Do You Use Child Leashes? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-31-2010, 01:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm very against them, but maybe I'm overreacting. Do you use one? Why? Is it compatible with attachment parenting principles? If you don't use one, how do you ensure your children's safety when outside, in crowds or near busy streets?
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:32 PM
 
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Ya know, when my aunt had her 4th of 5 children and the little girl started walking my aunt invested in one. This kid would be gone in a new york minute. No matter how many eyes were on her she would be gone at top speed. Seriously. The leash just slowed her down enough. (BTW, the fifth kid didn't need a leash either). I've not had any experience other than that, but it worked and she eventually grew out of it. My child follows rules and holds hands in public. Not allowed to not especially near busy streets. He is sorta clingy in strange situations or in a crowd so I am lucky and don't worry about it a lot.

Got any idea what to do with a 3 year old with endless energy when it hits 115?? Let me know.
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:43 PM
 
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My DD has one that we use in very busy malls or in airports. She loves it and it's much easier than trying to juggle her hand (especially for my tall DP), carryons, carseat, etc. She's perfectly content using it, whereas she sometimes freaks out about holding hands.

It's a bit embarrassing when she pretends to be a puppy while on the leash - the harness part is a stuffed puppy, but she takes it a bit far sometimes

DD 2/08
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:45 PM
 
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Well, they're certainly more AP than forcing a child to ride in a stroller all the time just because they haven't developed impulse control.

They can be a useful tool for supporting a developmental need to explore before the developmental ability to not run into traffic starts.

I haven't needed one, but I'm a relatively healthy SAHM with a fairly laid back dd.

DD has been in a harness once when my mom watched her for me at a sport activity. I watched her in it and she didn't mind it at all (and dd is NOT a suffer-in-silence type), but she did seem to be aware of it and stay closer to my mom. She wasn't going to the limit of the lead and staying close because she couldn't go farther, the harness just seemed to cue her in that this was a time to stay by the adult watching her.

Oh, and my dd is also tall for her age and I'm average for mine, so it's more comfortable for us to hold hands than it would be otherwise. And she stays on the sidewalk when she plays the run-away-from-mommy game. If she was one of those kids who drifts towards the road (or goes directly into traffic) she would've been in a harness and lead a year ago.
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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I LOVE CHILD LEASHES! I never used one with my first, who would listen when out in public and LOVED being held. But my second was the opposite! He couldn't stand to be restrained (in arms or stroller) and couldn't listen when left to walk. Without the leash, we would have easily gotten hurt when I was the only other adult around (esp. when I got pregnant with number 3.) Now that baby number 3 is here, if I take all three kids to someplace like the zoo or aquarium, ds1 has his backpack (aka leash) on and I have it in my hands at all times. It's just not worth the risk of him getting lost because I have other children I need to keep an eye on aswell.

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Old 05-31-2010, 01:47 PM
 
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I used one when dd1 was about 18 months and I had a newborn. I see them the same as strollers, high chairs, swings, etc. They come in quite handy at times when used appropriately. I dont see the difference between strapping your kid in a stroller or to your back and using a leash. All are ways to safely contain your dc, and there will always be people who misuse it and give it bad rap.
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:54 PM
 
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I've always sort of chuckled about it and never used one myself but I've been considered one lately. I have this impulsive 5 yr old who takes off constantly these days. She also argues with me a lot in. It seems to be quite an independence phase and I'm fine with it. BUT after countless store employees and strangers return my daughter to me because she rounds them up to help her find me, it gets old. I know she is resourceful enough to ask for help finding me since she seems to have the worst most backwards upside down sense of direction, these kind, helpful strangers sure give me the dirtiest looks and act like I'm a horrible human being for letting my precious child out of my sight.
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Old 05-31-2010, 02:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by elmh23 View Post
I LOVE CHILD LEASHES!
Me too! My first was very cautious and never wandered more than a few feet away from me. And since she was my first I could watch her the whole time. DS1 however, total runner. He'd run 8 miles down a road before even thinking of looking back. So yeah, we have a monkey backpack and he loves it. Makes things so much easier. And now that DS2 is running we're going to invest in a second one.

And I agree with Sapphire that its much more AP than a stroller. My DSs can interact with their environment and get some exercise instead of being cooped up in a stroller.

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Old 05-31-2010, 02:15 PM
 
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If you had asked me a few years ago I would have been against them, but then dd2 came along. She'll hold her sisters sometimes but if I try to hold her hand she instantly falls to the ground screaming every. single. time. Principle kinda goes out the window when the baby is boneless and wailing in the middle of the crosswalk.
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Old 05-31-2010, 04:42 PM
 
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I used one with my first. He wanted to be walking (so no stroller), hated holding hands, etc. He was perfectly happy with his bear backpack leash on. Ds2 it was never an issue, he was happy in the stroller or holding hands. We'll see with dd...

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Old 05-31-2010, 10:10 PM
 
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I think they are weird. We have a dog and it jsut seems strange to have a leash on a child!

I hold ds's hand, or wear him, we dont use a stroller except for theme parks, and mostly he walks.
I play 'red light green light' a lot and he knows what 'red light' means.
He has also been taught how to safely cross the road, which at his age involves holding hands, so he wont cross the road without me.

In parking lots he rides in the cart or holds hands, no exceptions allowed which he knows.

I've never had a reason to put him on a leash!
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:14 PM
 
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No personal experience, but most kids I've known with leashes love their leashes. I knew a little boy who wanted to wear his monkey one to bed because he loved it so much (he didn't get to though).

I think it's better than being forced to be in a stroller, and easier than holding if the child doesn't want to be held or hold hands.
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:26 PM
 
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I think you're over reacting. I used one with one of my three kids (not really a "leash," but a Maya Wrap looped around his waste. He learned to run at 10 months old and would run in a straight line until he ran into something - it was like his legs were going before his feet even hit the ground. He was also fiercely independent and would scream incessantly if in the sling when he didn't want to be, and he thought strollers were the equivalent of prisons laced with caustic acid. Handholding was a no go too. Without the sling as leash, we would have been house bound for a good two years. There was no way I could safely chase him when I was pregnant with DD or when DD was a newborn in the sling - no way. The leash reminded him that I was behind him. He would get to the end of it and feel the tug and it would remind him to slow down.
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:30 PM
 
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Yes. Because over the age of 2 I want my kids to walk, and I think it's cruel to hold their arms at a 180 degree angle.
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:34 PM
 
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Eclipse, your kid sounds like mine!

OP, I've had eight kids. Some do great on their own, stay with me, never run off. I have two that were seriously scary. My second could get out of a stroller (high chair/car seat) at the drop of a hat...and be gone in ten seconds. That wasn't something I wanted to deal with, and the strap would help set that boundary without forcing her to be MY extension. We were connected.

My fifth loved the maya wrap, until he was done. Then he was DONE. So the wrap made a great strap!

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Old 05-31-2010, 10:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by leighi123 View Post
I think they are weird. We have a dog and it jsut seems strange to have a leash on a child!

I hold ds's hand, or wear him, we dont use a stroller except for theme parks, and mostly he walks.
I play 'red light green light' a lot and he knows what 'red light' means.
He has also been taught how to safely cross the road, which at his age involves holding hands, so he wont cross the road without me.

In parking lots he rides in the cart or holds hands, no exceptions allowed which he knows.

I've never had a reason to put him on a leash!
I feel the same way but I have three children four and under. I do not like strollers or leashes , tbh.
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:00 PM
 
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I have never used one, and probably never will (my 4th child is 3 - so he is past the toddler stage for the most part). That said, I now DO see how they can be helpful, and can look back and recall times when a harness would have been nice to have (like at a crowded festival, etc).TBH, it was past threads here on MDC where I may have argued the un-necessity of them that in turn were what changed my mind and made me see it from another perspective. I do hope to have another kid, or two - so I guess I can't say never now that I view them as a useful tool, 'cause I may just try one someday.

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Old 05-31-2010, 11:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by leighi123 View Post
I think they are weird. We have a dog and it jsut seems strange to have a leash on a child!

I hold ds's hand, or wear him, we dont use a stroller except for theme parks, and mostly he walks.
I play 'red light green light' a lot and he knows what 'red light' means.
He has also been taught how to safely cross the road, which at his age involves holding hands, so he wont cross the road without me.

In parking lots he rides in the cart or holds hands, no exceptions allowed which he knows.

I've never had a reason to put him on a leash!
Honestly, this is all because you have a compliant child. My first was that way and it's great. My second loves "red light, green light" unless we're out in public and and then "red light" turns in to "run faster light." It took until he was almost 3 for him to understand that he is not allowed to go in the street unless a parent is right next to him. Parking lots are my personal hell for similar reasons (though it's slowly getting better now!)

ETA: Our leash is a bear backpack harness that ds LOVES, so very un-dog like.

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Old 05-31-2010, 11:24 PM
 
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Yes. Because over the age of 2 I want my kids to walk, and I think it's cruel to hold their arms at a 180 degree angle.
This. We're going to the zoo Friday and I don't want to have to force DD to sit in a stroller for 3 hours or hold her arm over her head. With the leash she has more freedom than with either option and I don't have to worry about her bolting into a crowd.

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Old 05-31-2010, 11:40 PM
 
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I used one with my first child because he was a runner. He could also climb out of any restraint system (except his car seat) by 18 months. With my second, I haven't had a need. He stays by me when we are out and about and actually prefers to hold my hand.

As long as you are using it correctly (ie to let your child explore/walk independently) then I think they are fine. However, there are people who yank their children around with them (I even saw someone dragging their child with one once!! ) and I think that's part of what causes the intense reactions to them.

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Old 05-31-2010, 11:53 PM
 
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We have a monkey backpack, it's allowed DD the freedom to wander without having to hold a "hand", and me the peace of mind that she can't get far away. I think I can count on one hand the times we've used it, we bought it for a trip to an amusement park and we've used it since for county fairs,etc..

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Old 05-31-2010, 11:58 PM
 
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I love leashes. When my boys, now 9 and 7, were small, I'd leash them both. Neighbors would joke that I was a professional baby walker.
My oldest was pretty OK with holding my hand, but ds2 blew that out of the water. Kid was FAST!
I feel that leashing has its benefits. Both boys were able to explore up close every rock, stick, bug, you name it, that caught his eye. Can't really do that from a stroller.
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Old 06-01-2010, 12:01 AM
 
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I think it's funny that some people are so against them because they remind them of dogs - but why is it no big deal to have a leash on a dog to make sure it doesn't run off, but not a child? Aren't children more important to keep safe than dogs?

I used one with DS, who started walking very late and I wanted to encourage him to walk whenever possible. He was 2, and when we were in crowded places like airports or the zoo, I had him wear his little puppy backpack harness. He didn't mind it, got practice walking without holding his arm up at an uncomfortable angle while holding my hand, and I felt comfortable knowing that he was safe.

And people yank their children by the hand too.

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Old 06-01-2010, 12:03 AM
 
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I have not yet felt the need to use one, but I don't judge those who do. They serve a purpose & if you need one, use one. My son usually prefers to be worn, carried or sit in a stroller.

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Old 06-01-2010, 12:16 AM
 
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I am absolutely 100% certain that my DS would not be alive today if I hadn't put him on a leash for about six months. I agree that holding hands, using a carrier, using the stroller, teaching them to "STOP!" when necessary are all great, and often a better alternative, but occasionally, you just have to let go of their hand for a second.

Example: One day I was parked in a lot next to a busy street and had a few things in one hand. It was super snowy and the parking lot was pretty much one slushy puddle. There was no place to set my things down, and I needed to unlock the car. I told DS to stay right where he was and to hold my leg and I let go of his hand just long enough to fish my keys out of my pocket and unlock the car door and he was about a foot from the traffic. Luckily a stranger was walking by as I dropped everything and ran at him screaming like a crazy woman to "STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!". She heard me and caught him before he got hit, but it was super (as in heart stopping) close. That was one of MANY times that he came waaaaayyyyy too close to getting hit before I finally broke down and had him on the leash for every single trip out for quite a while. I would just pop the harness on as I took him out of the car seat and then loop the strap over my wrist until we were safe again, or back in the car. It was hard to take all of the snide comments and stares, but at least my DS is ALIVE today.

Leashes are hands down one of the most brilliant child safety inventions ever in my mind.

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Old 06-01-2010, 12:27 AM
 
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Regarding the discomfort of hand-holding: We did an exercise once in a child development class where one person stood on the table and the other on the ground, and then held hands. The person with their arm up made it like a minute or two without dropping the taller one's hand b/c it was soo dang uncomfortable and almost painful to keep your arm in such an upright position. I can't imagine doing it for more than a couple minutes, much less having to coordinate short little legs to walk - likely feeling pulled around. Surely a harness/leash would be much more comfy.

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Old 06-01-2010, 01:27 AM
 
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we used one for a while when the situation warranted it. Once DD learned to walk she would throw a bloody fit if you tried to wear her or make her ride in the stroller. Hand holding was out as well. We got the leash for a trip to Baltimore's inner harbor where it is literally sidewalk and then a 2 foot drop into the harbor - no fence or barrier of any kind. I decided I didn't want to have to jump in after her so we got the leash. We used it there, in the aquarium (no strollers allowed) and at the airport mostly for 6 months - 1 yr timespan.

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Old 06-01-2010, 01:54 AM
 
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As of this moment I don't use one. I am prepare though, for when/if I do need one. DS is getting to the point where he doesn't want to be held, he doesn't want to be in a stroller, and he doesn't want to hold my hand (no surprises there, seeing as I am 6ft tall) but he loves to explore and just not old enough to really understand why he needs to stay close. I also have a very limited field of vision. I can keep track of him when he is almost literally standing on my feet, but if he is a foot or two away from me I have to rely on hearing. In a crowded space that is not possible, I have good hearing, but not that good.

So yes, leashes are with in the realm of AP in this house. They meet his need to be independent and allow me to stay close to him.

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Old 06-01-2010, 01:58 AM
 
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I was completely against using a leash/harness on a child until I had mine ds. He is 26 months old and we just purchased one because to be honest I was done constantly running after him and he is NOT okay with being carried or in a stroller. When we are going somewhere he will sit in the wagon which is great but the moment we stop he's out and running.

I think all kids are different. One of my nephew's never had a need for one and that's great....if/when we have another lo it will depend on that child's personality if we will choose to use it again or not.

On a side note my ds LOVES wearing his monkey backpack and wears it around the house without the lease attached.

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Old 06-01-2010, 02:54 AM
 
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And I agree with Sapphire that its much more AP than a stroller. My DSs can interact with their environment and get some exercise instead of being cooped up in a stroller.
Well, than forcing a kid into a stroller. I got an umbrella stroller because it's been too hot to have a tiny furnace strapped to me. She now asks to go on walks by saying "toller?"
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