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Kids on a Leash: They Don't Bark But They Do Run

Kids on a Leash: They Don't Bark But They Do Run


Kids on a Leash: They Don't Bark But They Do Run

Many people treat their canine companions as if they were their children. It's cute. I get it. But treating your kid like a dog? Um, I am not quite so sure if it works in reverse. Or does it? Certainly kids don't bark, but some bite, and many run with wild abandon.

Proponents of kid leashes say that when properly used, they are an excellent tool for safeguarding against the dangers that shadow toddlers who tend to bolt unpredictably.

Those against using kid leashes say hooking the kids up is a cop-out for inattentive parenting.

So, who is right? Does it truly depend on the parent, the kid and the situation?

It's a hot topic on Circle of Moms, with opinion evenly split between the moms posting in the Debating Mums and Parenting Debates and Hot Topics communities.

Here are some of the thoughts being shared:

"I have no problem with them. They're a tool for safety, and I think there are situations that warrant them for sure," writes Sara B. in the Debating Mums community.

However, her husband disagreed — more like he "absolutely put his foot down," she laments.

"He said he didn't feel comfortable 'treating her like a dog.' I personally think that's ridiculous. We put our dogs on leashes in crowded areas to keep them safe. You're not willing to do that for your child if it's in their best interest?" she asks.

Cassie C. agrees with the safety first argument: "I don't see them (kid leashes) any differently than I see having a baby sleep in a crib or strapped into a high chair or car seat. We use safety devices all the time to keep our children safe. A harness is no different," she states in the Debating Mums community.

But moms who don't think a leash or harness is the best option to protect children from getting into potentially harmful situations argue that the key to keeping kids safe is more attentive parenting.

"I think they're a cop-out for lazy parents, mostly," writes Lyndsay M. "I can understand a single mom with like four kids under (age) five, obviously that would be chaotic and I don't even know how you would go about keeping track of all of them, but it is not too much to ask a parent to watch their one child."

Other moms say leashes are inappropriate for humans.

"A leash is for a dog, not your child! I have an eight-year-old and not once did I ever loose him in a store," posts Melissa B. She said her child was running by the time he was 11 months old. "He knew to stay with me and hold my hand. Kids are quick, and if you keep your eye on them like a good mother is supposed to, then you do not need a leash. I hate (it) when parents use this one their child like they are some kind of animal. If you teach them from the beginning then you do not need one."

If I were judging this as a debate, I'd have to give equal points to both sides.

I never used a leash on my now 13-year-old son. At times in his younger years, he was a definite flight risk. He has Asperger's Syndrome (better known as high-functioning autism). In retrospect, there may have been a few times a kiddo leash might have helped. Mostly, I remember just gripping his little hand as firmly as possible hoping to create an adhesive bond he couldn't break. It didn't always work. When he was four, the little bugger managed to get away from his father and me as we were walking in downtown Anchorage. His urge to explore could not be satisfied between mom and dad on that wide sidewalk, and he headed directly to the moving traffic. It happened instantly. What was a simple walk from the restaurant to the parked car a few blocks away could have turned tragic. My parents were visiting and it was Grandpa who quickly swept the child out of danger.

Last December, we took him to Disneyworld. Even at age 13, I was watching him like a hawk. I made sure he was always in my visual field. Had we taken him at a much younger age, I might well have opted for a kiddo harness/leash or whatever you want to call it. In that fast-paced crowded atmosphere, it would have brought me some peace of mind. And in retrospect, maybe we shouldn't have taken a four-year-old to that swanky restaurant downtown. Knowing our son's tendencies, we should not have been so caught up in the moment and been a bit more alert on that sidewalk. Some of the places and situations that pro-leashing parents feel justified in taking their kids perhaps aren't the most appropriate places for children who are still learning the ins and outs of safety.

Child leashes are a legitimate tool, but not always the best one. Good planning and discretion — knowing your child well enough to anticipate whether you can keep him safe in a particular location — are perhaps even more important.

What do you think of kids on leashes? Would you ever leash your child?

Image Source: The Consumerist via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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