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Would You Leash Your Child?

By ErinBehan |

There’s a bit of a controversy brewing over at Parents magazine, after the print column “Judy on Duty,” written by Judith Goldberg, brought up the topic of parents who leash their children. The New York Times Motherlode parenting blog has also picked up on it. Here’s what Goldberg said:

“Leashes are for dogs. You wouldn’t put your child in a crate, or let him poop on the sidewalk, right? If you have a bolter, invest in a cheap umbrella stroller with a buckle.”

Now, what amazes me is that there is a controversy. There are parents out there who not only leash their children but are proud enough of the act to defend themselves in public? Yes, and apparently more than 100 letter writers thus far have written to Parents to defend the practice.

Here’s what I think of people who leash their children: I’m not going to go so far as to call them bad parents, but I will call them lazy parents. I get that kids can be unpredictable (I have one and live in a neighborhood teeming with them), but I also get that it’s your job as a parent to teach your kids how to behave. That means in public, on a sidewalk, in a crowd, at the mall, at the airport, and, yes, even at Disney World (for some reason this seems to be a particular place of child-leashing cited in the New York Times comments).

Now, I suppose if you decide you don’t want to take the time to teach your kids to stay by your side in public, listen to you when you say “stop,” or take a small stroller with you (see my post about the fabulous Maclaren Volo), then a leash might be better than losing your child, but I still think that makes you a lazy parent. Yes, even if you have twins.

Please tell me that I’m not the only one who finds the practice demeaning to children and indicative of lax parenting.

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118 thoughts on “Would You Leash Your Child?

  1. Maria says:

    I think leashing a child is not always a bad thing. IF you have a very rambunctious child who hates riding in the stroller and you have trouble keeping them by your side in a crowded space, then perhaps that child does need a leash sometimes. It doesn’t necessarily mean you area lazy parent. Sometimes, despite a parents best efforts, a child does not always listen, and if you are in a crowded area, it might be a good idea to use a leash so that you don’t lose sight of your child. Especially if you have more than one child to keep tabs on, and one of them isn’t listening to you. Just because you try to teach your children to stay by your side doesn’t mean they always will. I think many children( mine included) act up in public every now and then, despite the fact that they know how I expect them to behave. I have not used a leash on either of my children, but I can understand why some parents use them.

  2. Jessie says:

    I disagree with your position. I purchased harnesses for my (now 2 year-old) twins when they were one. I have only used them a couple of times (mostly out of fear of being judged by others like yourself), but absolutely see the positives in using them. Yes, we have to teach our children to obey us and stay with us, etc., but it surely doesn’t happen overnight. In the meantime, a harness allows a young walker (who doesn’t want to be in a stroller) some independence while allowing the parent to ensure that they don’t run off. This is especially true for parents of multiples…or more than one child, period (shame on you for calling them out as lazy!) If you chose to take your children out for a walk, and they were to run (or walk, for that matter) out in the street without looking (as children can innocently do) in opposite directions…how would you possibly be able to choose which one to run after first?! Harnesses are not used by “lax” parents…they’re used by proactive ones. thankyouverymuch.

  3. Kate says:

    Gee, judgmental much? I’d rather leash my child than lose them. Some kiddos are nearly impossible to reign in. And I don’t see how it would be detrimental to the child. My mother used one on me occasionally and I agree with her choice. I think it would really only be negative if a parent used the leash by default instead of teaching their child(ren) the importance and safety of staying close/not bolting in a public place.

  4. Bunnytwenty says:

    How about if the kid has developmental disabilities and doesn’t understand or obey verbal commands? geez, judgmental much?

  5. Sandy says:

    My mother uses one with my 2 year old son if they are going to the zoo or a crowded place. Because of injuries and her age she isn’t always able to catch up to him if he sprints off, and after one scary incident where he took off headed for the parking lot, she decided it was a good idea for their outings. 2 year olds are notoriously spotty at listening, so I’m not sure why this author sees this as a black and white disciplinary issue. Of course we are teaching him to listen when we say to stay close, but I’m not willing to take the chance that he’ll run into traffic if he chooses to not listen, or have my mom hurt herself while running after him.

  6. hannah says:

    a lot of things are called ‘lazy’. I find some kinds of child-proofing of one’s home and things ‘lazy’ because you don’t teach your kids ‘no’. Or how about pac-n-plays or safety gates used to cordon off a child for the majority of the day? (which i have seen as a babysitter) What may I ask is the difference between a harness and a strapped stroller? wouldn’t the ‘best’ thing be to hold your child’s hand? or not take them out in public? The leash thing seems most controversial to me because it’s new, but in olden days women used to tie toddlers wrists or clothes to their apron strings to keep them near but free-handed. I completely agree that it’s a tool that can be abused, but so can a stroller. (for instance, the kind that fit 2 or 3 kids, holding a toddler and a 5 year old, where would you draw the line?) and frankly, I am a VERY easily distracted person, through no fault or lack of effort to be better, and I would feel INFINITELY safer to keep a kinetic connection to my child. I am also very big about exploring the world, and learning by doing. So it would seem for this lazy parent that a harness would answer the need perfectly.

    Also, it would seem to be something of a cultural thing wouldn’t it? would you say people who walk/travel a lot and take their little dogs with them in purse/bag/carriers are lazy or excessive pet owners? something to think about…

  7. Autoclave says:

    Yikes! This is a hot button issue. But I generally agree with the posters above. There is no reason to think parents are being lazy by leashing their kids. The only way it’s lazy is if they are doing every single time they go outside. Once in a while? When the kid is hyper stimulated (yes, Disneyland will do this)? Yeah, I’d leash them in a heartbeat. And they also WILL grow out of bolting from you, so it’s not like the leash will need to be used for years on end. Of all the things we can judge people about (beatings, endangerment), caring enough to make certain your little kid can’t get away from you should not be one of them. P.S. People will rudely comment if you keep your rambunctious toddler locked in a stroller too. “Why don’t you let him out to walk that energy off?” “Um, because he will run away into the street?” There’s no winning, it seems.

  8. Meghan says:

    I bet you’d also be judgmental towards the parents with kids that run out into the street. Or the parents who put three-year-olds in strollers even though they can walk. Seriously, if children (by which I mean babies and toddlers) did everything their parents were teaching them to do, they would eat all of their meals neatly without making a mess, they’d poop on the potty the first time, and they would never, ever get into anything at home that didn’t belong to them. A three-year-old is not a Marine. He will test every limit he is given. Apparently trying to curb the dangerous behavior of toddlers is now lazy.

  9. Bunnytwenty says:

    This is also a classic case of projecting our own feelings onto a kid. We would feel degraded if we were leashed; a small child doesn’t understand the role of a dog in society so he doesn’t know or care about the implications. Heck, kids like to pretend to be doggies! It’s an easy way to keep children safe that’s only uncommon because people like to get judgey.

  10. ErinBehan says:

    Maybe I have faith in children not running into the street because I live in an urban environment where children do not run in the street. They are in strollers, they hold the side of a stroller as their parents walk younger children, parents hold their hand, and they learn to stop at the corner. It is a very early and important lesson every city-dweller drills into their kid. And I’ve never seen a leashed kid in New York (although I’m sure it does happen). Does it scare me a little when my almost 3-year-old rides his scooter to the end of the street? Sure. But he knows to stop. And he does. Every time. Because he knows what happens if he doesn’t. I can see how if you didn’t have this daily (probably thrice daily) experience of walking the streets, being in a park next to a busy intersection, etc., that the idea of a kid running into a street would be scary. But what I see every day is that with parental or caregiver involvement, even early walkers quickly learn that sidewalks are for walking and streets are for cars. Perhaps I’m just overly optimistic.

  11. Meghan says:

    I disagree with you on this.. I used to work in the city and I commuted in from Brooklyn with a WILD 2.5 year old.. so wild that I thought she would bolt out onto the subway tracks.. when I became pregnant I no longer wanted to carry her stroller down the stairs, so I got her a kid leash.. that thing was a life saver.. literally, She was an avid hand twister till her wrist popped while you were holding her hand.

    I never needed one with my second daughter, she has always been calm and easy, but my third, a wild boy, when I have the other two in tow.. and we are waiting at the school or something, the kid leash really makes it easier, so I don’t have to keep chasing him into the bus loop..

    I guess I just do not care what others think, any tool to make things a little easier with a super wild toddler is a great idea imo.. I have put up with my fair share of mean comments from strangers for it, but oh well, not my problem.

  12. Joanna says:

    You are clearly not the only judgmental mommy out there, but you are in the minority based on the comments that crop up every time this issue gets trotted out. (check out the comments on the Motherlode post, for example)

    I really, really don’t understand why some people get up in arms over this. A harness is a tool, and like any tool, it can be used well or used inappropriately. It is not inherently demeaning to the child. It is to help keep the child safe. And yes, hello, your toddler is very much like a dog: They both eat things they find on the floor. They both follow simple commands, but not always reliably. The toddler gets ‘put in a crate’ at night to sleep, just like many dogs.

    We have a harness backpack, although we don’t use it much. My daughter adores and wears it around the house for fun. Some places where harnesses can be indespensible: at an airport, where you have to keep track of your toddler and your luggage; at a zoo or amusement park, where your toddler might not hear you when you yell ‘stop!’; going for a walk around the block in the neighborhood (have you ever tried holding your arm above your head for 15 minutes? that hurts!)

    Sure, you can always just keep a kid in a stroller. But that doesn’t let them explore the world or get any exercise. There is nothing all that ‘humane’ about a stroller compared to a leash. They are just different kinds of harnesses. If we wheeled our dogs around in buggies more often, people would be screaming about using them for babies. It’s a matter of perspective, and I wish more parents would try to broaden theirs rather than making snap, judgey comments.

  13. Bonnie says:

    I don’t understand how putting them in a stroller is better than leashing them, especially if the argument against leashing is that you should be able to control your child without one

  14. kellyhere says:

    This kind of categorical dismissal of all parents who make a certain choice is very alienating, and it’s the kind of thing you do if you’re looking for a fight.

    If you take a moment think about what it’s like to walk a mile in another mom’s shoes, you might realize that some people might have some excellent reasons for making those choices. Those reasons might not be immediately apparent to you! But that doesn’t mean that everyone who makes that choice is some kind of dumb, lazy idiot.

  15. Megan says:

    My parents used a harness on me as a kid and I can assure you that I never felt like a dog and I certainly don’t think my parents were lazy! Having me on a harness gave my mom a sense of relief that I wasn’t going to wander off and get snatched! She only used it in crowded places like the mall or theme parks. I know that I won’t even think twice about using one on my child once he’s here and old enough to toddle off! This post reeks of judgement and the reasoning behind it is ridiculous! Don’t we have to worry enough about our choices as parents? As long as my child’s safety and well being is not in jeopardy, who are you or anyone else to judge?

  16. Emily says:

    Bonnie took the words right out of my mouth. How is a stroller better than a leash if your reasoning against a leash is that you should control your child, not use a device to do so?

  17. Jan says:

    This is ridiculous…keeping your toddler safe from injury or death seems far more productive than worrying about some people who might be viewing you as “lazy”. If a leash allows the child and parent/caregiver to have a fun, healthy outing, then I say do it!! Having a leash on might just be the right tool to help teach the child to stay close to the adult.

  18. Jessica Geenen says:

    Now here we go… but, I agree. There is no excuse for a leash… yes, in my eyes you are lazy. Sorry, but whenever I see one of them kids on a leash there is 99.9% some obese Mother or Father on the other end of the leash with a very low I.Q. Every time I read about stuff like this I believe my Grandfathers Mother must have been Wonder Women… nine kids, no leash and a Farm. WOW… the answer is, people are lazy… very lazy. Wonder what people of the past day would call it ? Evolution ?
    I have awesome pics of mothers who have their three kids on one leash… while she sits in a FastFat Restaurant… one on a ticket counter and the kids laying on the floor with leashes…. so, I challenge you to tell me any reason for healthy parents to put a kid on a leash other then being lazy. And yes, I write lazy because I have a child too and I never needed a leash. And personally I do not know one mother who needs a leash. And the ones I see give me straight up a answer by how they act and treat their kids. Welcome to lazy America. By the way… that’s the first time I saw this laziness.
    Like I said… wonder what older Generations think about… but my Grandma is 80 years old and she also thinks it’s pure laziness.

  19. NoAdditives says:

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a harness on a toddler. When my daughter was learning to walk my husband and I were confident that she’d need one. Fortunately, she loves behaving well in public and hasn’t needed one, though now that she’s walking on her own more and her brother is the one riding in the shopping cart, umbrella stroller, etc. there are times I wouldn’t mind having one. Especially when my husband is the one “watching” her and she’s 5-10 feet behind him, around the corner, or otherwise out of my sight. To know that she was attached to my husband would give me peace of mind at the zoo, aquarium, grocery store…

  20. Liz Ann says:

    I agree with most previous posters that the critical attitude toward those who use child harnesses is pretty odd. How are strollers any better? At least a kid is being given an opportunity to be more active if they are harnessed.

    And what about a child with special needs?! Special circumstances are not always evident at a glance, but it takes only a glance for us to judge and be critical of parents that do things we would probably not consider doing.

    These parents aren’t being abusive, neglectful, mean, degrading, harsh, passive, or even overbearing. They are being protective in the way they deem most appropriate for their family, even if it seems a little over the top to some of us.

  21. Jessie says:

    Erin and Jessica- Maybe you should revisit this post when you have more than one child. Whether or not you use a harness, you may actually see the non-lazy purpose of it.

  22. Megan says:

    You know Erin, you could at least have the humility to own that you’re being judgmental (not to mention rude and offensive to parents of children with special needs) and apologize. It’s one thing to have an opinion to blog about, it’s another thing to put people down who are just trying to keep their kids safe. If you don’t want to use a harness on your child, then that’s your prerogative. You don’t need to be so rude and call those parents “lazy.”

    Also, @Jessica, child harnesses are used in other countries, too, not just the US. This is not just “lazy America.” Your grandmother was lucky she didn’t have to take her 9 kids to a mall or to Disney without any help. Not all children are the same and just because your experience is different, that doesn’t make everyone else fat and lazy.

  23. Mallery says:

    I think this article is a bit close minded.

  24. Momoftwo says:

    Erin, I live in New York City too and I have seen kids in harnesses here. I have seen them happy in a harness and I have also seen them screaming to get out of a stroller; which one would I rather choose, were I to need to choose? The happy child, every single time. I have also seen a hysterical mom whose twenty month old escaped her hand and in a flash, ran out into the street where he was almost hit by a car. He was lucky. How about this – as long as the toddler is both protected and happy, be it in the stroller or in a harness or holding onto a hand, you and your ilk keep the judgmental snideness to yourself? The next time you see a 3 or 4 year old on a leash, you can be as judgmental as you want, so long as you know for a fact that he or she doesn’t have developmental delays. Otherwise, don’t worry – someone will be sure to judge you for keeping your kid in a movable prison – oops, I meant stroller, which as far as I can see is more restrictive than a harness.

  25. Courtney says:

    I used a leash in a crowd once. Hand-holding was working perfectly well, but I felt more at ease with my back-up contraption. Since I am very much not a lazy parent, I understand that little brains aren’t fully developed, and sometimes these obedience lessons don’t sink in on the first, second, or tenth try. So perhaps we lazy parents need to take that extra step while we’re in the middle of the teaching process? I wasn’t willing to test the waters in the middle of a crowd of strangers.

  26. Jennifer says:

    I completely disagree with Erin. I will use a harness when the time calls for it. No, i won’t use it every time we go out but i will use it. Am i lazy and fat, the opposite actually. I am a protective mother who puts her child’s saftey ahead of other peoples opinion!

  27. LK says:

    This post is so judgmental and ridiculous. I’m with the people who question how you decided that a stroller is acceptable but a leash isn’t – because of some superficial association that leashes are for dogs and strollers are for babies? So stupid. If I were an active toddler, I would much prefer the ability to move around and explore within a certain radius rather than being strapped down. You are making a completely arbitrary distinction and basing your holier-than-thou attitude on it. Judgmental moms like you give the rest of us a bad name.

  28. TiffanyinSF says:

    I’m with the other commenters. I know that people get judgmental around this issue but I can’t for the life of me figure out why. Of all the things to be critical of, this has no place on the list. A harness has a perfectly legitimate function! I can only imagine that the people who are so against it simply have no experience with the type of child or situation that it would be appropriate for. (Although, contrary to your beliefs, this has nothing to do with your parenting prowess and the laziness of others.)

  29. Kristen says:

    Wow, I didn’t know my 70something mom was being lazy when she’d harness my 2 year old when she would take him to a crowded place. I thought she was worried about losing him since she can’t move quickly anymore while she gave me time alone with my newborn twins. Huh

  30. EmGabs says:

    I completely agree with this post and would NEVER stick my child in a harness on a leash. What happened to holding their hand? They are still free to walk and not strapped in a stoller. How would you feel as an adult being put on a leash? I think it’s demeaning, especially when I see those parents that are lazy and have their kids all leashed up and don’t pay attention to them, so the poor child is practically being dragged around or keeps stumbling and falling because they aren’t keeping the same pace as the parent.

  31. kristina says:

    I have used one… I have a 3 year old that doesnt fit in the umbrella strollers

    he has epilepsy and autism… I use the teddy bear backpack looking one that is sold at walmart.

    I also saw a comment about using strollers here… I use a double when i have to with my 3 year old and 2 year old… after a seizure the 3 year old cannot walk..

    and what about daycares that link em together with those circle things? how is that any different?


  32. jen says:

    YEAH! I am so glad someone else feels like I do. THEY ARE LAZY. I have two children. Both full of energy and TAUGHT to stay with me. If your 70 year old Mother can’t contain your child…maybe she is to old to have him by herself. Leashing your child because they have a disability doesn’t fly with me either. Your child isn’t the first with a disability…and MILLIONS of parents with disabled children have NEVER leashed their child. As for being called Judgmental…it’s an opinion. But the next time your in the mall…and you have your CHILD on a rope designed for a DOG…I’m the one starring…and giving you the dirty look.

  33. Jennifer H. says:

    Wow, yea, you apparently never have tried to wrangle a child like my little brother. He wouldn’t just refuse a stroller, he would get himself out of it. He ADORED bolting off in stores and hiding under the racks, where he would NOT make a peep. All it took was turning to grab something off a shelf and that child was GONE. Two sets of eyes on him and he’d still wiggle away on some trips. He was a headstrong, fearless child with no care about disobedience.
    No amount of discipline would correct that child. What was my mother to do, never go buy groceries? I was glued to his side whenever we went out and he would still get away sometimes.
    So, she used a child wrist lead. My brother was NEVER dragged or ignored, but he was attached to my or my mother’s wrist.
    So yea… until you’ve dealt with a child like this, then you need not judge. I have a “harness” for my son, if we ever need it. It’s a monkey backpack that just happens to have a lead on the back if needed.

  34. LK says:

    So you think it’s more comfortable for, say, an 18-month-old or a 2-year-old to walk around with their arm sticking straight up over their head for extended periods of time? Put yourself in their position. This debate is ridiculous!!

  35. kat says:

    If leashing my active toddler for a cross-country trip including 2 long layovers while in my 2nd trimester of pregnancy makes me lazy, then so be it. Judge away. You try and run with raging sciatic pain and a watermelon in your belly.

  36. Jessica says:

    WOW! Can we say rude and ignorant? I bet you are “OH so perfect”. I bet your child can “do no wrong” or have the “it wasnt my child” attitude. Give me a break! I used one a few times when my daughter was younger and she loved it! Shes 7 and still has her little monkey backpack! If she hated it that bad I would have NEVER used it! Atleast they are getting exercise and atleast they are SAFE! They’re not squirming to get out of the stroller (which is MORE of a prison!) or feeling “left out” of the action around them and they are free to run as far ahead as the harness lets them which GIVES them their sense of freedom! There is a right way and a wrong way to use them! And as far as being lazy, if people were “so lazy” then they wouldn’t be walking around crowded areas with their kids or taking them out to enjoy the day! They’d be sitting home and avoiding it as much as possible! And yes! Especially in DISNEY! Even if you have the most well behaved kid in the world, what is the problem with not taking that chance of them being snatched or overtaken by the crowd thousands of miles away from home! “Lets sit here and gripe about people taking an extra step to keep there kids safe.” This is ridiculous and infuriating!

  37. Momoftwo says:

    That’s okay, Jen – I’m sure other moms have a LOT to judge you for. Like your trollish attitude. Glad I don’t know you!

  38. Tom says:

    How do you, as a parent of 1, get off telling people who are parents of 3 or 4 that keeping them leashed is a bad thing? It’s easy to chase after yours, not so much to chase after my twins +1.

  39. WTF says:

    What?! You obviously don’t have twins. What a rude, judgmental attitude you have. I could say a lot more but I am not even going to go there.

  40. Sheila says:

    I dare someone to call me a lazy parent. I am 26 a parent of a 2 year old and very fit and involved with my child. I have used a leash about 2 times at an amusement park that was PACKED. My child is very good at listening to me and staying close by but it only takes a second for a small child to loose track of their parent when it is very crowded or even a second for someone to snatch them. I will do what it takes to keep my child safe when I feel the need to do so. There is only one persons who judgement matters to me and I can assure you it’s not yours. Shame on you for judging another mother who is only trying their best with out walking a day in their shoes. I promise if you saw me out in public with a leash on my child the last thing you would think is lazy!

  41. Judy says:

    Harnesses (or “leashes” as you call them) are for lazy parents? That’s funny, because I think the same thing about umbrella strollers. Letting a toddler move under their own steam takes way more patience and effort than strapping them to a set of wheels.

    You clearly never had a toddler who was a darter. Like all things parenting, try to accept that right for you isn’t necessarily “right”.

    BTW, the dog leash analogy makes about as much sense as saying cribs are like cages, so parents who use them are treating their kids like animals. The similarities are superficial, and you’re clearly intelligent enough to reason the difference.

  42. Mom of 3 says:

    Honestly, I find this so offensive that I think Babble should remove the post. This writer obviously has no clue.

  43. Zarah Axelrod says:

    In the blink of an eye my toddler can run far enough and fast enough to say-run out in front of a car in a parking lot that can’t see him because he is so short. I would never risk his life because someone would judge me. I use a harness/leash whenever he wants to walk around with me in a public setting and I want to make sure he stays out of dangers way. I’m not lazy, I’m safety conscious. Ask me about the toddler I know who got run over and his head exploded onto concrete…and then ask my why I believe leashed are awesome.

  44. Jane Roper says:

    I have twins, and I honestly wish that we had used “leashes” with them out in crowded places when they were toddlers. I think I’d have fewer wrinkles if we had.

  45. Michelle says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize there were so many in favor! In our case, I have 4 kids. We have to cross a busy street to get to school. One day my then 3yo son was 2 inches away from a 40+ mph car, while I was behind a stroller unable to grab him (he wasn’t listening to my words). I have often thought of what would’ve happened if he was a few inches further in. We, from then on, used a harness while crossing the street.

  46. Lora says:

    Wow so many critics out there. I am from Italy
    and in Europe the harness is not at all frowned upon.
    In fact, Its very common with toddlers wanting
    to explore & get some exercise. I live in a
    very big busy city & hey… It works for me.
    My toddler loves it & so do I.
    How can it be for lazy parents? It takes more
    effort walking along your toddler at their pace
    & explaining to’ them what they point at,
    laugh at. Keeps me alert, baby fit. What ever
    works for each parent is a personal choice.
    And really, why do people care? Worry about
    your own motherhood techniques.

  47. Alicia says:

    It must be great sitting up on your throne, passing judgement on parents who have kids different from your own and who parent differently because *gasp* they’re different from you. So you have all of the answers, huh? So tell me, oh parenting guru, what was I supposed to do when my son learned how to run before walking? Because he literally took his first steps at a sprint in a circle around our living room. What was I suppose to do to try and keep him safe when he would sprint off towards the street and me losing a grip on his hand? Hang on tight enough to dislocate his elbow? Carry him as he struggled to get from my arms to the point he would throw his body weight backwards? Tie him to a stroller as he screamed? Or put him in a lease so he could refine his walking skill and explore the world *and* I could keep him safe from his sudden sprints?

    I have to be honest and say that I didn’t get past the point where I was called lazy, and that’s rare for me since I like to read other points of view. But I *will not* tolerate from random person to judge me and other parents as lazy for using something to help keep our children safe. Which child leases do. Yes, some parents go overboard with it like people can go overboard with anything, but the majority use it for a specific time in their kid’s development to help them be good parents. It is as asinine as saying using a pack and play for your child is lazy, and just as stupid. No, no, actually it’s simple ignorance. Just because *you* didn’t want or need a child leash doesn’t make everyone else who does lazy. What about walking in a person’s shoes before passing such immature judgement? Or is that beyond your capabilities? Oh, wait, that’s just laziness.

  48. Alicia says:

    And are you even going to try and address everyone who has answered your blog, or hide behind your smugness?

  49. Alicia says:

    Oh, nevermind, I see that you’re part of the “strapping kids to strollers forever” camp and/or endorsed by a stroller company. Gotcha.

  50. Francine says:

    I think the writer’s assertion is slightly judgmental, maybe even in jest, but what is most shocking is the cantankerous chorus that has followed. Obviously some folks have taken some crap for leashing their kids, and only seek to flog this blogger like band of rabid villagers with random farm implements. Yikes folks, chill!

  51. vanessa says:

    The first time I decided to take my 20month oldtwins out without their stroller, which is an example of not choosing the “easy,lazy” way, and despite my practicing holding hands in our house prior to the trip, one of my boys’ broke my grip and ran into the path of a car in a parking lot.Yes, they are guardian angels, the car was going so slow he stopped. He couldn’t prevent hitting him entirely, but my son was not hurt. Guess what? He still bolts. I hold their hands, but keep the leash looped around my wrist as a back-up. As for those who think I’m lazy, my kids never watch tv, I make their food from scratch, and I constantly engage in interactive play. And it doesn’t make me a better parent than anyone else, we all have our “it’s not what I would like” choices so we can make it through our kids childhood.

  52. Zdravko says:

    Oh for Christ’s sake. Why is it that some people feel the need to evaluate and judge every single little decision other women make for their children–from how they feed them to where they sleep to how they protect them when they’re out for walks? I’ve often thought that if men did most of the child rearing in the world, the work of childrearing would not be subject to this extreme level of policing. I find it seriously weird that you not only took the time to formulate an opinion about whether people you don’t know use a harness or a stroller for their children–children you also don’t know–but then you felt the need to write six paragraphs on the subject. We’re all on the edges of our seats to find out where you’ll come down on sippy cups vs. juice boxes or fish sticks vs. fish patties.

  53. Lee says:

    Erin, you should be aware that in New York City child pedestrians hit by motor vehicles is the leading cause of transportation related accidental death of children between one and twelve years of age. Last year 84 children were hit and killed by motor vehicles while pedestrians on New York City streets.

  54. Linda says:

    I can’t read all the comments but I see most are putting this lady in her place! First off, don’t judge other parents. My son is now 31 years old and is probably alive or not severely damaged because I DID choose to put him on a leash. Because I was lazy? NO! Because I had a ADHD child, that I was trying to teach to walk and behave, not be strapped in a stroller all of his young life. Have any idea what it’s like to be on the UP escalator and see your 4 year old on the DOWN escalator? It can happen in the blink of an eye with an ADHD child………… and he’s now an ADD MAN!

    You’ve got a lot of nerve, lady.

  55. Rebecca says:

    You know what? I’d rather be a “lazy parent” than the mother of a horrifically injured (or God forbid worse) child. I used to think it was bad to “leash” a kid, too, until I was blessed with a bolter. You try and tell a 2 year old to stand by your side. Erin, I hope your next one is just as perfect as your first apparently is.

  56. MF says:

    I’d rather be a lazy parent than a judgemental one like you. Worry about your own parenting and leave everyone else alone. It’s people like you that make the job of being a mommy way harder than it needs to be.

  57. Jenna says:

    It is unbeliveable how judgemental this author is! No, I have never “leashed” my children. You have NO right to call a parent lazy or any other name for that matter until YOU have walked a day in their shoes! Every child is different and their parent knows the best way to care for them and their needs. I find it shocking the you are a parent.

  58. Leanne says:

    When my son, 2 and proudly walking to the neighbourhood store with his brother and I, ran out the store door before I could reach for his hand, after grabbing my bag of milk and pocketing my change, and ran straight into rush hour traffic and causing a SUV to swerve completely into oncoming traffic, after screaming so loudly and shrilling, flinging my bag away and sprinting faster than I thought I could, but still not fast enough, as time slowed and I thought I may throw up, watching him turn laughing and having absolutely no idea why I was screaming and running while he revelled in the freedom of running full tilt, I managed to snatch him before another car came blithely driving along at the posted speed limit, I changed my mind forever about how stupid/barbaric/lazy or whatever you or anyone else might think child leashes were. I cried and shook for an hour after that incident, realising how easy it was to lose a child despite our best attention in normal circumstances. I feel sick to my stomach now, almost 2 years later thinking about how I might have had to bury that normally very obedient boy whose hand I was holding right up until I had to grab a bag and put my money away at the same time, releasing it for seconds never thinking he would bolt out the door and then out onto the street.

    So, call me lazy all you want. I have a boy who lives still and got the chance to walk and enjoy the world, even with his leashed backpack.

  59. Diera says:

    You know, we do lots of things with toddlers that an adult would find demeaning. I would find it demeaning to be put on a restraining leash; I would also find it demeaning to be strapped into a stroller against my will, I would find it demeaning for someone else to choose my food for me (let alone cut it up for me!), I would find it demeaning to have someone wipe my butt for me, etc. Toddlers sometimes require restraint, and they honestly don’t spend a lot of time worrying about their image. Why is it demeaning to use a harness but not to strap them against their will to a chair or to grip their hands tightly when they try to get away? Don’t we also train dogs to obey simple voice command like “No!” and “Stop!”? Why isn’t it demeaning therefore to use simple voice commands on toddlers? You do what works. It’s not harmful. What’s the problem?

  60. Gina says:

    In what universe is it easier to walk a child in a harness than to push one in a stroller? When a child is in a harness you have to keep up with them. How does being able to keep up with a toddler who is wearing a harness make you lazier than pushing one around in a stroller? Did a stroller company pay you to write this?

  61. Jen says:

    It is a riot to me that those in favor of child leashes can be so passionate about it…but those of us who don’t agree with them can’t be. We are ALL intitiled to our own opinions. And yes… I may judge those who use child leashes…and you may judge how much sugar my kid eats…or how much TV they watch…but don’t fool your self for one second Momoftwo, you don’t agree with what every other parent out here is doing either…you can be thrilled that you don’t know me…but you aren’t better than me either.

  62. Valerie says:

    I agree with Gina. It’s more work with the leash! I actually switched to a wrist strap but we hold hands most of the time. We also live in the city and It makes me feel better knowing my 2 year old son cannot break free from me. Sure I sometimes take the maclaren (depending on how much walking we will be doing) with me but, we still have to get on and off the bus. I walk at least a couple miles a day. I’m not lazy and I’m trying to make sure my son stays active also. Otherwise, I’d just let him ride in the stroller all of the time. If we are headed to the park or just neighborhood sidewalks I let him take his bike or scooter and jog next to him. It’s the really busy streets that worry me.

  63. Monica says:

    I see this lady is having a child in September and I really hope this child is as energetic as mine is. Having an energetic toddler that is hard to control in public and wants to be EVERYWHERE is not an easy job. I don’t have a harness but I was thinking about getting one. And while we are being judgemental, I don’t like your bangs! lol

  64. A says:

    HOODIES are THE best invention for toddlers! Keep your kids safe with no judgement ;)

  65. Elexis says:

    How are you going to call the rest of us lazy? Even if you have the most well behaved kid they still might see something n be like Ooh i gotta go check it out. When i was little i took off in a store n someone tried to steal me before my mom could find me. were you calling her lazy for putting a leash on me because she fear someone stealing her only daughter or that i might run infront of a car? My son is only 3 months but when hes able to walk on a leash he goes. n you know what i consider my dogs my kids so whats best for my kids is good for my pets. are you going to say those of us that would spank are kids are abusive? im sorry if my child does something that deserves getting his but wooped than its gonna happen thats how i was raised. the ones that are told no n sat in a corner start stealing n shooting each other those of us who were leashed or actually got beat a time or 2 came out just fine

  66. Christine says:

    We have a backpack harness for our 2 year old son. We bought it after he escaped from his umbrella stroller at the aquarium. And you know what? Harnesses/leashes/whatever are far *MORE* work that pushing your kid along in a stroller! You’re bobbing and weaving right along with your little one, exploring everything and going non-stop! It also means he gets way more exercise than the kids cooped up in strollers.

    How you can say it’s LAZY parents who use them is beyond me.

  67. Heather says:

    Ok, I’m going to play the “I’m the mother of a dead child” card here. I will do ANYTHING to prevent burying another child and I don’t care what anyone has to say about it. At first, I was all about keeping her in the stroller until I realized what little exercise she was getting and how bored she was. I have used a leash on my 3 year old daughter – airports being the main time we use them. I do highly resent being called lazy for leashing – I am one fit, sexy mom (you’d never know I had 2 kids with my rockin abs!) who is pregnant with baby #3. As this pregnancy gets further along, I have to be very careful as I have issues with Pre-Term Labor. A leash will be of great use in the coming months when I am not physically able to chase my 3 old like I’d be able to in my not pregnant state.

    If I were to ever go to Disney or another extremely crazy busy place, heck yes, she will have a leash on or will be in a stroller. There will be no freedom for a toddler incapable of making consequential life/death decisions. She can barely pronounce our last name so how could I ever expect her or anyone else to be able to find me if we were separated? It’s my job as her parent to keep her safe and if a leash is my added safety net, how is that different than a stroller or carrying your toddler (which I have also used)?

    She loves her backpack leash and will even ask for it! She still holds my hand and the leash is a backup. We frequent our local zoo often and only go at times the crowds aren’t there, so I’ll let her hold my hand or walk next to me without a backpack or a stroller, she will wiggle/twist out of my hands and bolt if she sees something.

    We live in a private rural lake community where there are no sidewalks, only paved 1 and a half lane wide roads so how do you teach a toddler that has to walk on a roadway where she lives that you can’t walk on a roadway somewhere else?

    I’ve also been to NYC and have seen PLENTY of kids on leashes or being worn by their parents in carriers. Strollers are what you don’t see a lot of! It’s hard to maneuver through the streets, the curbs, the subway, the stores, and the millions of people with a stroller.

    As for someone who commented her grandmother had 9 kids and never used a leash and lived on a FARM – hello, she lived on a farm! They weren’t out in crowds or running into heavy traffic. Plus, with 9 kids, you can be dang sure the older kids helped with the younger kids.

    Leashes are not new, so I don’t understand the controversy. Back before there were the handy wrist straps with the phone like cords or harnesses, they used shoelaces or apron ties. Also keep in mind, back in those days, mothers rarely left their houses at all and if they did go on a trip somewhere, there weren’t millions of people visiting the Magic Kingdom on a daily basis (like there are now) where losing your kid can be only too easy.

    I will do everything in my power to keep my living child safe. I hope the naysayers never have to find out what it’s like to hold your dead child.

  68. Momoftwo says:

    Never said I was better than anyone, Jen! ;)

  69. Debbie says:

    Um, just a note. Most Americans do regularly ‘crate’ their infants. It’s called a crib. We co-slept with my son for the first 6 months and then switched him over to a crib, so I am both pro-co-sleeping and pro-crib, but let’s face it and call cribs what they really are: baby cages. This might sound negative, but for a lot of babies, it’s for their own safety (strollers are just baby cages on wheels). If infants (not toddlers) were known to easily climb out of their cribs you betcha they would have barred tops on them also. My point is, leashes can sometimes be for a childs own safety. Of course you need to teach them to listen and obey, but it’s a learning process during which they will make mistakes and heaven help you if one of those mistakes leads them into the street in front of a car. Parents aren’t perfect toddler holders/catchers and they shouldn’t be expected to be. And there are just times when moms and kids need breaks from saying or hearing no. And sometimes you just want to shop or explore in peace. It doesn’t mean you aren’t teaching your children to listen and obey, it just means that nosey strangers see you walking with your child on a leash once and judgmentally infer that you do it all the time.

    You try sleeping in a crib for a night and tell me if you feel like a caged animal. You would. But would that make you want to stop putting your baby in one for naps or bedtime? For about 99% of the population, I doubt it. Sometimes I joke that in my house there isn’t much difference between cat toys and baby toys. Animals and kids have a lot in common, just face it.

    Seriously babble, do you screen your posters at all or do you just enjoy causing a stir? And has this lady ever even had a toddler?

  70. Momoftwo says:

    Great point on the “cage”/crib, Debbie! Seriously, the whole issue reminds me of the movie Here We Go, when the main characters visit a friend who doesn’t have a stroller, and gets all vehement and judgmental when they ask her why, saying “I love my babies. Why would I want to PUSH them away from me?” Maggie Gyllenhaal does an excellent job. I don’t use a harness on my kids, although I do use a stroller, but I darn well am not going to start judging people who do use them, because like someone said, I’m not better than anyone else! Why would I pretend I’m so much better than other people and call them lazy for something that ultimately is my perception? The use of a tool, be it harness, stroller, or whatever, does not automatically equal lazy parenting. LAZY PARENTS equal lazy parenting. And whose to say the person I judge to be a lazy parent isn’t just a completely exhausted parent, or one who has been dealing with a horrible emotional trauma, etc. etc.? I may not be a perfect parent (and I wouldn’t want to meet one), but I certainly can look at others with a modicum of kindness and the benefit of the doubt instead of automatically going to the “bad,” “lazy,” etc. parenting. And it’s certainly harder work to be a kind person than a judgmental one these days.

  71. hannah says:

    lol obviously from some of these examples there are plenty of lazy, unthoughtful, abusive parents out there. however, it doesn’t seem to hinge on whether you use a harness/leash or not. It’s a tool like any other, can be abused like any other, and is not the only option, like any other. Why must we condemn so harshly those who have a different method?

  72. ZA says:

    @ELEXIS Studies actually show the opposite–children that are punished using spanking, hitting and violence are more likely to end up in jail or end up in an abusive relationship as an adult. Violence begets violence. Using your words to teach your children right from wrong is much more powerful.

  73. Jane says:

    I used a harness for all three of my children at times because I wanted happy and comfortable children who were free to roam and explore within safe parameters. We rarely used it, but is was an amazingly useful tool to reinforce boundries without having to constantly verbally remind the child and without physically restraining them the way holding their hand or keeping them in a stroller would.

    I challenge any adult who finds a leash “cruel and demeaning” to walk around for 10 minutes with their arm held over their head to simulate holding a grown-ups hand. I’ll bet your arm gets pained and tired and that you feel pretty cranky. Why would you wish that on a child?

  74. Natalia says:

    What I find most objectionable is calling other parents “lazy”. Making that kind of judgment is the problem. We all have different children – some that like to stay by our side, some that like to explore, some that like to listen, and well, some that are two years old…and don’t. How about we mind our own business and let everyone make decisions that work for their child and their family?!

  75. Jane Roper says:

    Just blogged about this post over at Baby Squared:

  76. CS says:

    First: this is the nastiest, most judgmental post I have ever read on babble. What an awful thing to write! It’s disappointing that babble doesn’t make more of an effort to be sensitive about what their writers publish. In fact, I think babble encourages this kind of “controversial” post because it gets more page views and click throughs. I never used a harness with my daughter, but after she got away from me one time and stepped into the street, I certainly see why a parent with more than one would. it happens that harnesses have a long history, and show up in European Renaissance paintings. They’ve been around for quite some time, as has baby wearing, which just happens to be very fashionable right now, and doesn’t have a social stigma. but honestly- there’s no excuse for this kind of thing.

  77. EG says:

    I totally want a leash for my 1-year-old! We have an umbrella stroller of course, but he wants to walk like his big brother. And he doesn’t want to hold my hand, because he’s asserting his independence. And I don’t always want him just sitting in the stroller when the rest of us are getting exercise, anyway. A harness is a perfect solution! He feels independent and big because he’s not holding a hand (and we’re not bent in half to hold that hand) but we’re in control and he can’t get far. Win-win.

  78. Diera says:

    Can someone who is anti-leash explain why leashes are ‘lazy’ but strollers aren’t?

  79. liz says:

    I was leashed, and I’m fine. I’m also fine with my mother’s choice to do so. My mother had me and my twin sisters within 18 months. She couldn’t afford child care. My dad worked two jobs. At the time, I preferred to run everywhere like a bat out of hell. I don’t fault my mother for leashing me any more than I fault myself for being two and wanting to run. Have three kids under two with no help – family help, paid help, or otherwise – and then be the one that has to shop for and feed your family. When you’ve walked that walk then I’ll think your opinion counts. Otherwise, be quiet.

  80. Michelle says:

    I used a “leash” on both of mine and they have turned out just fine…my daughter is 27 works for a bank and is expecting her first child in 4 wks., my son is 22 works on a farm has a steady girlfriend and isn’t in jail…the “leash” gave them a certain amount of freedom when we were out in public without letting them run wild…you do whatever you have to do to keep your kids safe…better on a “leash” than under a car, kidnapped, or floating in a pond, creek, river or ocean…get a grip people

  81. Tati says:

    Wow! The post and the comments are so interesting. I’m from Greece and noone would ever consider use leashes here – people would think that these parents are not only lazy, but very harsh, bad parents too. Only once have I seen a woman with a leash in Athens and people around her were freaked out and sent a policeman to her (she was German!)! I find it really interesting how different the culture of parenting in differnet societies/countries is. I never thought, for example, that in Italy, another mediterranean country, leashes are considered ok. For the record, I have 3-year-old twins and of course it’s sometimes difficult, but impossible??? No way. I don’t use a stroller since they were 2 either. I would never consider judging another parent, but in my opinion (and it’s just my opinion), it is kind of lazy. In my experience, teaching and trusting your children takes a little time and effort at the beginning, but it’ s really worth it in the long run.

  82. Jenna says:

    A lot of things that are commonly accepted parenting strategies in this country are demeaning to children… this is just one of the many.

  83. Chantelle says:

    Newly entering my son’s “terrible twos” I have yet to envision myself in need of a leash and doubt I will find myself making use of one. I try my best to interact with my toddler in the same manner I do any other relationship I maintain with another human being; with communication. Sometimes additional reminders are necessary, and yes, there is hand holding, but I voice the reasons WHY it is necessary for him to stay at my side.

    I do find myself judging others who I feel are misusing a leash (IE: dragging a child mid temper tantrum), but can see the practicality in others need/necessity in the item. Especially in instances with older or disabled individuals.

    Every single mother is entitled to make decisions that they feel best benefit their child/children’s safety, well being, and development. We do it or DON’T do it out of love.

  84. johanna says:

    When my family lived outside of Boston, my mom used a leash for my younger when we took the T into town, although she always held my sister’s hand as well. She used it specifically as and extra protection against separation on busy public transportation. As with so many things, I think this is a question of content and intention.

  85. PrincessJenn says:

    When you see my child walking through the mall with a backpack leash on, please don’t assume it’s because I’m a lazy parent who can’t control my toddler. Exactly the opposite. But to hold our hands in a mall setting is too overstimulating. The sights, sounds, lights plus the added sensation of touch is too much. So we use the leash instead. The clasps on the backpack that go across her chest and hold it tight to her back, also act as a compression which helps calm and focus her. It is a solution she ASKS for, so I fail to see how it makes me a bad parent.
    I challenge the writer to walk one day in my shoes as the parent of a special needs child. We live in a reality very different from yours.

  86. Bil Simser says:

    You obviously have never had or been with a child with special needs. Our daughter has an absent septum pellucidum and a malformed corpus callosum. In layman terms she has mild autism, sensory processing disorder, and developmental delays. She has the inability to respond to recall. You know when you call your child to stop or turn around or not run into traffic and get killed? Ours doesn’t have that ability. Her brain hears “Stop” and immediately responds with “Go”. In addition to this while she totally knows her name, screaming it out in a crowd has no effect. I dread the day we’re in a mall and someone comes up and takes her. She’ll just go along with it even though she knows it’s wrong to go with strangers. A leash is mandatory for her in public places, especially with a lot of people or things that run children over. Calling us lazy just paints everyone with a brush that tells me you need to think more about the different scenarios out there before you make rash statements like this.

  87. Amber says:

    I don’t know if I would call them lazy parents. I think they are going more the “always better to be safe than sorry” route. Personally I do not care for them. I think they look ridiculous and are just another hassle of training your kid with something then taking it away and starting over when they are older. I understand kids can be a little rowdy in public, but I prefer to discipline when it starts and not have to worry about it later. *****

    **** I am only speaking from the experience of a mother of a child without special needs and in no way speaking on the needs of raising a special needs child.

  88. snakecharmer says:

    Wow. Harsh and judgemental.
    My lovely, energetic and willful daughter is 17 months old. Of course we are teaching her to hold our hand in public and outside (she still twists away though and runs in any given direction…usually directly into danger). Of course we have her strapped in the stroller for long walks (which she finds boring and struggles to get out of). Of course we care to keep her safe. Do we use a harness? Sometimes. It’s just one item in an arsenal of tools as she learns (and this doesn’t happen overnight) about the dangers and why she can’t suddenly bolt into the street.
    I’d rather have a harnessed child and be called lazy by the judgmental judys out there than one in the hospital because she is unaware of the potential dangers (and a 17 month old is not the same as a 3 year old developmentally) or (heaven forbid) burying my child. I’m a healthy, fit woman and I certainly do my fair share of running after my kid. The harness is simply another tool to keep her safe in certain circumstances…same as baby latches on kitchen drawers (full of sharp knives) and baby gates at the top of stairs.

  89. Deidra23 says:

    This is ridiculous. There could be MANY reasons that child is on a harness/leash and i don’t know a single person that would do it out of laziness. Perhaps the child has a disabilty? Maybe the parent doesn’t move fast enough to catch the child if they dart.
    Judgemental people like this writer need to spend a day with a child with special needs in west edmonton mall and the parking lot and see how long it takes beforethey’re begging for a harness to help them keep that child safe.

  90. Sandra says:

    This post is so incredibly judgmental, even for Babble. When are we going to learn not to judge each other? I’m not a fan of “leashes” and don’t see myself using one, but I only have one child and I’m generally able to keep up with my 2-year-old sprinter or convince him to hold my hand most of the time. That said, I have COMMON SENSE and I know that my one child and ability to run after him is not representative of every single situation, so I don’t judge mothers or fathers who do things differently, or who have more than one child to watch at a time, or a particularly rambunctious child, or a child with developmental delays who may not quite understand the danger of venturing into the street, or who just don’t like to panic about junior running off every time they’re in a parking lot. It’s great that in the city where you live, the children are all magical and listen to your every word. The rest of us are all trying to do our very best in this parenting thing and these kinds of posts are just unhelpful.

  91. Cara in Exile says:

    Wow, I can’t believe the judgementalism of your post! I used to think things like that — before I had a child! Though I have never leashed my children it was very close with my older child, who just doesn’t listen. I suggested a leash for a friend who has a son with a developmental disability. No amount of training or telling can keep him from running off or getting into things he shouldn’t, and she has an infant to look after at the same time, so stickinghim in stroller wasn’t always an option. She did resort to leashing. The “leashing is lazy parenting” attitude reminds me of my father, who defended his anti-car-seat stance by saying that in the old days, of no seat belts and children becoming projectiles in accidents, “only the tough ones survived”. Congratulations to Erinbehan on having more complacent offspring than many of the rest of us.

  92. laura says:

    People really should mind there own business more.

  93. Eileen says:

    Interesting that you didn’t consider how the child feels about the “leash.”

    I haven’t yet leashed, but don’t see much of a difference between leashing and putting your child in a stroller…other than the child may prefer the leash. Even the best behaved tots don’t obey 100% of the time. Even a rare misbehavior could be devastating.

  94. Cheryl says:

    Read many of the comments and have to say- Before kids, I did think kid tethers looked funny BUT figured they had too much energy for a stroller and wanted to be more independent. Now, after having 2 kids who are 2.5 years apart, the monkey backpack with the clip-on tail for my 2-year-old has been a lifesaver in the airport and other crowded situations, not just to prevent separation but also to help reduce the risk of my child being the victim of opportunistic child-snatching. The backpack lets her be like her big sister while we practice staying close to Mommy. So, I agree with other commenters that like a stroller, like Pull-Ups, like verbal direction, a tether is another tool to use to guide and train for desired behavior (for safety, to practice courtesy in public places). Absolutely can be abus

  95. Cheryl says:

    (continued) Absolutely can be abused just like anything else and certainly is a good backup to verbal parenting while on the go.

  96. Heather says:

    I didn’t use a “leash” with my (now 7 yr old) daughter, but she happily rode in a stroller and is not a very willful child. My 2 yr old son; however, began walking at 10 months, and despises a stroller. He is *very* independent, and refuses to hold hands. I could certainly “force” him to hold my hand, and undermine his sense of self, and reinforce dependence instead of celebrating his independent nature. A harness allows him to walk independently and feel like a “big boy”. I certainly don’t use it as a “babysitter”, and don’t consider myself a “lazy” parent – especially considering he wears it while we’re…WALKING! A bit of an oxy moron to say that I’m lazy while I’m taking a walk with my children, isn’t it?? (Gasp! I’m actually intelligent, also! Hard to believe, I’m sure…) Quite honestly, the first sign of lack of intelligence I look for is blanket assumptions about complete strangers based solely on your perception of their reality.

  97. JACQUELYNN says:


  98. Kris says:

    How many children get their arms, wrists, shoulders, whatnot, pulled out of socket from a parent holding their hand above their head. What about when they trip and you end up yanking them up, which causes them discomfort. I leash for crowded places only, Other than that, its walking beside me, we don’t stroller either.

    Oh, and I don’t have a low IQ, either.

    When we went to Disneyland when Aiden was 4, we put a harness and leash on him. He didn’t care a bit, and I didn’t have to worry about him running off, and I really didn’t have to worry about becoming the screaming, angry mom at Disneyland. He would see something that drew his attention, and he would dash off. because I was holding his leash, I had no problem with him running, and I would just hold on and run with him. This way I never had to worry about losing him, and he had the freedom to run to things he wanted to see. One of my favorite memories is actually when he saw pluto for the first time and ran full tilt for him to say hi, get his autograph, and get his picture taken with him. We just ran along with him. Had he not been leashed, we would have gotten less enjoyment out of the trip, with all the worry about him taking off, or getting lost in the crowds, or anything else that can happen.

    We are getting ready to go to Disneyland again, and I bought brand new harnesses, mostly because I don’t know where the original one is. I bought one for Ciera(2) and Aiden, who will be 6 during our trip, we are going for his 6th birthday. We had him try on his harness the other day when it showed up, and it’s a jeep harness. he is actually excited about it. Yeah, he’s six and it’s probably overkill, but it’s one way to make sure that I don’t have to stress out, and as before, I will run behind whomever is running, and know that they are getting an awesome experience without us yelling at them for being excited.

  99. SuperMommyHeather says:

    Wow. How rude?! First of all, I’m fat,but im not lazy and thats not fair labeling people based on wait. I have almost 3 year old boy twins who are super rambunxious,wild and full of energy. Yes, it is my job as a parent to train them not to run off, but lets face it, it happens. Often. I don’t use a leash but I might, and guess what, that’s my choice. That doesn’t make me any less of a parent and who are you speak on behalf if my activity level? Do you know me? No. Have you had to chase two toddlers going in separate directions in a crowded place because they escaped from there stroller? How do you choose which cold is more important to go after? I plan on using a leash now because it seems more logical in my situation. A leash gives them the independence that they desire but with the safety that they need. That’s something that you can’t get from a stroller. I want my boys to be comfortable and safe. How dare you judge mommies who want nothing more than to protect the most precious things in their lives!

  100. Samantha says:

    Wow. I’m ashamed that some people are so quick to judge without knowing all the facts. A friend got me a backpack harness for my son this past Christmas, assuming he’d be walking soon. And when he does start walking, or worse, running, I’m going to have to use it out in public.

    I have several health problems, and the variety of medications I’ve been put on because of these problems have destroyed my previously active lifestyle. I’ve gained 85 pounds, I have heart problems, pulmonary problems, back and joint problems, and am unable to lift and carry objects more than 10 – 15 pounds. All because of a handful of medicines including prescribed steroids and beta blockers. If my condition gets worse, I could be confined to a wheelchair.

    I don’t see how this makes me a lazy parent. I also don’t see how my cousin using one for her autistic son makes her a lazy parent. As several others have said.. it is a tool. Obviously, there are instances where this tool is overused, but I generally see it being used for the safety and well being of the child. Isn’t that the important part?

  101. Christy says:

    You know, so many articles on this site are about supporting one another through motherhood and not being critical of people who do differently. I hated the magazine article and find this equally closed minded. I think it is ridiculous to blanket judge the masses when you know no individual cases. I personally had 25 month old twins when I had another set of twins. While I did use a quad stroller/ wagons/ etc for a while, there cane a point when my older set wanted to walk more. Now with young 2 year old boys and newborn twins in a stroller, I did occasionally resort to the backpacks that kept boys close to me. Is it lazy to take four kids 26 months and under to the zoo by myself? No, obviously not. I was faced with the choice of staying home or allowing my children experiences that are normal and fun for their age group. I chose to do it the safest and most fun way I knew how. Did I use it often? Of course not, just on the few occasions I was in a situation where I felt like harm would come to my toddlers if “stop” wasn’t fast enough. I am truly appalled that this kind of judgement is out there for something that in no way hurts the child and can make parenting less stressful to those who need help. How sad for you that you feel like the anonymity I’d the Internet allows you to harshly judge others in situations you cannot even imagine.

  102. zma says:

    Teaching your children how to act i public is moot when they are younger than 20 months. My daughter took off in a store full of adults. She disappeared from sight immediately. It took my husband and I three minutes to find her. Three minutes is an extremely long time in that situation. She was too young to even know she was lost.
    I got a leash and used it in those types of crowds until she was old enough to understand she needed to stay near me. And by-the-way I was never able to use a stroller at that age because she would scream bloody murder if I tried.
    That was a long time ago. My daughter is almost 3 and she has suffered no ill affects from the leash, the 4 or 5 times I used it. She has never been lost like that again.
    So shut the hell up.

  103. Heather Polum says:

    I have a very good friend who leashes her child – and for a good reason. He can and will bolt on her at any time even though he knows he shouldn’t. The leash, for her, is a back-up safety measure for her son. She keeps a constant watch on him, and also uses a stroller (WITH A BUCKLE!) to try to contain him. Problematically, he, like many 3 year olds, can unbuckle the stroller on his own.
    Yes, some parents DO use the leash as a substitute for good parenting. Others use it for their children’s safety, while they do their best to eliminate the reasons why they need it. Don’t be so judgemental!

  104. Megan says:

    I have a 19 month old and I broke down and got a leash a couple months ago. I do work with her on staying by my side but she’s only 19 months old and doesn’t completely understand. She prefers the leash to a stroller because it gives her more independence. I still hold her hand but the leash gives me some back-up protection because she is quick. I usually only use it in crowds and when I know I might be short on hands.

  105. Amy says:

    To Erin, Jessica Greenen, Emgabs, Jen, and Stacie: Making comments out of pure ingnorance is being plain stupid. Jessica, you are probably the most ignorant of them all. I’m not obese, my IQ is just fine (not low), and children don’t need a harness on a farm. I live on 52 acres with 3 children and 2 of which are special needs. I have never used a “harness” at home. This is not a leash nor does it go around a child’s neck like on a dog, nor is it a rope of any kind. If others have used one incorrectly, don’t judge others based on that. I’m far from lazy. I have only used one occasionally, and probably would have used one more if I lived in a large city, such as New York. And Stacie, you only have one special needs child. Try adding another one or a baby, then what would you have done? How is using a sling on your back to confine your child for long periods of time any better? When my youngest son, who also has many developmental disabilities, was a baby, his 3yr old brother, who also has many developmental delays, decided without warning to dart out of the salon after getting his hair cut while I was paying and had his little brother in the carrier in my arms. He crossed a major entrance into a shopping center from a major highway and into a bank parking lot before I could catch him. He has always been extremely fast. If I had had him on the harness this wouldn’t have happened. Luckily no cars were coming when he ran across. He never looked nor slowed down. The harness allows the child to explore and be up moving without being confined. There’s no difference in using this device to keep your child safe than any other device..ex..Carseat..would you let your child ride in a motor vehicle without one? Having 2 children with sensory integration disorder, autism, and other developmental delays I take this accusation very seriously. Oh, and for you to say that millions of disabled children have not had a harness used on them is completely ignorant. It has been used on many that are physically able to walk. Maybe you are referring to the ones that are confined to a wheelchair. By the way, you can NOT tell if a child is disabled by their appearance. My 2 boys appear completely “normal”, besides the leg braces my younger one has to wear. If you don’t know my boys, you would never know that they were disabled, unless you’re educated enough after observing them, you are able to recognize the disability. Oh, well maybe you stop every child in America that has ever had a harness on them to find out if they have a disability or not! Many children with developmental disabilities, such as autism, are not able to recognize danger. And for the comment about “lazy America”, you could always find another country to live in that you felt wasn’t lazy. And to the one from Greece, maybe your culture keeps developmentally disabled kids hidden away and doesn’t take them out. Or maybe another device is used to restrain them. I believe in letting a child have more freedom to explore than always keeping them strapped down. I have used a stroller and a harness. It allows them to walk and explore, then when the are tired they can ride in the stroller. Oh, I guess this makes me lazy and demeaning to my child. I would rather keep my child safe and allow him the opportunities to enhance his development, than to worry about ignorance. Speaking out of ignorance is plain STUPID!!

  106. Jane says:

    I just think it is kind of silly, but I’m a little conflicted. My friend sent me a link to the website as a joke about needing one for my own kids. I laughed, but then I thought about the meaning of the joke. I’m not sure there is any reason I would have to go that far.

  107. Leah says:

    I’m a widowed mother of two year old triplets and a four year old. A quadruple stroller doesn’t exactly fit in most public places. I’d much rather put a harness on my children than one dart into public and get hit by a car. You haven’t experienced life with triplets and a preschool, therefore I suggest you consider all situations before judging.

  108. Mom of 3 says:

    I am a mom who loves both my stroller and my toddler harness. I find it ironic that you are calling parents who use a leash lazy and telling them to put their child in a stroller. Let’s face it–most children hit a stage around 2 or 3 where they want a little more independance and they don’t want to be in the stroller. Putting a leash on them and allowing them to walk (in areas where there might be a higher danger level–in crowds or on city streets) at least gives them a little more independance and encourages a more active lifestyle. I personally have seen way too many overweight 7 year olds who are still riding in a stroller that is way too small for them because their parents kept them in the stroller and now the child is way too lazy to walk.

  109. kendra says:

    Some children are leashed because verbal commands are wasted on them.
    Picture the scenario if a mother, instead of leashing her child, kept calling him and he keeps on running from her until 1) both mom and child get put out of whatever establishment they are in because of his disruptive behavior 2) he gets kidnapped or 3) hit by a car and injured or killed.
    There are many people, children and adults, whom just “talking” to them does no good. You seem to be one of those people. Your parents probably told you to mind your own business and not to judge other people and situations which you know nothing about, but, as your article shows, you didn’t listen.
    Criticizing people instead of applauding them for doing their utmost to keep their children safe is twisted and evil.

  110. kendra says:

    May I also add that most children who are leashed are also old enough to walk so the idea of putting them in a stroller is ludicrous. Again, back to the original principle: Mind your own business. If you don’t have a life, get one of your own and stay out of others.

  111. Tiffany Cheri says:

    I should preface this comment by saying that I have never insulted a writer or commenter before, and I have read thousands of articles and comments since becoming a mother. Now to the point: you are close-minded and uninformed.

    Before I had a child, I worked in a planetarium which was in the center of a massive science museum. Whenever a child got lost, every employee was required to drop what we were doing and rush to the nearest exit. We’d check outside the exit doors to make sure the child hadn’t left the center or been snatched by someone. Then we’d all frantically search until the child had been located. This process happened 2 or 3 times a day. In fact, I became very good at pointing out which children would “get lost” the second they walked through the front door. Usually the children were in awe of the colors and sounds and scale of our exhibits and with a parent who also had a stroller. You see, even if you’re a good parent, when you take a child to a beautiful, exciting place that they’ve never been before, they’ll disappear while you’re in the middle of a blink. In the planetarium, children would often get bored in the middle of a show, get out of their seat, and walk toward the exit without their parents even noticing (children have better night vision). I regularly would walk over to block the exit, grab the child’s hand, and steer them back to their parents without missing a word of my presentation. Every time I saw a parent walk into the planetarium with a child on a leash, I silently thought, “Thank you for being a good parent.”

  112. Rena says:

    Not sure I understand some of these comments. Designed for a dog? OH you mean like the teethers you allow a child to use when teething? Dogs have them too. Or DIAPERS so they don’t make messes on the floor. They sell those in petstores too. Baby gates look exactly the same in a pets store. Some parents are just full of crap. “My child has never..” blah blah blah. Write a book if your style is so PERFECT then. NO ONE should be so judgemental about someone else’s way in dealing with a child that is not abuse or neglect. Now if you’re a parent that drags the kid along with the assistant tie on than I hardly doubt you’re even on a Parent page cause well that’d mean you’d actually CARE. I’ve used the backpack puppy tie on with my youngest when he was learning to walk when in stores so he could learn to walk alone and I used the wrist restraint on my oldest whose impulsive adhd both before they were 3. I held their hands too but theres some weird freaks out there and crowds everywhere, I rather not take a chance that YOU may seperate me and my under 3 child and they get stepped on because someone pushed us apart rudely. Child throws a temper tantrum breaks free and tries to run away, at least with a tie I know right where they are. Protective? Yes I am.I take my kids to the zoo and I’ve always been damn pleased with the wrist restraint while looking down at the tantrum tempered kids falling apart cause theyre trapped in strollers. I don’t agree with the stroller option, theres fat enough kids let them walk it’s better for them and most kids enjoy it more. You know what I don’t agree with? Kids in strollers when their feet can touch the ground and even drag! THATS lazy parenting. If you need an assistance tie, I applaud you, cause it takes a MATURE ADULT to know when they need help.
    Problem is theyve been called Leashes and Harnesses so immediantly you think Animal. Climbers wear them for SAFETY. Children wear them for SAFETY. Zip liners wear them for SAFETY. Animals wear them for SAFETY.
    I don’t care if you’re child has the obeying skills of a military general. HOW IN WORLDS NAME IS SAFETY AN INSULT TO ANYONE!??!?

  113. amanda says:

    I have to admit that I never understood the leash thing until I had a child of my own. One that learned to walk/ run at 9 months old. I guess I could insist that I strap him in a stroller everywhere we go, or carry him constantly or I could give a little bit of freedom while ensuring that he doesn’t run out into the middle of the road.

  114. Lainey says:

    I have two kids. My first walked at 8 1/2 months old, ran everywhere and still to this day is a handful(he is 7). My second took her time, walked at 11 months and has never had an issue with running off (now 4) and threats of time-outs are enough to make her stop anything she is doing. Kids are different! Just because you have one doesn’t mean you have any idea what all children need or have any right to say how a parent should raise their child. I am a loving parent who loves her kids so much that she will stand in the face of some severe criticism and horrible looks to keep my child safe. Would you rather hear my child scream bloody murder because they are strapped in a stroller (and how is that any less degrading than a leash…at least on a leash they have some kind of independence) or would you rather see my child enjoying themselves and getting to know the world around them in a safe way? I choose the latter. Also kids need exercise. To say that they should be in strollers is insane when they are capable of walking.

  115. Elizabeth says:

    I would leash my child and allow her to walk around with my hubby and I any day over sticking her in a stroller and strapping her in on her rump. If anyone wants to tell me that its not right. That’s great, they are entitled to their opinion. In the end, my child (on her leash no less) my decision! (and i guess sometimes my hubby’s too(: )

  116. kadens1momma says:

    Its a BACKPACK! What about the the children who are super independent and scream at the prospect of having to be in a stroller or stuck holding someones hand? What if said child LOVES their stuffed buddy harness?? Wow, the child is happy, the parent is happy and people are complaining that this is wrong?? Ok so I`ll take away my childs toy, I`ll let him run around and get hurt or (the unthinkable) kidnapped. Great parenting on my part right? Like I said, its a backpack. I say don`t let your kids take a backpack to school, you bring their homework to and from school. But then this is MY opinion!

  117. Kori says:

    This pisses me off!! If you have not experienced dealing with a special needs child that CAN NOT be controlled, shut your mouth. For the most part I don’t leash my child, but I DO when we are hiking or in a very crowded place where I could lose him easier. So shut up if you have no clue. Not all “leashers” are lazy. I for one am not and just trying to keep my child safe.

  118. Sunshinedaisy says:

    When my first daughter was 20 months old, I let go of her hand in the parking lot so i could shift the groceries to that hand and unlock my car. She took off running. I dropped everything and ran after her. I caughter her an inch from the bumper of a speeding car (just barely by the tips of her hair which was the only thing I could catch) Another woman in the parking lot gasped at me and said “that’s child abuse!”. I realized that day that there is always some ignorant a** who thinks they can do it better than you. I don’t believe in the death penalty for disobedient children, so I leash. I used to have the same attitude as the writer until I walked a mile as a mom. When I was at the mall with her, we ran into an old friend who was holding her frustrated and struggling toddlers hand. It was the first time I really looked at the kids who were walking and handholding with their mommies. That poor girl was miserable and tired because she had spent the last hour holding her hand above her head and her wrist was sore. As soon as my girlfriend let go of her hand she began rubbing her wrist and flexing her shoulder. My “friend” was smirking at me rudely because my daughter was wearing a “leash”. Tonight, I would like you to take a walk around your neighborhood with your arm straight up over your head for 30 minutes and tell me that my parenting is inhumane. Clueless.
    When my youngest daughter was diagnosed Autistic, Iwas suddenly incredibly grateful for that “leash” Children who are mentally challenged don’t understand the rules, but they can still walk and run. In your estimation, does that mean they should be kept in a stroller? For how long? My daughter is now 7 and still doesn’t understand simple commands. Look behind you, your ignorance is showing.

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