Every time I see a child on a leash, or safety harness as others call it, I cringe a bit.
For some reason, it always reminds me of someone walking a pet.
Sure, the harnesses may come disguised as a cute, little fuzzy animal backpack. To me, it seems like the leash doesn’t help teach the child what they really need to know – not to run away from their caregiver.
As a parent of two kids, I get it. Toddlers like to make a dash for it when you least expect it. I don’t even think they know where they’re going most of the time, they just like to run – and watch their mom, dad or caregiver chase them.
For me, I was never tempted to control a child with a harness or leash. Hand holding, strollers, carts or carrying - along with teaching the importance of staying by mom and dad - ended up being my solution.
I’m not alone in my anti-leash parenting policy. In an April 2011 piece on Parents.com, the writer expressed her viewpoint on children harnesses/leashes by writing “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.”
On the flip side, Huffington Post blogger Charlotte Hilton Andersen shares her advocacy for a child leash, writing “The leash has been a lifesaver for us. There is a year or two where children are old enough (and coordinated enough) to run away very quickly and yet are too young to fully understand and comply with all the rules of inhabiting public places.” For many parents, they feel using a leash/harness for a child it is a matter of safety.
Parents, what do you think? Would you or do you use a harness or leash for your child? Why or why not? Do you think harnesses/leashes are a safety necessity or demeaning to children? Share your thoughts in comments!
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