Thoughts on toddlers on 'leashes'?

See the results of this poll: Thoughts on Leashes?

Respondents: 104 (This poll is closed)

  • They’re fine : 68 (65%)
  • They’re bad or cruel : 18 (17%)
  • No opinion: 18 (17%)

I fully support parents who use baby reins on their toddlers, especially in cities. I’m not saying it’s ideal, I would like for my child to be able to run carefree around on her own (which is why we’re moving!), but I’d rather have her in reins and looking a bit silly, than not using them and having her run into traffic, crowds or up to strange dogs (and the list could go on!). Safety comes first, and toddlers doesn’t understand the dangers of running off on their own. I’d only use it in busy streets, in parks where dogs run free and things like that though. And most of them have quite long reins, at least the ones I’ve seen. And they’re helpful when the toddler is still a bit shaky on her feet.

Helmets on the playground, that’s another thing.

They are not leashes, they are reins. Calling them leashes implies the child is treated like an animal.

I am in support of leashes. We used them consistently with my daughter when she stopped using her pushchair, when she was learning to walk with mummy and how to cross roads, etc.

Her rein was on the inside of a ladybird backpack, so it didn’t even feel like she was on a leash. She would hold my hand any time we were outside, regardless of where it was. She would be wearing her backpack and the other end of the rein would be wrapped around the hand that was holding hers.

It was to teach her safety measures, but not limit her. That way, the rein wouldn’t even be used unless she suddenly let go of me and ran away. She did it once, she ran clean out in front of a car and if it weren’t for the rein she’d most definitely have been hit.

It doesn’t bear to think about the consequences, toddlers are reckless and do not understand the concept of danger.

I’m very baby led and consider myself to be quite crunchy, but this is just too much for me. No offence, but the types of mothers [name]IRL[/name] who hate reins are the types of mums who won’t use prams because it restricts the baby and won’t use cots because they’re “baby prison” :rolleyes:

I’m confident in my choice to use reins and I will use them again on [name]Daisy[/name].

I’ll admit I cringe a little whenever I see a toddler on a leash or reins or whatever, but I understand why parents would use them. I’m not a parent myself so I try not to judge!

I use one, so I am obviously in support of them. I know plenty of moms judge this, but I mean, it’s been a pure judgement-fest ever since I brought a child into this world, everyone has an opinion & you’ve just got to do what works best for you.

I use one cause I know my daughter. I know that she isn’t careful, fearful or meek and I know she’s shockingly quick. [name]Plenty[/name] of moms with more obedient 1 1/2 year olds walk around with them and are able to teach them to stop when the curb ends…my daughter is spunky on a good day, but gleefully disobedient on a bad one…the scary possibility of her running off is too real & too dangerous for me to worry about ladies shaking their heads at me on the street. Keeping my kid safe while she learns is just more important to me.

I agree with otter :slight_smile:

I totally forgot about reins! You don’t really see them anymore. I know had them as a toddler (not that I can remember) and good job too. Apparently I was a mental kid, running everywhere and would likely have ended up under a car :stuck_out_tongue: I probably would use them on future kiddywinks because I think 10 minutes of discomfort for the toddler as you walk through a city is far better than having them knocked down and killed. Plus the ones I had were pretty much identical to the straps you get in prams and car seats- can’t really see how it’s cruel.

I approve of them and they have really cute ones! Basically their like those animal backpacks, but with a “leash” for the parent to hold onto. I work in a retail store, trust me, almost all those parents NEED one. I see kids running around, making a mess, breaking things. It is so annoying that parents can’t control their children. If they had a leash, they could easily prevent their child from grabbing that glass vase.

The “leash” is also excellent in big malls and amusement parks. You don’t have to worry about loosing your child. Sure you could hold hands, but hands sweat and a little hand can easily slip out.

If I have a kid, I will for sure be getting a leash.

I think you gotta do what you gotta do to keep your child safe. If that means using a safety harness (the PC term in the US is harness, not reins), so be it. I’d rather have people give me dirty looks for having my child on a “leash” than have her get lost or kidnapped. We haven’t had a situation where we’ve needed one yet (my LO is only 13 months old and still likes riding in the stroller or being carried), but I would in a heart-beat if we were going somewhere crowded like the zoo or an amusement park or if we were traveling. Can you even imagine the sheer terror you would feel if your toddler got away from you in an airport far from home? I don’t even want to think about it!

I don’t think they should be used every day, you do need to teach your kid to be obedient, but there are just some situations where the likelihood of you being distracted (you’re busy checking your luggage or getting your passport stamped or something) and them being excited and wandering off (ooh…what’s that spinning thing with all the bags? Look, you can see the airplanes out the window!) is just too great. It’s not worth the risk. You do what you gotta do!

Furthermore, I think it’s kind of silly to assume it’s somehow degrading to a small child to wear a safety harness. They all look like cute animal backpacks now, every kid I’ve known who has one loves it. Plus, just because being on a “leash” would feel degrading to an adult doesn’t mean a child would feel that way. For example, I personally would feel degraded if I had to wear a diaper, but they do it all day every day! It’s our job as parents to impose limits on our children when it’s in their best interest, a harness/reins/leash/whatever-you-call-it is just a tool to do that.

I was a toddler with reins. While it does look a bit odd (my brain automatically goes, “hee hee, a leash-baby!”) I fully support parents who need to use them. Mum said one particular time before she had them for me, she was quite pregnant with my sister and I took off, she called after me to stop and come back, and apparently I stopped, turned around giggled and took off again, almost into traffic as the lights changed to green. Luckily a quick-thinking person nabbed me for mum.

[name]Leo[/name] was given a little backpack that has a tether hooked to it, so not proper reins but the same kind of deal. We’ve used it just the once when we went to the zoo for the day, but since it was a backpack it was a novelty for him, we put his snacks etc in it and he thought it was quite cool. We also had the buggy with us as well since there way no way he’d make it around the whole place on those little legs!
He also doesn’t seem to be a runner fingers crossed he stays that way. I would use reins if I had to though.

ETA: @taz, “gleefully disobedient”!! [name]Love[/name] it! That was definitely me as a toddler!

I don’t see what’s bad with using the term leash? Honestly, calling them reins just makes me laugh. But regardless of what they are called…

I have also noticed the little monkey backpacks they can be attached to! Really cute actually.

My parents didn’t use them, but one of my friends’ parents used them and they are amazing parents (basically my second parents).
They had 3 young kids close in age and didn’t want to have to give up walking around town, etc. just because they were a little wild… :slight_smile:

Safety first, I guess!

I agree, I’m not a mother so I try not to judge. I was, however, a nanny for years so I do have some insight into bringing toddlers out on errands. I can completely understand the level of comfort a tether gives someone, especially with a little busybody! But I’ve always brought a stroller and make it clear that if they are not going to walk nicely and hold my hand they will have to be buckled into their stroller. It also depends on the toddler’s stamina, if you’re just going on a short walk I can totally see using a leash but if you’re going on a longer trip you’re probably going to need a stroller anyways. Again, just my opinion, to each their own.

No kiddos yet for me, but I would use one. I think they’re brilliant! In an ideal world, little ones would always mind their mothers, but the world isn’t ideal and I can think of many situations, especially involving crowds, which would be much simpler and worry-free if there was a way to hang onto your child without carrying them. And it’s actually not good for a toddler to hold mommy or daddy’s hand for extended periods of time…all that pulling and tugging and hanging on the parent’s arm while reaching up at that angle can potentially damage their little shoulder joints. I think leashes/harnesses/reins/what have you are safe, comfortable, effective, and smart.

As for being degrading…I can see the argument, but I don’t think it applies. When I was a kid, I pretended I was a puppy ALL THE TIME. I would tie myself to the leg of the piano with a jump-rope, just so I could strain and “bark” at the end of “my leash” like a real dog. My mom had a heart-attack when she caught me tying the jump-rope round my neck for authenticity’s sake >_> All this to say, even if the child does make a connection between a baby leash and a dog leash, they’re far more likely to turn it into some new and exciting game of pretend than they are to attach all sorts of negative meaning to it.

We’ve always called them child leashes, so I don’t see any peoblem calling them leashes.

Honestly, I wish more parents would use them. I’m getting tired of parents letting their toddlers run around malls/streets/stores/etc, and letting them get into things that they shouldn’t.

I have never found the need for them for my kids, as I used other options. When my son was born and my daughter wasn’t quite 2, I had a pram with a toddler seat on the front of it. Then when my son was in a more lighter stroller, my daughter was taught to hold on to the strap on the stroller when we were walking. Now with a near 4 year old and a 2 year old, my son follows his big sister’s cues and always holds my hand like her. If we go to big crowds or busy places, I take the stroller for the younger one and my daughter cruises with us (often responsible for pushing the stroller to keep her close). Oh and at the shops, I get the toddler twin seats trolleys so they sit next to each other. When we have gone to the zoo or other large places I often end up with my son in the stroller and my daughter on a piggy back with me. Though I always take my ergo carrier as my son can comfortably fit in it on my back if my daughter wants a go in the stroller.

I have nothing against the harness option. Each parent need their own options. Though when your child is having a massive meltdown I would prefer a stroller to strap them into cause I can’t drag them away in the harness!! ;). Having said all that, I tend to do my shopping etc on a weekend when my hubby can watch at least one of the kids. Quicker and easier!

Warning: sanctimonious

Ehhh, I have to admit to getting judgy when I see toddlers on leashes, especially when there is “only” one toddler and more than one adult. Sure, little kids can and do run off. Toddlers are great at that! But it’s not THAT hard to at least marginally pay attention to your toddler(s) in public and/or limit the duration of the outing in the first place. If you want to go window shopping on the waterfront or spend more than 30 seconds paying attention to anything, and your kid’s at that stage where they’re wild and prone to sprinting away, schedule a babysitter for a few hours once a month. Fer-goodness’-sake, it’s pretty much a requirement for staying sane when your child is very young to get away from him/her briefly, anyway! And I am saying this as a person who HATES spending money on even the best of babysitters and hates the frustration of the whole process of arranging for childcare, and whose family lives 2,000+ miles away.

I was tempted to start using a leash on one of our kids when our third child was born, and if I had I probably would have put it on our 2.5-year-old son. Our 17-month old son and the baby would have been in the double stroller. Instead, I wore the baby a lot and either held hands with the boys (tightly) or double-strollered the boys. I realize this is not much different from “leashing” them. The hand-holding strategy was definitely not without incident, either. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do the leash thing, even in the airport with them by myself. Your kid is not a dog, and they need to learn how to be in public and in streets and less-than-ideal situations somehow; as with many things, this takes years of practice and opportunities to get it wrong.

I’m not a parent yet, but I’m a nanny and the little boy I care for has a “leash.” I always feel a bit like I’m being judged when I use it, probably because my mother judged parents who used one. She never used them with me or my brother, but we were both clingy, quiet kids and we didn’t stray far even as toddlers. As for the little boy I care for, he’s extremely busy and while he listens pretty well, he is so easily distracted and will be in one place one minute and yards away the next. I’ve been happy for that leash on occasion! His is a monkey backpack with the monkey’s tail being the leash, so when we go out I usually attempt to gauge his temperament and will often coil the leash part around the monkey’s head. That way, he can run around but I also have something to grab on to in a flash if necessary. We mostly do parks/small zoos though, so they’re never super busy or close to roads. I imagine if we went to shopping centres or the city more often I’d be depending upon that thing.

I think some of the judgement comes from thinking that parents aren’t able to control their children without the leash–but having experienced using one and not using one with different children, I think it’s more a child-by-child case rather than some parents “being in control” and others not. The kids I’ve taken out have all been very well-behaved, it’s just that some are busier than others and require that physical reminder that they shouldn’t stray too far.

I’m glad I found this thread … I just bought my 17 month old a frog backpack leash (or reins/harness/whatever you want to call them). We are taking an international flight next month and I am flying solo with my little one. I am going to have to lug around our carry on bag and a convertible car seat and my son hates sitting in his stroller.

Clearly, I don’t have a problem with it. My son has been walking since 10 months and is FAST and refuses to hold hands. Since he would rather walk everywhere, I would rather be safe than sorry in crowded places. I am thoroughly prepared to get some dirty looks though when I use the leash in the airport. Although, I would probably get even dirtier looks if my son was screaming bloody murder because I confined him to his stroller :slight_smile:

We don’t use them, but I don’t judge parents who do. Like mill1020, I sometimes do a doubletake and think to myself why do they need that for just one toddler, but I don’t really consider that judging. Everyone has their own parenting style. It usually suprises me more because I feel like, for me, it would be more a hassle than not having a harness/leash/rein.

Before going to any public place or activity, we have a discussion at home about the rules and reminders with the kids. We repeat the rules again in the car before we get out. Our toddlers (2 1/2) know they must obey us in these settings because the same rules apply at home.

Some toddlers have a tendency to bolt unexpectedly so I think these make a lot of sense for them. I have four children and they are all so different. Two of my daughters were very compliant and would never run away from me. My 2nd daughter was very busy and had zero impulse control. (It’s too soon to tell with my youngest child.) When I was out in public with my 2nd daughter, I always had to have her strapped into something. I could not rely on her holding my hand. This was for her own safety. I never used a leash because she didn’t mind her stroller, but I can see how this might work the best for some. No judgment here. Whatever works.

I also do not understand why calling it a leash is offensive. Leashes make me think of dogs and reins make me think of horses.

While I am personally not a fan of them, I realize that once I have my own little one, I may very well change my opinion. I am going to try my darndest to not have to use one, but at the end of the day it will come down to my child’s safety.