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The Toddler Leash: Love It!

By Danielle |

Its the Monkey Backpack!

Leashes for children.

It is a hot topic, but one that I never really put much thought into until recently. Heck, I find most of the parenting “hot topics” today incredibly stupid!

Of course my toddler isn’t a dog, but there is a time and place for most gear they make for kids today.

We originally started using the toddler leash when my oldest son started walking. I was pregnant with my middle son and he was no longer interested in the stroller. Just like all of our kids, once he learned how to walk it was his preferred method of travel.

If we tried to put him inside a stroller, he had a nuclear meltdown, and it remained that way for a while. I think it was the point where he realized walking could make his little legs tired as hell that snapped him out of his obsession.

The same thing happened with Ben, and now I am just waiting for Addie to really get the hang of this walking thing; I’m sure she’s going to be off running just like they were.

To me, I look at the leash as a safety device. I don’t look at it as a leash — it’s a safety harness, a backpack that helps us to ensure the safety of our kids when we are out in a public place.

Not only do we use the monkey backpack as an actual backpack to store things in, but we use it to make sure that our youngest toddler is S-A-F-E!

It doesn’t mean we can’t control our children, it means we value their lives far too much to risk an accident that easily could be prevented. I would rather people with hang-ups about these contraptions give me nasty looks than have my toddler accidentally run in the wrong direction onto the busy road we live on. Or trip off the curb into the road when we are at my husband’s firehouse. Or run off during a busy carnival, or whatever fancy event with a large population we decided to bring our kids to for the day. It’s just another precaution I take while I manage watching all three children.

It isn’t about power or control.
It isn’t about treating a toddler like a pet.

It is better safe than sorry to me, because I could never forgive myself if any of my children were hurt in an accident that could have easily been prevented.

Let’s have a nice and respectful discussion about toddler leashes … do you use one? Why or why not?


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Danielle Elwood is a straight-shooting Florida based mom of three and emerging indie author. Read bio and latest posts → Read Danielle's latest posts →

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62 thoughts on “The Toddler Leash: Love It!

  1. Catherine S says:

    Yes! We have the monkey one too! I usually tell the old biddies with the sneers on their faces to mind their own business. My husband’s oldest son is autistic and PREFERRED to have something to hang on to us when walking in large groups. I heard this one nasty hag say some b*+chy remark to her friend about “Isn’t he a little old to be on a leash?” (He was 5 or 6?) As my husband walked ahead with oldest boy. I walked up to her, and said, “You don’t know us so keep your nasty remarks to yourself. At least our kids are walking around and able to see everything unlike your poor kid trapped in the stroller.” You should have seen the shade of red she turned when I did that. Mama Bear will rip your arm off and beat you with it. Grrr

  2. Kira R. says:

    Thank you! We have the monkey also, and my boys love it. Both boys are runners, and it’s so nice to know that as long as they’ve got the backpack on they’re not getting far from me. We hold their hands while the loop is around our wrist. It’s nice to know that if they let go of our hands (or if we let go of theirs for some reason) and start to take off, they’re only getting so far. Carnivals, zoos, craft fairs, and even just a walk around the block. They’d rather be hooked to me than stuck in a stroller (which they can’t stand to be in unless tired).

  3. Kayla says:

    Nope. My toddler has learned that if she doesn’t listen and hold a hand, the cart/stroller, or stay close by, we’re going home. Which works, cuz she likes to shop :)

  4. Rebecca says:

    We have a plain blue contraption that works great. I used it with my two eldest sons and will with the third. I have had peopl say things to me a walmart employee in front of his boss. I still don’t feel bad for the all the carp I said to him but he almost fell over while I addressed his comment about using a dig leash on my son. His boss, well the guy was almost on the floor laughing at him and I left satisfied. 1to10 I will always use them so I don’t have that moment of i lost my child.

  5. Heather says:

    My baby is not old enough to need one, but when she does, she will have it. I am all for fostering Independence in my child, but it will be done safely. I have no intention of letting anything happen to her when we worked so hard just to have her!

  6. Meagan says:

    I think the monkey (or whatever animal) ones are brilliant. It’s a safety product, extra bag, AND a toy, all in one! I always have to laugh when people bitch about treating a toddler/preschooler like a dog. Hello, do you even know any 3 year olds? Pretending to be Fido is the BEST GAME EVER.

    My 1 year old isn’t walking yet, but we’ll probably pick one up when he starts. I don’t intend to use it often, but crowded spaces? High traffic areas? You better believe it. It’s so much easier then trying to force a walker into a stroller or shadow them constantly. Speaking of which, when did “easier” turn into a parenting curse word? I never knew “good parenting” meant “making life as difficult as possible.”

  7. Coralyn says:

    We will be using one of these when we go camping for a week this summer. Our camp sites are on a river, and the moms with small children that we camp with will all have them. It gives you peace of mind knowing they are playing safely and won’t be able to run into the river without us.

  8. neal says:

    My daughter has that exact monkey leash. We got it just to see how it works, since my two-year-old daughter’s favorite thing is to sprint away from us shouting “run away, run away!” like a scene from Monty Python. It’s funny and cute until someone gets squashed by a car. We never really used it much because she just cried at being held back, or went boneless and refused to move, so we resorted to carrying and tight hand-holding anyway.

    But she loves to wear it around the house, and when she does, she’ll search someone out to hold the tail while she wanders.

  9. Thereas says:

    When my son was young we lived in Japan. He was insanely curious, fast, and fearless. No one in the family spoke Japanese so the whole missing-toddler scenario became a terrifying vision for me. We used a plain blue harness style “leash” and it saved my peace of mind and let me explore the crowded festivals and parks without fear. I’m pregnant again and would definitely use the leash again if I get another runner!

  10. bunnytwenty says:

    I’m so glad people are admitting to using kid-leashes! It’s such a practical and simple way to keep your kid safe, and let them get some exercise instead of being cooped up in a stroller.

  11. ileana says:

    I use a bodice teather (Liberte) on my 16 month old, that I would not live without! We have to travel to visit my husband/ her father who is overseas. Having her in a teather for the airports and busy european cities has been a godsend for her safety AND our sanity. She gets some freedom, and we can let her take a lead without risking her jumping into traffic.

    I only receive condecending looks here in the U.S., but overseas, we are approached by all nationalities asking where I found it and how to get one.

  12. Shannon says:

    I have been thru several. I would rather my boys be safe than in the street or off somewhere! I’ve had a monkey, bear, and puppy version but I must say my favorite one has to have been the backpack shaped one it held the most gear. When my boys were wearing it I could leave the diaper bag in the car. As the mom of 2 boys I’d be lost without my backpacks and the kids love the freedom it gives them

  13. Linda says:

    I’m not sure if anyone saw the episode of Modern Family when they went to Disnleyland, but the way they portrayed Lily being on a leash bothered me. My son is 2 1/2 and really fast. We don’t use our leash all the time, but Disneyland is a place where we had to use it. One time we were there, on Tom Sawyer Island, and my son took off. He could have easily fallen into the water lagoon. As soon as I caught up with him, I put the backpack on. I also look at it as a safety device. I have learned to really ignore a lot of the things other moms say because they don’t know your child, and you just have their safety in mind. He was resistant at first, but I have learned that if I hold his hand and just have the strap as a backup, he is fine with it.

  14. Tai says:

    Thanks for the article. I have twins and have used the “backpack tethers” a few times, but I felt so self conscious, from everyone looking at us, I stopped using it. But, maybe I’ll give them try.

  15. Theodora Anema says:

    I am in desperate need of a leash. Unlike my older daughter, my 2 year old constantly runs away. I traveled a few time to Europe with her and it is a nightmare. The moment at customs, you take your shoes off, she runs away. You have to take the laptop out of its case, she runs away. You have to collapse the stroller, she runs away. In stores, when i am trying to pay for something or just wait in line, she undoes her straps, climbs out of the stroller and runs away. Please tell me where i can get the Monkey back pack, have not seen it but as a single mom, I am at my wits end. When my older daughter was this age, she always stayed by my side. This one is obviously completely different. I say Hooray to the leash.

  16. Sarah buki says:

    We have the dog one and kids L.O.V.E. It. It’s magical too. As soon as they wear it – they turn into a dog which is a pain for me when they try to go thru the store on all fours…

  17. Rose-Anne says:

    We have the monkey and used it for our oldest who hated the stroller and was a total bolter. I think it is normal for a new walker to want to run off, and I don’t think it means you haven’t properly disciplined your child. What 1 year old can really be disciplined anyway? They are too little for that. So until they can really understand the rules, it is better safe than sorry. I especially liked it when flying alone with children. You have your hands full of luggage and you are in a very busy public place. At times I didn’t even have a free hand but I could put the “leash” around my wrist and make sure he stayed close. Strangely enough we always got comments about how cute he was when he wore it. #2 (24 months) is not really a runner, so we haven’t used it yet. And we’ll see about #3 – she can’t even crawl yet, thank goodness!

  18. Kate Lesny says:

    I don’t use one and don’t plan to. Glad they work for some people, and I get the safety principle behind it but there’s just too much of an ick factor for me. My child both walks and uses a stroller..yes she does try to run off sometimes but I always take her hand before we leave the car and remind her that she needs to hold my hand in the parking lot. It works for us.

  19. Heather says:

    I have the old style blue one which was a hand me down from one of my friends. It has been to the MOMA, High museum, Indianapolis Museum of art, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Central Park, UGA football games. Most of the time my daughter never noticed it and I was much more comfortable that she could only go ahead so far. I had a older women comment that she thought my generation didn’t believe in them. As we were at an art exhibit at the time, I commented that I didn’t know about my generation but that I was a big fan. If I had another child I would use one again. Better safe than sorry in so many scenarios.

  20. MoreAnon says:

    We have twins, and the “monkey leash” (actually ours were teddy bears) was just about all that saved my sanity! You cannot reason with a two-year-old about staying with Mommy when they don’t want to, and all they ever wanted to do was go in two different directions! LOL! Nobody *ever* gave me grief about them, maybe because I had TWO and anybody with a brain could see why I had them both on leashes. BTW, they are five now, and we recently gave the beloved bear leashes away to a friend with two infants. My boys were so sad!! So they loved their bears. Wearing them was clearly not an issue for them.

  21. Xiomara Maldonado - Equis' Place says:

    I actually wrote a blog post on this topic a while ago because I remember being very judgmental of leashes when I was younger even though I had no children; but becoming a mom changed that for me. My 20 month old learned to walk about four months ago, and if he does not want to hold my hand, he puts his entire weight into letting go of it. I bought the Lion Harness Buddy soon after, and we used it a couple of times. I certainly care more about my son’s safety than others’ complaints against my usage of a leash. The only issue with the leash is that my son isn’t a very stable walker and tends to fall a lot as he fights the hold on him. But my boyfriend’s four year old loves to wear it because of the backpack portion!

  22. Jessica says:

    It is not possible that all but one of the comments have really been positive attempts to make yourselves feel better for lazy parenting. Because that’s what it looks like to those of us who don’t use leashes. It looks as if the parents either don’t have the patience to firmly insist on the use of a stroller when absolutely necessary or the creativity (it doesn’t take much!) to think of using a baby carrier like the Ergo or a sling, or the patience to teach a child to hold hands.
    Yes, a child may go through a stage of crying while being asked to use a stroller, but if it’s truly a safety issue, why not insist on it as you would insist on being buckled into a carseat? Baby wearing won’t work for everyone, but even pregnant mommas can comfortably wear a toddler in a back carry. And I think it’s always a good idea to teach children to hold hands when safety requires, even if multiple children (as I’m learning with my third) mean older children have to form a chain and hold hands with younger ones rather than directly with parents.

  23. Isabel says:

    Using a leash on a toddler doesn’t teach them anything. Sure, it helps you keep them “safe,” but how about teaching them to hold your hand or stay near you. It’s like owners of little dogs. Yip yip dogs jump and haul on the leash because it’s easy to hold them back. That’s not an option with big dogs, so they must be trained properly. Children are the same (ha! dog analogy). My 2 y/o knows to look for cars when crossing the street. Does she still dash out all the time? Yes, but that’s why I’m there to stop her and reminder her. The leash makes things easy. People managed to keep their kids plenty safe before this invention.

  24. Janet says:

    I bought one when my daughter first started walking because she went right from walking to running in a matter of weeks. I’d put her down and she was off. She refused to wear it though. It’s the kind that looks like a regular backpack when the leash is removed. I figured she could use it to carry her own snacks and treasures while we were out and about. Now that she’s a little bit older, she knows better than to run off, but it freaked me out when she was little. I got pretty quick at grabbing her. However, her favorite mode of transportation has always been on my hip – even now that she’s 3. (that doesn’t mean she’s carried all the time though).

  25. Roxann says:

    To the previous moms who are scolding those who use the back pack, pipe down. It’s very judgemental. First off I refer to a leash as what I put on my dog, not my kid. Second, perhaps you dont jet set as much as the rest of us, traveling through busy airports with luggage, etc…..or perhpas pregnant with the next child and it’s safer for both mom and toddler. Not too mention more enjoyable for the child, who gets to exercise and be able to explore their environment. I ‘m sure as good parents we all teach our children to watch for cars and be safe, however we nor our children are perfect, so please dont sit here and judge. And for a toddler back pack, talk about safety………a child over twenty five pound…….i cant stop laughing. Moms with safety back packs, please continue to use them if that’s what works.

  26. Eortiz says:

    well actually these so called leashes were around many years ago when they were used to strap the children into the strollers. They are called safety harnesses not leashes, they were strapped around a child with two clips one on either side and when the child went into the stroller it was clipped in because back in the day when my mom was a baby there was nothing in the strollers to strap the babies in. So when you took the child out it had a strap and you were able to walk with the child or it was used to teach the child how to walk. People need to stop being so damn nosey and worry about their children but when you are suppose to be nosey when a child is being abused or hurt in any way no one wants to get involved. Unbelievable…

  27. HighDesertGal says:

    Grandmother weighing in…Back in the olden day when you were all toddlers; a safety harness was considered (in the US) a no no. Well, we had four days notice to take a 20 mo.old and 5 year old to England for a military assignment, so I got a safety harness. I got so many frowns and head shakes as I made my way though airports in the US to the point that I was embarrassed. But, I persisted because my little darling was the size of a small 12 month old and she’d been walking and then running since she turned 8 mos. I was afraid that she’d be tripped over by adults who weren’t looking for a pint sized walker. It had happened before several times even when she was next to me. I needed to be able to pull her out of the way of hurried travelers, sightseers and shoppers. In England, I felt right at home. I got smiles and nods of approval and many positive comments everywhere we went.
    Now, my pint sized daughter is taller than I am and has her own toddler and preschooler. And yes she uses the Monkey when she travels or at the zoo etc.
    This is a scarier world than it was in 1984. Keep your little ones close. Use your mommy intuition to tell you when you need the cute little Monkey and when you don’t. You each know your own children best.

  28. Monica says:

    I’ve debated on weighing in here. I have one that I barely use. I don’t use it for walking through airports or malls or anything like that. I use it apple picking or at an amusement park for my son. My two oldest I never had one for and there wasn’t ever a need. They didn’t wander far from us. Our son has a tendency to bolt. He’s 4. He’s better now. The baby, well I don’t let her walk around and just carry or wear her at this point. Not sure what will happen when she gets older. But anyways, the thing with the safety of the “leashes” safety harness or whatever you want to call them is if you’re using it because your child fights the stroller, then I assure you he’s going to fight you on the leash too. He’s asserting his independence which is fine and we want them to do that in a safe way. So like I said, I don’t use it in a busy airport or the mall or some place like that because we usually have a certain place we have to get and get there quickly. Not at the pace of a toddler and not when a toddler gets distracted by the shiny nickel across the way that he wants to go after. He’ll be upset because he wants to go one way and you’re going another. So that’s why the stroller is a must in those circumstances as far as I’m concerned. Whether he cries or not either way there are probably going to be tears. Now apple picking or at the amusement park I have used it there to let him explore in those areas, but to also keep him close by. There isn’t such an urgency to get somewhere in those cases, but we do need to keep them safe. I can’t stand the excuse of my child won’t sit in the stroller. You see that’s not an option. If I tell you to get in the stroller or the carriage then you do it. My son is older so I will give him the option of walking along side us or getting in the carriage at the grocery store, but if he’s running wild, then he knows he goes in the carriage. If he cries about it he cries because he made the choice to misbehave. But my one year old doesn’t get that choice. She sits in the carriage or the baby carrier and that’s it. If she doesn’t like it that’s just too bad. We can’t cater to our children’s every cry other wise we create spoiled children. And that’s the one advice I give people when they ask how I have such well behaved children. They know exactly what is expected of them. If they want the freedom of walking around, then they have to stay with me. But in some cases it’s just not safe for them to be walking around and they need to ride in the stroller like it or not that’s just the way it is. So the leashes aren’t terrible, but if you are using it because your child has already learned that all he has to do is cry to get his way, then that’s a problem. My kids know who’s in charge and it ain’t them.

  29. Z's Momma says:

    It is isn’t lazy, or offensive, it is just a tool to help foster their independence safely. I have considered getting one many times for my VERY precocious, now 3 year old son. We are very active and frequently attend local events and travel. I may have caved a little to the peer pressure that I expected to receive, and frankly was a little embarrassed to, plus the fact that my husband wasn’t very supportive of it, so I never got one. That is why he gets to hold our son’s hand when we are out as a family or carry him once the 5 minute or so time limit that must exist in him. The stroller is still our #1 tool but try taking that on an art trail where a trolley takes you to each stop. After 5 or 6 times of lifting it into/off of the trolley, you are spent. Our daycare opted for one with him since he is a bolter, holding his hand or not, he escaped and ran toward a very busy street when he was only 1. I think it is interesting that a lot of people say that it wasn’t an issue for them because their child “knows how to mind and listen” most frequently mothers of girls. Well, good for you. My son was born this way; he is a fun, inquisitive, boisterous, ball of energy, who is a joy to be around. And one way to get out some of that energy (and no, it isn’t to shame and beat him) is to keep him active, and the harness could be a great tool for that. We have worked hard on helping him focus that energy and enthusiasm rather than squash it. Now that baby #2 is in the works I will consider it more seriously despite what the self-righteous Stepfords or the miraculously lucky parents think.

  30. Jennifer says:

    Roxann, I completely agree with you. What I say to people who give dirty looks or mutter stuff under their breath, is “Mind your own business. If you don’t like it, look somewhere else.” It’s funny too, that a lot of the stares come from parents with toddlers locked in strollers. Hey, at least my daughter is getting exercise. Comments like the one from Jessica, make me role my eyes. I could say to her, “hey, you’re a lazy mother, because you push your kid in a LAZY stroller all the time?” I could care less if “those who don’t use leashes” look at us who do like we are lazy parents,” because I am a parent, i have a busy life with my daughter, (we travel a lot, and frequent very populated places,), and dont have the time to judge others on how safe they want to be with their OWN kids. I could say, that if you as a parent, don’t use EVERY precaution possible to keep your child safe, you’re a LAZY, un-caring, parent who doesn’t care about your kid’s safety.
    Anyways, we have the puppy backpack, and my daughter loves it. She puts it on, I strap it, and we hold hands while the tail is around my wrist. I AM teaching my child to look both ways and hold my hand (Jessica), but that doesn’t mean that my 2yr old always listens…and I would much rather her be wearing the backpack, than getting hit by a car, or kidnapped. We don’t use it all the time, just at very crowded places like festivals, carnivals, airports, busy cities ect….

  31. Nicole L. says:

    I never wanted to use a leash on my son, I remembered how much I hated mine growing up. When my mom gave me one I got rid of it, no way was I going to use that damn thing. Well, the minute my son decided to stomp on my foot and try to run infront of a cart I knew instantly that it was time to get a leash. He loves it, its his backpack not a leash. He always puts a toy and snack in the back and insists on wearing it. I now get the “hes on a leash” look, but he loves it and hes safe. Thats all that matters!

  32. My guess is that people who are judgemental about leashes have never had to stand during a bus commute. I do, regularly, and I can tell you that holding onto something above shoulder level for long periods of time is not comfortable. In fact, it can even be painful. Tone down the “lazy parenting” rhetoric, and I won’t go any further with the “lazy thinking” rhetoric. Deal?

  33. Kim says:

    Absolutely! It may sound bad, but we use it with our 6 year old. I used it at the zoo last month during a school trip and my mother-in-law used it today. He has behavioral issues and has a tendency of taking off if he is upset to be able to cool down. It is a safety issue for us and this is a safety device we use to keep him with us. I am looking to get another one for our 3 year old because he is sick of the stroller and wants to be able to walk around like his brothers but still does not get the idea of holding mommy or daddy’s hand to keep him safe. We had him at the hospital today for an appointment and he liked the idea of being able to run around to the different activities, but it just showed me how fast he could get away from us outside. These harnesses are life savers. I would highly recommend them, not condone them.

  34. But before I drop that rhetoric completely, might I suggest that you Google “leading strings”? The concept is far from new.

  35. Sarah Ray says:

    I too am a leash user! I never understood people who say snarky things about them. The whole “they aren’t dogs” comment makes no sense to me. What? do you think I am so stupid I thought I birthed a puppy? Of course I know toddlers are not dogs, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have the same attention span. I for one am not about to spend every moment in public wrestling a toddler because I think somehow that my kid is too good for a leash.
    The monkey is great for safety and peace of mind. I don’t generally pay attention to other people when I am out and about anyways. It seems like someone is always looking to complain about somebody. I suppose if they are stupid enough to pick a fight over how to parent MY kid then they have coming whatever I feel like giving em’ at the time :)

  36. starla says:

    We had a monkey one for my son when he was 2 and my son just bought the girl monkey one for his baby sister for her birthday. They were great from the age 2 to 3 when kids just go nonstop. We used it in high traffic areas like the mall, swap meet and disneyland. Kids dont always want to be pushed in strollers. They got their walking legs and want to use them. I just love them. We got one at walmart and the girl monkey one at target. And now that my son doesnt need the leash he just uses his monkey as a backpack. He loves it so much thats why he wanted one for his baby sis :)

  37. Erocka says:

    Aren’t leashes clasped onto animals’ collars, which are tied around their necks?? At least these backpacks aren’t choking the little ones. I see a lot of parents using them, including dads. I, however, have also seen them used on older children who clearly have no intentions of suddenly wandering off. I’m on the fence on this one, with no judgment either way. I guess it could be a good thing pertaining to the prevention of kidnapping or severe injury, depending on where one lives and the safety of their city or what not, but on the other hand, I remember wandering off when I was little, doing my own thing, then turning around and [sometimes trying] to retrace my steps only to find my parent(s) were no longer where I ‘left’ them, and being terrified. That was a good lesson I learned for myself.

  38. Sue says:

    Thank you!! This article couldn’t have come at a better time!!! I’ve been very hesitant to go this route, but my 2 1/2 (almost) year old is extremely unruly/independant/defiant- call her what you will – but the bottom line is that she does not listen and will just run off without a care in the world… Breaking free of my grasp mostly.
    The other day she ran right into a busy street… No amount of discussion, time-outs or any Punishment whatsoever seems to help. I’m dreading our walks, which I used to love. I just get angry, frustrated and stressed.
    I’m getting a backpack tomorrow!!

  39. casey says:

    My daughter actually prefers the stroller. She hates a crowd,they freak her out so if she is in a crowd,she wants to be carried or be in the stroller. If we are in public and it’s not crowded, she’ll walk but she wants to hold my hand. She’s a very shy child so I never really needed a leash. I tried one once when we went to the aquarium. She wouldn’t walk the entire time and I was wishing I had the stroller b/c I was so tired from carrying her but the crowd of people was scaring her so I had to carry her. Then while in the gift shop she did walk around for a few minutes and something startled her,she tried to run and the leash pulled tight and she fell flat on her face. I never bothered with it again. I can definitely see the need for it some cases and I don’t see anything wrong with it,it just didn’t work for us.

  40. Sue says:

    And DAMN, Judgemental Mamas… You must not have a whole lot to do, besides teach your perfect children perfect rules, sit around and polish your halos and judge other peoples’ parenting styles. Nice

  41. Jodie says:

    My son’s is a Koala (appropriate as I’m in Australia) – we haven’t used it a great deal because I’m afraid he’s going to break it when he pulls so hard!!
    You can say whatever you want about these items but when you have a kid prone to running off, not looking where he’s going etc, these could be a lifesaver!
    I want my son to be able to enjoy some places, but rarely let him out of the stroller, shopping trolley etc – bubs no 2 just arrived and there’s no point in getting double prams/strollers, my son is almost 3 and too big!

  42. Virginia says:

    I would never ever use the harness style child leash it just conjures the image of a dog with a harness in my mind and I am sure I am projecting but I feel it is humiliating for a child to wear the same thing we walk our dogs with. I would maybe not be terribly opposed to the kind that is two wristband (one for the parent one for the child) connected by a line or bungee cord. It is not at all like a leash and not so much like you are walking your child like a dog but just tethering you two together more or less like holding hands but with a wider area. Mom gets the safety she is looking for and kiddo gets a little free reign. Though I would only even use that in extremely crowded places such as an amusement park and only if I did not have my husband or another adult with me who could give an extra hand and pair of eyes when needed. And my daughter started walking at 9.5 months and by 11 months she was running. So believe me I know how hard it can be but now at 16 months she knows that if she doesn’t stay close and hold my hand when I ask, that she will have to go in the stroller and if she can’t handle that we take a time out or leave (only had to leave twice).

  43. Bonnie says:

    With triplet boys who are always eager to explore, race, and meet new people, the “leashes” are a MUST!

  44. Anne says:

    Well, I’m now a grandma, but there was actually a time when I was three years old. :) My father was in the Army serving on Okinawa, the Korean War was going on, and my mother and I (together with a lot of other military wives and children) were sent across the North Pacific to join our soldiers. Our conveyance was a modified troop transport ship. The crossing took eighteen days, and it was pretty rough. My mother had a harness and leash (that’s what she called it), and I wore it the whole time we were aboard the ship. If it makes you feel better, she came in for a lot of criticism and censure, even way back then. As for me, I enjoyed being able to run around. I got to go out on deck when other children were kept from doing so because it was too rough. I saw whales, dolphins, other ships, and a whole lot of wide, blue sea. It was an incredible, unforgettable adventure, parts of which I still remember vividly.

    (My younger brother arrived–on dry land–several years later when we were back in the States. My mother, reacting to all that criticism, didn’t use the harness for him. One day when he was about two, she had him by the hand. He decided suddenly to plop down, she didn’t realize it immediately, and his shoulder was dislocated. It was awful, and she never got over it.)

    If a safety arrangement of some sort means you and your toddler will enjoy your trips and errands, then I think it’s a fine idea. I’m certainly an old biddy, but you’ll get no feedback from me other than a smile.

  45. mae says:

    I have twin boys. We used the monkey backpack tethers between ages 2 and three because once they could walk they were off and running , and usually in 2 different directions. No parent wants to have to make Sofie’s choice between the kid that is running toward the road and the other one that’s heading for the river. Truthfully. I only heard one seriously negative comment once, and another sort of veiled one where a woman told me she gotten one as a gift for her child, but “…couldn’t figure out what it was for.”

  46. Tragic Sandwich says:

    “And DAMN, Judgemental Mamas… You must not have a whole lot to do, besides teach your perfect children perfect rules, sit around and polish your halos and judge other peoples’ parenting styles. Nice”


  47. Shuffles says:

    I have my opinion on leashing kids, but I’m not going to state it here. What I would like to point out is how this was asked to be a discussion and as soon as a person stated their opinion, in a polite manner I might add, that was against what the article was promoting, they were called judgmental. I think that might be a little bit judgement in of it’s self. You people have not made and obviously will not tolerate an actual discussion. You are just sharing leash stories. Kinda defeats the purpose. Just sayin’

  48. Chloe says:

    Back in high school I remember seeing a toddler on a harness at the mall, then going home and telling my mom how awful it was that the child’s parent was treating them like a dog. Mom put me in my place–she told me that my brother & I both wore harnesses when we were little. We were both the kind of kids that liked to run off, and neither she nor our grandmother could keep up with us. Years later I bought one for my older son to use at the zoo and similar settings. It gave him the freedom to move around when he wanted to instead of being strapped into a stroller where he couldn’t take in his surroundings. Now he’s 4.5 and knows to either hold his daddy’s or my hand, or hold onto his baby brother’s stroller. In due time we’ll find out if the baby needs it or not. For now I am not judging any parent for using a stroller, a baby-carrier, a harness, or a combination thereof as they see fit. But I draw the line at parents who put their child in the storage basket underneath the stroller. Or let them lay on the bottom rack of the shopping cart. (No joke, I’ve seen people do both of those things. Yuck!)

  49. Becky Bethel says:

    No !!! Will not use a Leash for my child !!

  50. Andi says:

    I just bought the monkey harness for an upcoming trip to the zoo. My 20 month old boy wants to walk every where. He starts off holding our hands but gets tired with his arm sticking straight up. We are working on getting him to stay next us but its a work in progress and I really think the harness will help give him the freedom to walk and give me peace of mind that I can still keep him safe especially in crowds. I will admit I used to think they were wrong before I became a Mom.

  51. Lily Kay says:

    My kids are RUNNERS(well my 3 year old outgrew this phase but boy was she s toughie, and my 2 year old son is still right in it)! So I have used a “leash” with my kids (though we haven’t used ours in a while and are trying to keep it that way, as the kids are getting older). My kids are only 15 months apart so it was really a necessity for their safety in my situation. I only viewed it as a safety precaution though, if my child does not listen and tries to run off they go in the cart regardless of the backpack. I don’t like parents who drag their kids around on them, but for me the backpack was great, I did not like the stares and glares over using one though!

  52. Rain Williams says:

    I use the backpack model and its great. My son will be two next month and its works for us. It gives him the freedom to explore,but also lets me control how far I want him to go. Some kids dont need them but some do. Every parent sould be able to decide without getting looks and negative comments. The people that stare must not have wandering kids or no kids at all because after 15 minutes with my son they get “it” my son needs a backpack.

  53. Sara says:

    I wish the child leash was around when I nannied this one little 1.5 yr old boy, who was a handful and a half. More then once he wiggled his little hand out of my firm grasp and I had to tackle him to the ground before he could run across the busy street to the playground opposite of his house. This required me to let go of the hand holding the 3 yr old. Luckily, he was more sedate than his brother and with patience beyond his yrs would wait for me to get his brother under control and walk by my side. However he was only 3 and could easily have run off ..if scared perhaps by a loose neighborhood dog or something… and run into the road. A leash would have been so helpful.

  54. Connie Vernon says:

    I think that people who sneer at these harnesses have never actually “lost” a child. When my daughter was about four we were in a dept. store, now she was a good child, stayed with momma… but as I was looking for a fraction of a sec. she disappeared. Of course momma was frantic and having a meltdown, tears began, voice was rising… a few minutes later i hear a giggle and look and she had climbed into the center of the clothing rack, she was playing within arms reach! Well thats all it took, after that we never went to a store without a monkey harness. I would put my childs safety before any sneers any day. Love the monkey. we also have a pink poodle now for my two grandbabies. ;)

  55. Kim Banbury says:

    So, what makes the strap of the ‘leash’ so offensive & different from the straps of the stroller/backpack/carseat? The only issue I would have would be a child being dragged along with the ‘leash’….obviously not what it’s for.
    My four yr old autistic son was done with the stroller a long time ago. So, what does a Mom do when at an insanely busy farmer’s market, where bitchy & impatient people push & shove, with no regard for a curious kid wanting to look around? I got a teddy bear leash, and away we go. What peace of mind! And I can’t hold his hand for an hour, trying to look around, keep him safe, hold purchases, supplies, snacks and usually our dog’s leash! It also enables him to safely learn how to negotiate crowds and sometimes lead our outings. He loves it. :)
    Quite frankly, I don’t care in the least what anyone thinks, or what looks i get.
    Funny how no one ever comments on a poor kid that’s been strapped into a stroller for two hours & ignored so the grown-ups can easily do what they want to do. That’s ok…

  56. Nancy Johnson Horn says:

    Anything that will keep my child safe is my motto. I wish we had one with us when we went to Sesame Place two years ago. My then 4 year old wandered away because he was hot. Scariest 20 minutes of my life. My youngest child is 22 months and doesn’t talk. I think I may get the monkey leash so I can let him walk a little and still keep him near me. He doesn’t want to hold my hand and walk with the rest of us.

  57. Ange says:

    We have a leash…always walk at my daughter’s pace and let her explore…gives me complete piece of mind for her safety and when I have let go of the handle to let her “roam” she promptly picks it up and hands it to me – think it actually promotes her freedom vs me nagging her to hold my hand, stay close, etc.

  58. Alicia Saenz says:

    I CAN NOT believe all the judgmental parents commenting here…are you kidding me? I can guarantee there are plenty of people that have seen all of you do something at one time or another that they didn’t agree with but they had the sense to not judge and keep their mouth shut! As long as the child is loved and being cared for…the parenting styles are going to vary from parent to parent…and we have that right! Those of you that are so darn self righteous….spend more time focusing on your child and less with your nose in other people’s business judging! All you are passing onto your kids is how to be self righteous jerks AND that is something this world DOES NOT need any more of!!

  59. Stephanie says:

    I was in one before you could buy them! My mom had made one for me when we went to DIsney Land when i was about 3 years old. Granted that was a billion years ago but i still believe that these “backpacks” are the greatest invention in the world. My son (3) loves to run ahead of me while i’m getting my daughter (2 months) in the stroller. Now he does love our big double stroller but its a hastle sometimes. We are planning a big trip to Dragon*Con (a comic, movie, sci-fi, all around everything convention) this Labor day weekend and he WILL be in a harness no matter what. D*C is in Atlanta and has something close to 50,000 people who attend, I am NOT going to risk losing my precious boy because he runs off from me so he can go and hug Iron Man. Whenever he isn’t in the stroller he will be on the “leash”. I have gotten looks before when he is in it but my feeling is, “while you are running around trying to keep up with your child and worrying every 5 seconds where he is, mine will be standing right next to me not going any where”

  60. tea says:

    As the parent of a very curious toddler, I figure I have three options:
    1) use the harness,
    2) yank her little hand and yell at her constantly, or
    3) stuff her in a stroller and let her get fat – now that is lazy parenting! I am sick of seeing fat kids in strollers simply because it is convenient for the parents.

    I plan to breakout the “leash” for our next trip. I expect it will be invaluable in the airports. … Preparing to face the judgmental eyes of onlookers (gulp).

  61. Nancianne says:

    I am a parent of a runner, I can’t say he always likes the leash, but he gets to see a lot more and it is easier to get around with vs. a stroller. I was at a Brewers game this past year and a man asked me if I was walking my dog, I stopped him and said no that would be my son not a dog, and mind your own business! I don’t have to explain anything to anyone. If you prefer to push around a stroller than do that, I prefer this instead……..

  62. kristy says:

    i’d love to know where you can find one. as the mom of an active toddler who is smart enough to get out of her stroller the minute i turn my head, being able to give her some freedom while not having to panic every two minutes will be a good thing. plus her dad is tall, so not having to have her arm above her head will be nice for her.

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