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Child Abuse. Harness, leash ,child, dog.

Updated on September 14, 2009

My Bunny

Can you tell the difference?
Can you tell the difference?

Mothers Love

Being a mother of two children (6 and 18m) is my daily job. My responsibilities range from cooking, cleaning, diaper changing, up keeping house and making sure everyone is fed during the day. Everything that a nanny gets paid for plus we have to find time to love them. So you get the picture it’s a busy lifestyle that keeps me on my feet the whole day.

My first child was a very inexperienced experience if you know what I mean. After learning and experimenting with my first child the second one became more manageable. So a simple thing like the harness can really mean a great deal when it comes to spending all day, busy or slow, with your child. Back then I never even heard of the "leash." Now it’s a different story. I use this marvelous harness everywhere we go. I strongly believe and support the idea of using a harness on your children. I will list the pros and cons of the "leash" in a bit, but I really wanted to share some of my personal experiences while using a child harness. If you opt to use the assistance of the “leash” you might have to deal with the same issues.

Mothers Love

Child Safety
Child Safety

Safety First

Social Opinions

Anyone that used a harness on their kids knows this. ATTENTION. Everywhere we go with the "leash" on our toddler we stir up opinions and reactions. It is amazing how much attention and controversy we create when we are seen with the "leash" in public. No matter where we go we will get into a discussion about the support or disgust that the people have for the "leash." I would love to take a hidden camera and record all the interesting reactions that we get on a daily basis.

Humans are psychologically conditioned with agreeing to normalities. And what we are used to seeing is a dog on a leash and this becomes normal to us. When we see kids a leash we automatically make a connection between the parent-child-leash-dog. And there goes, “oh my god those parents are treating those kids like….” It is not so for all people of course but for the most part people think a child on a leash is abnormal because there is supposed to be a dog in that place instead.

To be honest, I thought it was a little funny the first time I saw a child on a leash. I was used to seeing dogs on leashes and so I giggled at the sight of a child on a “leash.”. I never thought how convenient such a thing can be to a parent until I tried it. When I will look back at my “raising children days;” I will certainly remember the constant attention that came along with this little clever gadget. To me it is really a joy to talk to and study people. If the “leash,” doesn’t help you at keeping your child safe and secure, it will sure make you into a local celebrity.

Hate It, Love it

Catch Her

Both of my kids started running at 9 months.
Both of my kids started running at 9 months.

The Third Arm.

We can do it.
We can do it.

The Good Stuff.

She was a runner and I honestly regret not having the harness to help when needed. She was all over the place and I was all over the place running after her. I'm not saying that you should always keep your children on a "leash" but it is definitely a necessity for a day to day on the go family. After meeting many different people and discussing the pros and cons of the leash I feel there is only one vital fact to consider.

Having a harness on your child in a busy area such as a park, street, airport, supermarket and etc., means safety for your child. Safety means peace of mind for you.

There are many people on this planet around 6.72 billion or so. They all have their opinions and mind conditioning philosophy's about life. A child harness is not a new invention. It has been around since the 17th century and so has the controversy. I didn't forget to list all the pros and cons of the harness because it’s quite simple really. How it looks is just a matter of choice over safety. And safety comes first.


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    • profile image

      Jenny Jay 24 months ago from Parker, CO

      I felt the same exact way.

      Before toddler: "That is wrong and cruel"

      After toddler: "Won't leave home without one!"

    • kcslife profile image

      kcslife 5 years ago from Sunny south florida

      I did this with our son when he was 2-3 years old, he loved it. We were at a crowded restaurant in a theme park and he was on his teddy bear harness when an man in his early 20's started calling him like a dog. I realized he was whistling at him and saying, "Come here, come here,little dog." My son was actually going towards him. I, being momma bear, told him that he wasn't being funny and he needed to quit, what if someone was trying to lure his kid. I gave my son to his aunt when he called me some names and got in my face (him being over 6 ft and me being 5'2). I stood my ground, only to find out this person was a camp counselor for a summer program. His boss was not happy with him and she started yelling at him. Either way... I decided even though I thought it was a great idea, it ended up being better to keep my baby in the stroller and my son in hand. (I even made sure not to get the dog one or the monkey one, so no one would have comments to make). So I guess it does really make a difference the type of people you notice around you. I would not have been so upset if he just stared or started laughing with the people around him, but after that expierence, I couldn't use it for my daughter. I took the leash part away and they play with it like a backpack. But thankfully she's not as crazy as her brother and sticks with me.

    • profile image

      Stephanie 5 years ago

      I think as a parent our responsibility is keeping our children safe. Let's face it, we live in a society where we are not safe. I don't care what people think of me or how I raise my child. I will always keep him secure and safe, harness will protect a very restless 2.5 year old from running into a busy area. The parents on here that criticize have a right to their opinion but please respect our right to parent our children the way we feel protects them.

    • profile image

      Brooke 5 years ago

      So nice to hear all the nice comments! I have recently started using a harness ( I do NOT call it a leash) with my 2 year old! He is a very very active little boy! He will hold my hand, but when he is ready up run off he squirms and pulls and yank his hand sometimes freeing himself running to dangerous territory… and sad to say have left bruises on his wrist from the struggle :( BUT with the leash he can have his independence that he wants but it keeps him in a safe do's dance from me & he still reaches for my hand… but when he wants to let go he can. I do not always use it… just at parks( like zoos, circus, amusement parks ect). I didn't even know that it was a controversial issue until I received stares & comments people would make. I never have looked at it as a "leash" but as a parents who is trying to keep their child safe but allowing some independancy. I guess I'll have to get use to the rude people though :)

    • profile image

      Sarah 5 years ago

      Haha... ever tried telling a 21 month old, strong willed little boy to hold your hand?

      My son is a very sweet little guy and listens sometimes... but when he's excited and wants to go-go-go, he isn't going to hold my hand for any reasonable amount of time. He will sit down and refuse to get up until you let go, and he'll run. If you pick him up, huge squirming tantrum. He'll tolerate the stroller for a while, but eventually gets really frustrated.

      But on a leash? He can go-go-go and explore to his heart's content! He really loves it, and it teaches him to stay within a certain distance. He still reaches for my hand, and I tend to hold it as often as he'll let me. The leash is just a safety measure in places that aren't so kid-safe. Of course in places like a park I'm going to give him free roam.

      I've been to birthday parties where plenty of other kids his age stick with their parents. Must be nice! My son is the one that constantly, CONSTANTLY runs to the ends of the yard, toward the road, toward anything that catches his interest. Imagine that in a mall/store/hiking trail/airline... oy.

    • profile image

      Tina 5 years ago

      The simple thing to do is to make your child listen to you. You tell the child to hold your hand, then child should hold your hand, who is stronger here the child or the parent, how can a child get away from a grown adult? Children need to learn how to listen. I have raised 2 children and both always knew to hold my hand, because if they didn't something bad could happen to them, like getting hit by a car or kidnapped. Leashes are for dogs not kids.

    • profile image

      Jen 5 years ago

      Before having a child I thought I would never use a leash. Well my daughter is 17 months and been walking since 10. She refuses to hold my hand, be strapped into a stroller or shopping cart without screaming at the top of her lung as if I'm killing her. She wants to be independent and the "leash" give hers that ability without getting hurt or running off in the blink of an eye(which I'm sure you all know they are like lighting bolts at this age) I know to some people it may look ridiculous but I cant even make it through Target without my daughter making a scene in the shopping cart not to mention hurting herself while trying to escape the lap buckle and if I left her walk she takes off. I am going to get a "leash" today hopefully it's a safe alternative.

    • profile image

      kiki 5 years ago

      I am so happy to see the supportive comments on this site about harnesses for children. I have a VERY active, curious and precautious almost 2 year old. He runs everywhere; he never ever wants to hold our hand. He doesn’t want to sit in his stroller- he wants to get out and explore. He has run into the street more than once. He doesn’t yet have the mental capacity to understand danger, or that he has to stay close to mummy in public places. He is very friendly, he goes with anyone- when we are in the park (no cars around) we let him run ahead and be free as much as he wants- he once ran right into the arms of a strange old man- who lifted him up and twirled d him around and he was as happy as can be- needless to say we were shocked!

      I have used a harness with him at the airport and got lots of shocked and disapproving stairs, but I don’t care anymore. It is better to be safe than sorry. Children are unpredictable. When he does hold your hand- a second later he pulls it out and is off. I know the harness works for me and I don’t care what other people think.

      Before I had children, I also thought it was demeaning. But now that I have a little boy, I think it is only common sense when you have a ‘runner’

    • profile image

      Rachel 5 years ago

      Marilyn and Eric need a reality check. Last year, here in the Bay Area, CA a 2-year-old girl was raped by an adult male in a store aisle with grandma one aisle away. Marilyn, it's not about selfish parents wanting an easier life. It's safety in the REAL WORLD. I am getting safety leashes for my twin toddlers so they can get out more AND be safe.

    • profile image

      Daniel 5 years ago

      A 3 year old girl was run over in Sydney inner city today when she pulled her hand out of her mothers and chased her hat that had blown off in the wind.

      I'd take years of disapproving looks of people for just one smile from my daughter. Heck I'd take those looks for one dirty nappy, and I know this poor lady would too.

    • profile image

      Eric 5 years ago

      I'm disgusted and embarrassed for you. I'd be in a bloody pulp on the ground before I would let someone, my wife included, do this to my child.

    • profile image

      Marilyn 5 years ago

      I keep reading people making the comment about safety, however I watched a man at Disneyland today with a kid on the leash and the kid hurt himself on a table because instead of using his hands to pick up his kid who fell into the table he tugged on the leash. It is no substitute for common sense. Being a parent is sacrifice and I think the leash is a poor shortcut. It may make your life easier but is definitely not giving your kid any advantages.

    • profile image

      Curiosity 6 years ago

      What happens when you need to walk the dog and bring your kids with you? Wouldn't that be sending bad messages to your children how about their value and how to behave?

      I am an animal lover and my dogs are a part of my family, I might add....

    • Schwag profile image

      Schwag 6 years ago from Clarksville, TN

      I have never considered purchasing leashes for my two toddlers (ages 2 and 3), until I read this hub. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Laura  6 years ago

      I am looking for a leash b/c I am travelling with my 2.5-year-old alone and the last time I did this he kept running off in the airport and I was not supposed to leave the baggage unattended, it was a nightmare. The only option was to strap him in to his car seat on wheels, which we ended up doing. We will then be in NYC and although I have walked with a young child in the city, I'd rather not take the chance that he run into a crowd. I would not use it all the time as I found out that training a child to obey when you tell them to "halt" is of the utmost safety importance, but for a short trip, I'll use it.

    • profile image

      Sarah 6 years ago


      I'm 28 and don't have children (yet!), we don't have pets at the moment either, so I hope my opinion will not be held as too inexperienced! ;-)

      What I did have though, was a leash when I was a child. And to give a different slant on the above..... I absolutely love and respect my parents all the more for caring and prioritising for me and my siblings as much as they did. Our safety and security was obviously worth more than any social stigmatism! And they have more than enough tales to tell about the leash serving its purpose! I'll be buying one the minute I pop!

      P.S. Now living in a capital city, I would (personally) consider it a form of negligence on my part to NOT have a leash for my toddler. Conforming to society is not worth the risk!! ;-)

      Godspeed, all you good parents. ;-)

    • profile image

      anon 6 years ago

      I just wished all of you people who are "pro" harness lived in my town! I just bought one... can't wait to use it and see what type of reactions I get. I'd like to see what sort of grip the nay-sayers would have when holding my VERY independent, very speedy 18-month old's hand. I agree that it's not in lieu of proper teaching, but like someone said, a busy airport or festival/fair is not the time to test the waters.

    • profile image

      AJ 6 years ago

      I think they are a great idea.

      My son is very big for his age (we're a tall family) and too heavy to carry or put in a baby-backpack type thing for long stretches, and he doesn't want to be strapped into a stroller all the time, besides a stroller is big and cumbersome and hard to take some places. He's been walking since barely ten months and still too young to understand 'danger' or 'no' entirely and no matter how attentive a parent it only takes a puppy or other really compelling distraction on the other side of a busy street to have an ordinary walk end in disaster. I don't think they should be used all the time or on older kids, but for fast impulsive toddlers they are a very good step between kid pulling away from your hand and kid dashing into traffic.

    • profile image

      Stun Gun 7 years ago

      No to fake stun guns!

      Buy a legal one now for your protection.

    • profile image

      DeAnne 7 years ago

      It breaks my heart when I see people being critical of each other. You do not know what someone's situation is and you don't know that if you ended up going through what they are dealing with that you that you wouldn't end up doing the same thing. You might think you wouldn't until you actually are in the situation. Anyway. I would probably not use a harness regularly but we are going on a trip to Disneyland and I will consider getting one for my extremely spirited and curious (not just according to me, but just about everyone that I come across, even complete strangers) 3 year old son. He has absolutely refused to ride in a stroller for about a year. And holding his hand for 8 hours at a crowded theme park is not going to cut it. He is so strong I can barely manage him as it is. He's 99th percentile for weight and height. He could get swept away in a rush of people no matter how close of an eye I think I might be able to keep on him in a split second. When I was young I went on a trip to Disneyland with my parents and we lost my then 10 year old brother during the crowd at Fantasmic. Fortunately he was old enough to have the sense to just stay put instead of go wandering around and we were able to find him. But just the other day I was shopping with my son and I had him right next to me talking to him, when I reached up to grab something, and he was gone. I was frantically searching the store. It was the first time I've ever had that happen and it was the most terrible feeling. Fortunately by the time I made it up to the front of the store he was there with one of the store employees. But he had actually walked right out of store and some blessed woman had found him and brought him inside. I'm still beating myself up about it. When I talked to my son about it, he said, " I was being careful," and I think what he meant by that was he was watching for cars. See, he's 3. He just doesn't have the sense or judgment or knowledge. He didn't even realize anything was wrong. He didn't even show the slightest bit of fear that he was lost or anything. Plus, I've seen some that are little backpacks instead of the animals so I figure that way, he can carry a couple snacks, which there is no way he can go without, and a few small toys and diversions, ie. bubbles, silly putty, things like that. On another note, I have a sister with 4 kids, one of which is her 6 year old son who is autistic. He is completely non-verbal and really has no communication abilities at all. He requires some very special care and attention but she also has 3 other children to take care of. She has used these harnesses at times when going places like the zoo. She doesn't use them all the time, but there have been times when she really could not have done it without them. It literally would have been the choice between either using them so her children could participate, or having them miss out. Without seeing what she deals with, I don't think you could understand. She is the most amazing hands-on, homeschooling, attachment-style, loving, and not just to her own kids, mom I have ever met.

    • profile image

      pfarley 7 years ago

      For those who don't have children with a negative opinion on a child harness, keep your mouth shut. My toddler is at that stage where she wants her independence. She doesn't want me to hold her hand, she doesn't like to sit in a shopping cart, she always wants to jump out of the stroller, but she's too young to venture out on her own. I also have a 10 month old and when I take them out in public, I don't have to hinder my toddler from wanting to move a little faster while tending to my other child. It is a benefit for everyone.

    • profile image

      bob 7 years ago

      I remember being put in one by my grandmother when I was 3, and pulling against her and trying to squirm out of it with all my might. After resigning myself to it, she eventualy would take the leash off the harness, unless I

      started playing "run off" games again. All she had to do

      after some time was call my name and hold the leash, and I would run right back to her, to avoid the leash being

      re-connected. This is the same way I trained my daughter,

      from 15 months, to four years.

    • profile image

      btousson 7 years ago

      Well, my child is a live wire and I had, on a few occasions people trying to take her out of her stroller and even once out of my husband's arms. He was stunned at first then gained his senses and turned away and shouldered the individual away trying to take hold of her. Every single time it was two women working in pairs it seems. I/we were just being nice and my daughter smiles and waves at everyone -- and didn't realize we were being 'marked'. Fortunately I carry Mace and a stun gun and wear it in a very flashy way on my belt loop. I displayed it and the people moved off - probably looking for some easier target (like a mom who didn't leash her kids or who isn't paying enough attention to the crowd around herself). I can hardly think about how many other women out there get their children snatched or killed because they didn't believe in 'leashing' their children when they knew there was a slim chance they might lose attention on their children for a split second or they knew their children could struggle out of their grip and dash away to danger's waiting arms in a split second (which is all it takes). When a woman thinks that she can chase them down the minute they dash, is the minute she loses. I was watching a show that showed how quickly a person can snatch a baby and an 8yr old in less than a minute and be gone - even with CAMERAS on the area. Would one let their belief that leashes only belong on dogs dictate the reality of child safety? I can say this, it is an offensive thought to think that some people think this way and then they get their kids snatched or killed because of it.

    • profile image

      Liz 7 years ago

      I totally agree with toddler leash use. I'm 36 months pregnant with my first and after all my reading i don't see why people have such an issue with the toddler leash/harness.

      As a kid I remember being curious about everything, you want to touch and look at everything. Put yourself in your toddlers shoes. You're walking through a store all kinds of things to see and touch. Yet you can't leave the stroller or are forced to hold your parents hand while they're picking through apples and you want to touch the fuzzy kiwi's. Strollers are BORING!!! The toddler leash gives your child a little freedom of movement to potentially amuse themselves and you don't have to worry about how far they're going to wonder or who they may wonder into. I agree it shouldn't be an everyday, everytime time kind of thing but in crowded and noisy places what is more practical? Your child sitting quietly in their stroller for an hour or two solid? keep dreaming!

    • mollymalone profile image

      mollymalone 8 years ago

      Thank you! I used to see the occasional leash-wielding parent and wonder if maybe this person hadn't confused her child for a pet. Even after my first was born, I found the sight of children on leashes a bit disconcerting. But my eldest was a docile, cautious child who I couldn't get to LET GO of my hand.

      Now after having a "runner" who has more than once fled into oncoming traffic by somehow slipping my death-grip on her wrist, I can certainly see the value. It might even allow her more freedom to roam safely.

      Popular opinion for or against aside...I don't think it's as bad an idea as it might look.

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 8 years ago from USA

      Very good hub! May be "leash" for a kid seems weird, but it is only because it is something comparatively new. I am for this! When my son was little (way back back in Russia), I used to tie a long scarf around him, he was fine with it, we as if "played" a horse. And actually I got compliments for this from people.

    • Info Help profile image

      Info Help 8 years ago from Chicago

      Great Hub! I used to use "the leash" as it's called when my daughter was younger. It saved me a lot of time and hassle and kept her safe!

    • hinckles koma profile image

      hinckles koma 8 years ago from nyc

      “There is too much going on in this world to worry about how others may feel about using a child leash. Better safe than sorry.”

      My point exactly. people love judge especially if it is socially questionable.

      “I wish I could find a rope with four little attachments. It's hard to go into Wal-Mart with four little kids and not come out with just three.”

      Safety is definitely the main issue here and I'm all for safety. When I was 5 some gypsies tried to take me away from my grandma at a busy rail station in Kiev. They actually grabbed me and ran and a police officer stopped them. If the child is smaller it is even easier to snatch them. That was traumatic I would be horrified if that would happed to my kids and I just feel like this harness idea should be more commercialized then bashed by social media like it is.

    • janddplus4 profile image

      janddplus4 8 years ago

      Just remember that opinions are like butts -- everyone has one, and most of them stink. You do what you have to for the benefit of your children. I wish I could find a rope with four little attachments. It's hard to go into Wal-Mart with four little kids and not come out with just three.

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 8 years ago from Georgia

      I used the leash for my eldest because she was always dashing away especially in crowded stores. Now that I have two toddlers, I always bring along my double stroller and when either one of them can't listen and decide that they want to dash off, I put them in the stroller instead. I think that as long as you are not harming your child, you have to do what works for you when you're trying to keep your child safe. There is too much going on in this world to worry about how others may feel about using a child leash. Better safe than sorry.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 8 years ago

      I have minded my neice and nephew at the same time.They can be quite a handful if your not always watching both at the same time.Which we know is impossible.I wouldn't use the leash but if it works for you how can I argue with that.There safety is everything.

    • hinckles koma profile image

      hinckles koma 8 years ago from nyc

      Both of my kids are like rockets. Sometimes i look at those kids that are passive and wonder is it my fault my kids aren't like that. On the other hand the active kids are showing their strong character early and i think its excellent.

      The harness for children was probably used even before the 17th century but its first documented use was in the 17th century in the Netherlands.


    • claygeorgia profile image

      claygeorgia 8 years ago from Texas

      I think the harness is fabulous! I wish I had it with my two kids! I can think of many times it would come in handy. Some people have children that are passive and will stand right by their side without taking off to see the puppy dog at the corner. I was not that person. Both of my children were everywhere. In these times (and in the 17th century) this is very necessary!

    • hinckles koma profile image

      hinckles koma 8 years ago from nyc

      My father always said the same thing, "if it ain't broke don't fix it," lol. I just wanted to shed some light on something that should be simple really but gets way out of control. What's the big deal? Parents should feel proud of how they choose to raise their children, especially if it works for us and our kids. Holding an open minded view of things around you makes life easier and simpler for all. Anyways I enjoyed your hubs, keep them coming.

      Thanks HK

    • valeriebelew profile image

      valeriebelew 8 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      Actually, some of us are also pretty particular about how we treat our pets; however, this makes more sense to me than leaving things to chance. My mother was very careful, but I remember running out into the streets of Atlanta as a child before she could stop me, and being grabbed by a young black girl who feared Mama would be angry (this was pre-civil rights, as I am 58, soon to be 59). Mama thanked her.

      Kids are not predictable, and even well trained kids forget to mind, just as dogs do. Dogs have leashes for a reason, the same one that also makes them a good idea for kids. People also have silly ideas about what is nice and abusive for dogs, for instance some think you should never have an outside dog. Well, opinions are many. If it works, don't fix it. LOL. Enjoyed your article. Thanks for joining my fan club. V

    • hinckles koma profile image

      hinckles koma 8 years ago from nyc

      You are right it first looks weird but the advantages are huge. You can always hold your child's hand even with the harness. Agree with me that a lot of useful things look weird but when you try it for your self that note changes.

    • profile image

      Wendy 8 years ago

      I just think it looks weird and i would rather hold the child's hand or something like that