, I don't have to watch him/her as closely because (s)he is on the leash.

It is very easy to snip the leash with a strong scissors and if there is plenty of slack the parent would never know that someone had done that & taken off with their child. I'm guessing the maya wrap is more difficult to do this with.

I realize this is a remote possibility BUT I prefer to stay connected with my child as much as possible. I need to stay connected and focused on them for me, personally, to be an attentive mom in public - there are so many distractions. I try to be a continuum mom at home - still remaining connected but not focused.

Keeping them interested and involved in what you are doing is a HUGE help also.

[This message has been edited by anotherway (edited 07-13-2001).]

Member posted 07-13-2001 08:48 AM
Wen my DD was starting to run about I thought of getting a baby harness. I decided against it. Like anotherway said, it creates a false sense of security. DD has learned she is supposed to hold a hand or ride in the buggy. Those are her options. If she acts up we'll leave. (After we try begging and bribing. Usualy she settles down at the promise of a cookie from the bakery or a quater for the bubble gum machine)
I just don't think the harness teaches the child to stay right with the mother. It allows you to forgo the whole step of explaining the danger of not staying with mama. And I still carry dd in parking lots.

Member posted 07-13-2001 08:56 AM
I didn't like the idea of a harness until I thought about having to hold my hand above my head for a long time to hold someone elses hand. It's not the most comfortable position if you think about it.

Member posted 07-13-2001 09:19 AM
One of my children didn't need a leash at all. She liked to do what Mommy did and generally stayed with me, stopped when she needed to, and came back when called. My other child, however, is very independent. She will run away and not look back. I've followed her, so I know it's true :-) While my older daughter was walking all the time by this age, I need to keep my 2 1/2-year-old in a stroller much of the time when we are on the move or we would never get to our destination. I used to think a leash was treating a child like a dog, but I now see that it is helpful in giving my 2 1/2-year-old the chance to walk when otherwise I would have to keep her in the stroller. I don't use it often, just when we are trying to get some place, in a real crowd, or if I really need to concentrate on something else (like my older daughter) for a moment when she is in the running off mood. I see no reason to use them all the time, but they can certainly be helpful at times. I have a harness, but I usually end up using my Maya Wrap.

Member posted 07-13-2001 09:47 AM
I have used leashes. Hell I wouldn't be here if my grandmother hadn't used a leash on my mom when she decided to follow an orange overboard whipping to panama in the 20's. My little redheaded bad teenager would have had severe injuries had it not been for her leash when the train we were on hit a bump and we were on the stairs going down to go potty. It also kept my little wanderer (she was a real runner) from disappearing in crowds. I really wish my good friend had had a leash on her youngest child when she started walking, and walked into a moving car.
I don't keep a kid on a leash constantly, only when we are in places where it isn't safe, and only until they learn to hang on and stay close. However, Airports, crowd scenes, trains, boats, and busy stores are far too easy to lose a little. Also, think about having your arm pulled up for minutes at a time. It throws off the balance on a new walker, gives them less autonomy to explore and isn't really comfortable.

Good luck in your decision.


nursing mother
Member posted 07-13-2001 09:58 AM
Hi mimiplane, please do use a leash if you have a real active toddler. I got my first leash in Europe where the moms use them all the time. The train stations and subways can be a very dangerous place. Other devices sometimes children can get loose from, but a leash ties from the back. People may give you bad looks , but forget it , your child's safety comes first, especially if you travel alot. I wonder how many kids would be saved now or not abducted if they had been on leashes. Parents today give young toddlers to much freedom and they run around and get lost or fall, or get taken.
I don't want this to sound like a downer, but our world is a busy dangerous place for toddlers, I wouldn't be caught dead without a leash for my kids when they were that age. We used the ferry alot also, and I was pertrified about one of my kids falling over the side. Maybe I'm paranoid, but I love leashes. And everyone know my kid is not a dog!!

Member posted 07-13-2001 10:14 AM
Thanks for all the input. Sure gives me another perspective. I guess there is really no point for me to worry about it now since it will depend on dd's personality. DD is pretty independent, and safety does come first. If I really need to use one, I need to remember to use it mindfully and with respect. But isn't that what parenting is all about? Many thanks!

Holistic Momma
Member posted 07-13-2001 03:18 PM
Whew, I thought this thread was gonna get ugly. I just knew someone would say "How dare you treat your child like a dog!" I am so relieved that didn't happen. Especially since I too believe that such child harnesses do actually have a role to play in keeping children safe.
Pallas, like you said, it's all about perception. I've eyeballed those child harnesses in the One Step Ahead catalog and I feel certain that I will be ordering one. I know that on the rare occasions that I have seen a child on a restraint, others look at that parent and often make rude comments (just not directly to the parent). True, it looks odd, but I never saw anything wrong with it. So anyway, I was beginning to think that EVERYONE believed the harnesses were evil incarnate. So I am happy to see you guys who are so open-minded.

Hey did y'all see the movie or read the book called "Deep End of the Ocean"? Michele Pfeiffer starred in the movie. Anyway, if that mom had had her youngin on a harness, she wouldn't have missed the next 5 or so years of his life (he had been abducted and then later found).

Member posted 07-13-2001 03:46 PM
I used an elastic wrist strap with my son when he was about 1. It velcro-ed around his wrist, and had a loop for mine. It was about four feet long. It sure was handy. He wanted to walk everywhere, but it was hard for me to bend over so far all the time to hold his hand. He was always right next to me. The strap was a great help keeping him from bolting away in crowds.

Member posted 07-13-2001 04:07 PM
Ds is just getting to the running stage- not quite there yet.. but it'll be soon.
As far as I'm concerned- if we're going to be in a situation that is potentially dangerous- I wouldn't bring him. There is NO reason whatsoever to bring a toddler Christmas shopping! And if it is- like has been mentioned- ocasionally, rarely, only in certain situations- throw the kid in a sling, chest carrier or stoller! That's what we do- I explain the we can run around at the park after.. or whatever.

You could also say that the little boy who was kidnapped in England should have been in a sling or chest carrier.

I know, I know.. it's just my humble opinion.
And I only have one child.
And I do have the option to leave him for some daddy time in the evenings if I want to get errands done.
I also know that every one of you mamas respect your kids enough to only do it if you feel you have no other choice. I just don't think I'd ever want to use one. (So don't yell at me! )

Member posted 07-13-2001 06:32 PM
We used one with our firstborn who was a runner, he would only stand so long in the stroller, and at two years was a hefty 35 pounds and I couldn't carry him long (I was 98 pounds) so the reins (sounds better than a leash) were a life saver, especially while travelling though airports and the mall and on the streets in Europe.
I had them too as a child I remember them, they were pink leather with a picture on the front, I used to play pony while my mom held the reins! kept me busy cantering along for ages, I was probably 2 or 3, way to much traffic and narrow sidewalks where we lived.

Member posted 07-13-2001 06:44 PM

Originally posted by MagooMom:
As far as I'm concerned- if we're going to be in a situation that is potentially dangerous- I wouldn't bring him. There is NO reason whatsoever to bring a toddler Christmas shopping! And if it is- like has been mentioned- ocasionally, rarely, only in certain situations- throw the kid in a sling, chest carrier or stoller! That's what we do- I explain the we can run around at the park after.. or whatever.

I don't agree that there is NO reason. I live in a city and am constantly in crowded situations. And neither do I have the option or do I choose to leave my toddler with someone else for long periods of time. My daughter will often scream for her freedom if in a stroller or sling and be perfectly happy with a harness. It gives her the freedom she craves while keeping her safe. Personally I think it's a great tool.

Moderator posted 07-13-2001 07:01 PM
I'm so glad to read all the positive responses to the idea of a harness. I thought about it but didn't want to look like a mean mom, but with a newborn now, I can't take my daughter (23 months) out for walks anymore and it's terrible and miserable for her to be inside all summer. She's such a runner- she will just dart off into the street. It never used to be an issue, but it is now. I guess I'll look into it!

Member posted 07-14-2001 07:29 AM
I used one with Edie for a short time. I would still hold her hand, like she wasn't wearing it, but she was a bolter. I really felt like our walks were more calm because of the added safety. I NEVER made it an issue, like calling it a leash, it was a safety thing bacause I wwanted her to be safe,she seemed to understand that.

Linda in Canada
Member posted 07-14-2001 09:29 PM
I never needed one with either or my kids, but if I had, I would have used one. We travel internationally with the girls and if either or them were the run-when-you-get-the-chance type, I would have gotten one. It is easy to say not to take kids to dangerous, but I'm an American, my DH is British, and we live in Canada. If my kids are going to see their relatives, they have to fly.
Different people's lives are different, you have to make the best decisions that you can for your child.

Member posted 07-14-2001 11:36 PM
we were just talking about this today
my dd is on the verge of being a really early walker, she's already fast and determined
dp had a harness as a child, he would sit down when they put it on
his sister had one on and led her daddy right into a fountain (huh?)
i kind of like the belt loop connection thing, or something like that, or as edies mom says, still holding hands - i remember loving holding my parents hands, but maybe that was older, when i was taller
i'm hoping to teach her to stick close, but it would appear that i am naive! maybe i'll have to settle for very particular use of one
so i don't know what i'll do, or what you should say to dh, mimiplane, though i have a sinking feeling i'll have to eat my words from earlier today when i scorned child leashes myself

[This message has been edited by e (edited 07-15-2001).]

Member posted 07-15-2001 03:04 AM
Yes, in England lots of people use reins and it is not considered unusual. I used them for a short time when my dd was about 20 months because at that time she was very quick but not very good at staying close to me and I was heavily pregnant.
Since she turned two I was able to explain to her that she had to stay next to me and when there is traffic around, she must hold my hand.
I think it really does depend on the child but if you are at all worried, reins are good for your peace of mind.
Just to add about the little boy who was kidnapped and murdered in England. He was in a mall with his mother, they went into a shop together and while she was being served, he slipped out and was led away by the two boys. She wasn't paying attention for maybe a minute. I feel very sorry for her and the pain that she is going through now they have been released.

unregistered posted 07-15-2001 09:32 AM
One of my children was an escape artist, so we did use the "leash" on him. I did get some horrible looks, but his safety was more important to me than what other people thought. I also put it on him even if he was riding in his stroller. This was at a time when in the news there was a story about a mom who had her child in a front facing stroller, she turned away to look at something and some body snatched the child right out of the stroller. Only when she went to push it again and felt how light it was did she notice the child was gone! So I felt safer having him in it even if he would ride in the stroller. You'd have to grab me right along with him!

Member posted 07-15-2001 11:17 AM
AHHH, I was such a perfect parent before I had kids! My darling toddlers would NEVER wander off-I would keep a watchful eye on them every second!! WELL, it only takes one time for your babe to wander off and the terrorizing panic you feel to not even blink an eye at the harness! I dont like the wrist attached ones because what if you had to yank your child to avoid some danger? I love the comment I get in a crowded airport or ammusement park from young marrieds who know better than this seasoned momma!

Member posted 07-15-2001 03:13 PM
I have to admit that I used to think those harnesses were mean when dh said maybe they are ok, you guys are the convinced me that they are really a great thing, at least in crowded places. I am hoping when Julia is older we will take her on vacations so we may get one for that and also for busy roads like ours! Thanks again for also convincing me!

mountain momma
Member posted 07-16-2001 10:52 AM
I'm sorry everyone, I just can't handle them..I see them as degrading on the same level as pacifiers.. If nature wanted us to use them, they would be attatched to our bodies is the way I see it. I have a 3 and 20 month old, the 20 month old is a crazy little guy but I have always been big on holding hands from the beginning of his mobility and he is wonderful about it. I don't know,a huge part of motherhood in toddler years is being protector...we con't ever get lazy.. it is just like breastfeeding, yes you have to sacrifice for a while and be unselfish but doesn't it feel good??? I am fortunate that he is good about it, but they WILL learn if you respect them and talk to them like a friend!And they will surprise you!!!TRUST BELEIVE, go with nature, it has everything you need.

Moderator posted 07-16-2001 10:36 PM
We've thought about a leash since we have a 20-month old zoomer. But I can just imagine how he'd take it: he'd lie on the sidewalk screeching and bashing his head against the concrete. Nice.
Personally, I don't think that leashes go far enough. I'm envisioning a sort of yoke system that has a pole slung across the parents' shoulders. The running toddler would be suspended from a parachute style harness at one end of the pole (which is long enough to insulate the carrier from the kicks and punches of the aggrevated youngun), with appropriate ballast at the other end -- purse plus diaper bag, for example.

What do you think? Should I get a patent?

My other idea is to develop some sort of chemical foam that can be sprayed, instantly becoming a sticky, immobilizing trap. A good application of this would be to place the infant into a backpack, and then seal him into place with the expanding foam.

Moderator posted 07-17-2001 08:49 PM
Yammer, you and my dh..... He wants the patent on baby tranquilizer darts. All natural, of course

Member posted 07-17-2001 09:10 PM
Hmmmmm, still not sure where I stand on this one. What do you do with a toddler who has been walking for two weeks and has already learned to run?
And, worst of all, I cramp her style. When she is walking I take her hand and she jerks it away! "Hold mama's hand," I say, but she jerks away again. Now what? I guess just keep at it like a broken record...

But very glad to have read all the potential circumstances where there might be trouble - some of which I hadn't thought of.

Member posted 07-18-2001 09:42 PM
Yammer, we should go into business together! I've designed a system of clotheslines in the house, with a long leash attached so that the child can wander extensively but still be quite restricted. This, combined with the invisible fencing (trick is getting them to keep the collar on) that we've installed make parenting SO much easier.
(um, I should clarify that I'm kidding. I think it's obviously a joke, but I've been stunned at some of the things people take seriously! It's scary when I think I'm taking something waaaay over the top for comic effect, and I see someone nodding agreeably "yes, yes, that IS a good idea!")

nursing mother
Member posted 07-18-2001 09:53 PM
Hi Mountainmomma, I respect your feelings, but it only takes one time to loose your toddler in a store for a few minutes, because they let go of your hand just ran away. It is the most panic ridden situation you can be in, and I have. To me a leash or harnish seems like a very kind thing to do when you think about the consequences of what "could be" if you ever lost your child.
Yes, and I did see the movie "Deep end of the Ocean" and cried and cried during the part her child was lost, I just imagined that happening to my kid. It is unthinkable, yet it does happen.

I believe Europeans are abit more enlightened in many things and I think it's weird why they use leashes all the time and people think nothing of it. Yet here, well why is it something we must discuss, it totally makes sense to me to protect your child in anyway possible. IMO

Member posted 07-19-2001 08:52 PM
Hi, I just had too jump in on this topic. I have used the harness with both my kids. Not much with dd as she only went thru a short spell of wanting too run. But my 23mo. ds is a bundle of non-stop energy. And I don't care what anyone else thinks, his safety comes first. I don't use it often but in a crowded situation I do. We often visit Niagara Falls and some of those sidewalks are close too the street and it is always so busy. If he pulled and ran he could be lost in the crowd or under a car before I could even react. When I use it I do offer my hand as first choice and its up too him if he wants too hold hands or have more freedom. Provided the situation is safe enough for freedom. By the way I bought mine at Wal-Mart for around $5, and it has a picture of tweety bird on it.

Member posted 07-19-2001 10:26 PM
Just a tip if Dad or someone else is there to hold the baby (or if baby wants to take a turn in the stroller that you were pushing the toddler in).
I often put the wandering toddler in the sling - she is so happy to be close to me & to get to ride in the sling she forgets about where she was going in such a hurry.

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