For parents, they may feel challenged to keep their child safe while crossing the street or navigating a busy place. Some feel confident simply by holding their child’s hand, while others turn to their seat belts, putting their child on a leash to ensure that their little one stays close.
While some moms and dads think that a belt with a strap, shoulder straps and wristbands is just another step in their daily routine, others think that putting their child on a leash is definitely not. But are there cases where tying children is the right choice? Is it okay to put your child on a leash? Or is the practice harmful and outdated for infants?
For some parents, the leash works
Arieal DeLotte, an Austin-based mom who blogs at TAJ Things, has two children, ages 2 and 3. DeLotte believes that if the leash is in the name of safety and risk prevention, it’s worth the weird look – and that’s perfectly fine for children.
“I have used a leash on my children twice when I was alone with them in a huge crowd,” he says. “If I ignore the environment or if I want them to feel free and live an event, I will bring my leash, which connects the three of us together.”
DeLotte shares that from her experience, the leash has given her children more independence: She does not believe it will have an adverse effect later in life.
“Personally, I do not think it will cause them problems on the line, as it is not a continuous practice,” he says. “There must be a large crowd in an unknown place without help to bathe my children. And before we bathe, I explain to them so they can wait for what to happen.”
While DeLotte has found a way to incorporate practice when it makes sense to her and her family, other parents believe there is no situation that justifies tying up.
Experts examine children and leashes
Kimberly King is a bodybuilding educator, parenting expert and author I said no! A child-to-child guide to maintaining private parts. As a specialist and mom of three of her own children, she feels that seeing a child with a leash is a big red flag.
“I’ve seen people with their children on leashes and I just want to scream,” King, who lives in Shelton, Conn, told Yahoo Life. “Young growing people – children – need to develop self-control and body autonomy. Putting a child on the leash limits choices and sends the wrong message.”
King believes that using a leash, parents send their children a very clear message: “You have no choice, you can not be trusted, you do not listen.” He also believes that the use of a leash on children has the potential to create psychological problems in the future.
In addition to the risks to their mental health, King shares that leashes can pose a risk to physical safety.
“Straps can pose a risk of falling, a risk of drowning and are a disaster waiting to happen, as it is very easy to stumble on your own strap,” he says. “If you are not careful, a strapped child can still run suddenly and take you by surprise, causing you to burst and fall.”
King says that in addition to travel and falls, parents can accidentally cause serious injury to their children by using leashes. “A parent can pull a leash and pull the child back very hard, resulting in a head injury,” he says. “Children have two legs, not four, so a child is far from suddenly becoming unstable.”
When tying makes sense
Jen Bradley is a mom of five who runs the Jen Bradley Moms parenting site. Wichita Falls, Texas mom remembers a special trip that prompted her family to try the leash. “When my two older boys were very naughty toddlers, we made a trip to the southwestern United States,” he says. “I was definitely anxious to take them to the Grand Canyon because I knew how much they loved running. “I also read that strollers were not ideal for touring the Grand Canyon and I did not want to invest in big backpacks either.”
Bradley found tiny backpack straps online and gave them to her boys, who liked to have their own little bags. “There was enough space in the backpack to fit a small snack,” he recalls. “They really didn’t even seem to realize they were stuck on a leash.”
Bradley says that while the straps never became part of their daily expenses, they perfectly met a specific need. “Because the straps were doubled as backpacks and we only used them a few times in very specific situations, it was an excellent, albeit temporary, solution,” he says.
What do adults who were lame as children think?
Michael Freeby, photographer and host Future fashion icons The podcast says that as a child, his mother used a leash. He thinks about how memory makes him feel like an adult. “My mom once put me on a leash – the way I feel about this line is completely embarrassing,” she says. “That should be enough to convince anyone not to put their child on a leash.”
While Freeby says he does not feel a long-term trauma from the incident as his mother only tried it once or twice, he still feels the practice was “disrespectful”.
“It is traumatic from a wider field, because it is an incident in a legacy of disrespect,” he says. “When a parent puts their child on a leash, you have to realize that it’s not just that: If they are willing to put their child on a leash, what other selfish things are they willing to do? “The bar of respect for the child is very low, at least; and yes, it was uncomfortable.”
What is the alternative to putting a child on a leash?
King says, “Parents [should] teach children to develop self-control and follow rules to be safe over time with support, guidance and communication.
“Most young children have impulse control problems,” he adds, “and for children with impulse control problems, active adult supervision is always a better choice than a leash.”
For parents who are thinking of committing, King shares options that may be worth trying first.
“If you are worried about losing your child at an airport or theme park, put it in a stroller or backpack,” he says. “It will be safe to run. If you are moving a group of 18 preschoolers on an excursion, try using a long ribbon to simply hold or the old-fashioned handle.”
King reminds us that every family is different: At the end of the day, parents get to know their child better.
“If your child has developmental disabilities or communication challenges, I can understand why they may need some type of child-friendly backpack strap system,” he says. “Some children can not listen to instructions or control impulses. In these cases, be very careful with your child to prevent accidents. If you have tried everything else and believe that the leash is really a safety benefit, then go ahead. “
Do you want lifestyle and wellness news to be transmitted to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Life Newsletter.