I’m Getting Him a Leash

Posted by on September 27, 2007

Er…I meant a “child safety harness” — I wouldn’t want to get anyone’s panties in a wad by suggesting my son is something akin to a dog because I used the “L” word.

Can you tell I’m feeling a little um…defensive about this topic?

Honestly, I don’t understand why child safety harnesses OR leashes are such a freaking hot button issue. People put their babies to sleep cribs (WITH THOSE JAIL-LIKE BARS! OMG!) and are willing to strap their kids into carseats and strollers for safety reasons without hesitation. So what’s the difference exactly?

It seems to me that if someone is concerned enough about their child’s safety that they are willing to brave such harsh judgment and scrutiny from gawking onlookers who know nothing about them or their child, they must be a caring and presumably decent parent.

So why AM I willing to brave such such harsh judgment and scrutiny anyway? What pushed me to the bleeding edge of parental sanity and into the realm of kiddie bondage?

Let me tell you…

My son (2 yrs) is a Houdini. And a runner. And a handjerker.

Get your mind out of the gutter!

What I mean is that he’s very capable of breaking free of my hand when I’m holding it (and then he runs like the wind, giggling maniacally) or he’ll allow himself to drop and hang by his arm until it feels like I might pull it out of the socket and I look like I’m abusing him when I’m totally NOT!

P can also wiggle out of a 5 point stroller harness as well as a waist-strap in a shopping cart which then frees him up to stand in the cart and even climb out if he so desires. And he DOES desire…

And yes, if I had absolutely nothing else to do when I go out in public but stand next to the cart or stroller and stare at him, waiting for him to activate his special escape powers, then sure I could make sure none of the aforementioned ever happens.

But I can’t. I have things to do when I leave the house. I don’t load up the kids (plural, which means I have TWO kids to watch over) and go places so I can stand guard over my son and get absolutely nothing accomplished.

Unfortunately, being a mom doesn’t mean I get to stop grocery shopping or running errands or walking on sidewalks near busy streets or in parking lots or anything else — although I really wish it did.

My other child needs some of my attention, too, so no, I can’t “just watch him better” to make sure my son doesn’t pull any of his tricks. To me, suggesting that it’s just that simple implies a certain lack of experience with children and what caring for them actually involves, which is a LOT of patience, as well as the good sense to know when regular safety measures (i.e. hand-holding and safety belts) aren’t quite safe enough.

So I’m thinking of getting one of these contraptions. It’s definitely a leash of sorts but it’s disguised as a cute little backpack so as to fool onlookers and spare myself some stinkeye.

I get to hold the tail of the monkey, which is a little weird, but it looks less bondage-y and leash-like than those other harnesses.

Doesn’t it?

A little?

Come on! Help me out here, will ya?

I have no idea how my son will react to wearing one of these but I have a feeling he’ll be jerking on it until he gets used to it and probably fussing a lot, too.

Trust me, neither of those things is particularly appealing to me but chasing my son through stores, schools, libraries, parking lots, sidewalks and other places or having one more well-meaning person tell me that “allowing” my son to stand up in the seat of a shopping cart is dangerous (NO! Really?) like I APPROVE of it or something is even less appealing.

So even if you think I’m the worst mom on the planet for considering a leash (one in disguise, no less) wish me luck! I’ll report my findings, for better or for worse, after I purchase the Necessary Evil and we have a chance to use it a few times.


Oh, and just to provide a little perspective, read THIS and then tell me I’m a bad mom. (Thanks to Tracey for the link and for allowing me to instantly feel better about my parenting choices and skills)


  • Kelley says:

    Heck I wish I could get one to fit my 8 year old!
    Don’t worry about those who give you stares, they are probably those that let their kids poop wherever they feel like it and let their kids ‘self discipline’. I know someone like that. Apparently a 18mth old can learn from her mistakes and it is OK to spit in peoples faces cause it is a form of self expression. No is a bad word, but apparently fu#kead isn’t.
    As for the link, Oh My Freaking God! That is truly unbelievable.

  • tanyetta says:

    i don’t blame you. i LOVE the looks from the ‘perfect’ moms that you’re going to get. love it…….whatever! they can go and bite!!!!!-the harnesses are on sale at walmart for $10. get one! it’s better to be safe! did i tell you about the time my son ran out of the car into the parkinglot almost to get hit by a car and i snatched him back so hard, i gave him neck burns from his shirt?????? well, nevermind. ;)

  • Working Girl says:

    Have you considered duct tape? Seriously…I used to judge people who used leashes on their children until I had children. I never got one, but only because I was so broke…

  • barbex says:

    I’m with you in this. My son is a runner too and I’m just lucky that my older son is such a responsible person. I did not have to get him a leash yet but that is just because of my atomic hand grip.
    Hang in there and think about the everlasting mantra of all parents worldwide: “This too shall pass!”

  • Snoskred says:

    People who judge on this issue need only be reminded of the Jamie Bulger case in the UK, where a 2 year old child was abducted by 11 year olds, then brutally murdered and left on train tracks to be run over. His mother was at the butcher ordering meat and the child was there one moment, gone the next. I’m all for getting one if you need it.


  • ~JJ! says:

    I’ve said it before…I’d rather have my kid on a LEASH than dead in a ditch.

    Go girl.

    I support you 1000000000%

  • MamaLee says:

    I say F**K em. We do what we have to to protect our children. And if some people have an issue with other parents’ choices and like to get all judgmental, they can kiss my fat BUTT.

    If I needed to put my kid on a leash, I would in a flash. Trust your instincts and do it. You’ll get a lot of support. xoxo

  • Kristen says:

    I say go with the “It’s got a monkey and a pocket so it’s not really a leash” leash.

    And just don’t wear a FREE BIRD shirt while you’ve got your kid on one, and I say, WHAT THE HELL!

  • Wander says:

    Good God, I can’t believe this is still an issue. I went through this almost 30 years ago when my kids were small. My twin boys were like your P; it was a nightmare when I had to take them out because they would pull away and go in different directions. I bought tethers (as they were called back then and weren’t disguised and looked more like a pet leash). I had to grow thick skin because of all the snide comments. Bottom line though, their safety was more important to me than anything that anyone had to say. And, in all honesty, I do it all over in a heart beat if I had to do it today because the world is a sick place to live.

  • b*babbler says:

    I completely support you on this. My comment when people bring this up is do you value your dog more than your child? Because no one thinks twice about putting a dog on a leash.

    I’m with the commenter above – better a child on a leash (harness, etc) than dead in a ditch.

    My nephew once let go of my hand and dashed out into a busy four lane road where traffic regularly travels at speeds of 70 km/h. I immediately ran after him, but we both could have been killed. That is why I’m not against the leash.

  • slackermommy says:

    I never judge a mom for doing what she needs to do to keep her child safe.

    My husband just said the other day that we should put a leash on our 1 year old because she’s a runner. And she’s fast. Scares the crap out of me.

  • RWA says:

    Well, that should work – until he figures out how to get out of that as well. Then you might just have to resort to a straitjacket.

    If people think this harness thing is bad, just wait until the straitjacket.

  • Crystal D says:

    Hi… We have 2 of those exact harness/backpacks. A Puppy and a Monkey. We don’t use them often, but we have a couple times. The “tail” is a little stretchy, but it will hold. And the “tails” also have a clip to detach them so if you/your kiddo hates it, it just becomes a tiny backpack.

  • Anne Glamore says:

    I’m totally in favor of it. And if anyone says anything to you, tell them to watch him while you shop.

  • I absolutely support you! Gotta do what you need to, and no one has the right to judge. But, taking your kids to a horror movie, um, OK, I will judge there, Ridiculous and shameful. Thanks for the link! I am feeling like mother-of-the-year. But, oh so sad for those kids…

  • I have one of those Olympic sprinter/Houdini tots too. It’s really no fun going out in public, is it? We were in Target the other day and I let him ride in the back of the cart. Except he wouldn’t. He kept trying to heft his leg over the side to leap out. I think I was in and out of that store in 6.2 seconds.

  • I am not one to stare at leashes. In fact, I don’t understand parents’ reluctance to use them; I give rude glances when children run wild and parents don’t do anything to control (or attempt to control) their kids. Why should it be my responsibility to watch someone’s else kid?

    Leash away, my dear, and may you find peace of mind.

  • Jackie says:

    I posted about this very topic. All of my parent commenters could totally relate to the desire for a “leash.”
    Before I scrolled down and saw you already had it in your post I was totally going to recommend the monkey backpack because I think they’re adorable.

  • Vicky says:

    I was just looking at one of those devices this week! I too have a Houdini and thinking that this might just be the ticket if not now, then definetly when the second one comes along. Thanks for posting about this topic because I was feeling a bit squeamish. You rock!

  • Tiffany says:

    With twins I instantly felt your pain. From the moment they learned to walk my life was over. They wouldn’t sit in a buggy, they would run off…of course in different directions and I was left feeling like every freakin’ outing was designed to make me miserable. I wanted to purchase the “leash” but because of backlash from family and friends I caved and didn’t get one. Go for it!!!!! Regain some sanity…you deserve it.

  • Marilyn says:

    I myself plan to get the same thing when my littlest becomes mobile. I’ll have a new baby to deal with and like you say, don’t want to have to chase him through the stores. Those things are pretty cute and as long as I don’t treat it as a stigma, I don’t think it will be. Good luck!

  • maggie says:

    Get a leash. Who cares what anyone else thinks? It’s your kid and his safety.

    Besides, that monkey thing is cute!

  • Shannon says:

    It doesn’t make you a bad mom to want one of these. It means you want your child to be safe. Since when does that equal “bad” parenting? And you’re right that those who criticize either have no experience with kids or were lucky enough to be blessed with clingy children who didn’t want to explore the world outside the safety bubble of mommy’s reach at breakneck speed.

  • Izzy. I have two runners. Who Think for Themselves, which will be great…later, when they develop some amount of judgment but sucks for us all now and is not good for my stress levels.

    Get the harness. Call it a leash.

    And big one finger salute to anyone else for whatever they think.

    Two things to keep in mind:

    1. My post “You don’t get to call me a terrible mother.”

    2. Miguelina’s post about who’s the boss of her kids and parenting: she is.

    You’re taking care of your kids, keeping them safe.

    You’re a great mom.

    And that’s as cute a leash as I’ve ever seen.

    Using My Words

  • I have that leash for Boo. She hates it. Well, she loves to wear it, she just gets really pissed off when I hold the tail. So that one didn’t work so well for us. But I’m all for them. I had one when my oldest was a toddler because he’d run off in a heartbeat. One woman made a snotting remark to me once about how I shouldn’t leash him like a dog and I said “Better leashed than dead because he ran in front of a car.” She shut up.

    Frankly, people should mind their own fucking business, but when has that ever happened?

  • biodtl says:

    A bad mother is not one who uses a harness. A bad mother is one who doesn’t do what she feels is right for her and her child because if what others think. Screw em!

    I never used one (though I considered it) because my kids just weren’t “runners”. My aunt had one, though (many years ago, when they were mush more “leash-y” and a woman came up to her in the mall and said, “You treat your son like a dog!” And my aunt acted surprised and said, “My son?” then looked at him and said, “Oh my God! I left Spot at daycare!”

  • mamatulip says:

    I always have and always will be pro leash. I don’t give a fuck what anyone else says or thinks about me, if it keeps my child safe and it works, I’m using it. Oliver is a darter — he’s given us a few scares before — and I have the exact thing you have pictured in your post. He LOVES it — calls it his “monkey” and asks to wear it when we go out. And I have found that since we started using it, he is much better when he’s not wearing it — he will walk beside me and hold my hand, which is something that, four months ago, he NEVER would have done.

    Go for it.

  • Jennie says:

    I’m not a mom, and although I’d love to be one in the near future, I do know (as a person) that judging another person’s child-raising choices without knowing their motivations or intentions is ignorant. And you should do whatever is best for YOU and YOUR family and YOUR kiddos.

    I’m also a little jealous of that monkey backpack (adorable!).

    I wonder what sort of odd glances I’d receive if I strapped one onto my husband, who has a tendency to wander, especially in Frys.

  • Jennifer says:

    What a cute alternative! Not that you need an alternative, mind you, as I’m continually baffled by people’s judgy mcjudgington attitudes.

    You gotta do what you gotta do to keep your kiddo safe and get your errands accomplished. No need to explain.

  • petite mommy says:

    I don’t really have an opinion one way or the other with these things. If it works for you, I say go for it! I’ve never had to use them but I think I would consider it if I took my 3 year old in a big amusement park or zoo since we no longer use the stroller much.

  • ShannMarie says:

    We have a Monkey Harness (Leash) and LOVE it. Saved us from many could have been horrible moments. When we forget to bring along for a trip we kick ourselves. Trying not to go into a store …my kid would be the one running under clothes rack screaming I see you… Peek a Boo.

  • GHD says:

    My mom is a pediatrician in the sticks and every time I talk to her she has some story about a patient of hers having been run over by the family truck, running out the front door into the street, or otherwise injured because they slipped away from a parents’ grasp for a millisecond

    Like any decent mom and grandma, her thoughts immediately goes to my son and “what if it happened to him” and her eyes well up with tears.

    I realize these examples are a bit extreme. Didn’t I mention she treats kids in the sticks…

    What I’m trying to say is there are far worse fates than being on a harness… where at least you know he’ll be safe.

    You’re a good mom.

  • I know how you feel. CJ is a lot like P in many ways, and although I’ve never gone for the leash, it’s less because of what others might think and more because I know she will fight it just as hard as anything else I try. So I’m the one manhandling my child in public, and I still get shit for her behavior.

    (I can’t help wondering what my Mile High Mamas dissenter would think of a leash. Maybe I’ll have to discuss leashes in an upcoming post, just for the fun of antagonizing him.)

  • Aprylsantics says:

    I have one. I will send it to you. You can decorate it to look like whatever you want. I say add some of those flashing battery operated Christmas lights, so that you really draw some attention—for real.

    I never used it (but had full damn intentions of using it whenever and wherever I wanted to) and ended up giving it to the kids to play “horse” with, but my son didn’t like playing the horse all of the time. I took it back and it’s sitting in my room waiting for a wayward toddler.

    As for the stinkeye. I get that anyway, since I tend to speak ‘loudly’ to my children when we are out and about. “THEY” can stuff their judgments unless they want to live my life with my kids on my terms and send me on an all expense paid vacation.

  • Barbex sound like a very reasonable gal…I like her advice. By the way, YOU are your kids mommy. Don’t worry about the stink eye. YOU get to make these decisions for your family and anybody who doesn’t like it can stick it, okay?

  • I’m personally not a fan of the leashes. It could be because just about every time I see them, they are being held by inattentive parents who are practically dragging their kids through stores. I’m certainly not saying you’d be one of those.

    My daughter went through an escape stage like that and every time I simply picked her up and we went home. It sucked sometimes when I needed to get stuff done, but she learned that I didn’t tolerate her running. Running meant we went home immediately and she stopped doing it.

    Every kid is different though, and so is every Mom. But like I said, the reason I’m not a fan isn’t something that I could ever imagine you doing so do what’s right for you.

  • I was leashed as a child. I think it is the only reason I still know my parents. I’m all for it.

  • Well, you don’t need any support from me the jury is in and your doing the only thing possible to minimize a accident…Good thinking and don’t under estimate your opinion… I have a saying, when you begin to make big deposits in my personal check book, and the deposits clear, you can give me your opinion…Good luck let us know how you like the harness.
    Dorothy from grammology
    call your grandma

  • Mary says:

    NO, you’re not a bad parent. I use one too. Lets put it this way… you have the choice to either strap them in a stroller where they will eventually start screaming because they want out, or you can put one of these bad boys on and let the kid have a little supervised independence. They are happy to roam semi-free therefore making your errand running a more pleasurable experience for the both of you.

    Either way, you are going to have people starting whether it be a harness (my 6 year asks if she can put the leash on her 2 yr old sister LOL), or because your child is screaming at the top of his/her lungs because their butt hurts from sitting for so long.

    And either way… I say screw those people. you do what is right for you and your family and stare the idiots down who dare question your choices. That’s what I do.

  • Jessica says:

    Just remember, this will provide your other child with hours – perhaps years – of amusement. Nearly 35 years later, I STILL relish the fact the my brother needed to be on a leash, and I didn’t, because I was PERFECT! Heh.

    Even then, people would sometimes say nasty things in my mom’s direction, to which I distinctly remember her saying, “YOU want to scrape his dead body out of the road?” Feel free to use that.

  • Sueb0b says:

    Working Girl stole my comment about the duct tape. Evil minds think alike.

  • margalit says:

    Try being a single mom of twin houdinis. I leashed both of my kids when we went out because it wasn’t safe otherwise. I don’t care WHAT people thought, my kid being safe and sound is more important than stranger’s nasty thoughts. Just ignore anyone that gives you the evil eye. You know your son best and by protecting him, you’re automatically a good mom.

  • Mal Nolan says:

    Boy, am I glad my kids are old. When the genius was 2 he mos def needed a leash *ahem* harness, but they weren’t really around 10 years ago! Don’t worry, I get the “you’re a bad mom” looks because of my tattoos and piercings…so I feel your pain! Rock on Izz!

  • Do it! And screw what other people think. If he hates it, you can just tell him that once he stops running away from you (or standing in the grocery cart, etc), he can stop wearing it. You may find you need it for a much shorter time than you think. And, BTW, I once heard a child’s head hit the floor when he fell out of the grocery cart. I almost threw up, it was the harshest sound ever.

  • FENICLE says:

    The great thing about being the parent is that you get to make the decisions!! You have to do what works for you. Although I don’t see myself using one – I’ve never had the reason…but I’m open to it if needed.

    And I saw someone at the airport this week who’s child appeared (and I’m not positive) to be autistic. So I could totally see why this was a handy thing for them.

  • Kelli says:

    I am the mother of a 5 month old and a 2 1/2 year old. I use the dog “backpack” with my 2 year old where ever we go. Do I get looks? Yup. But, I know that he isn’t going to disappear. He isn’t going to run in front of a car while I am checking on his sister.

    You have to do what is best for YOU and YOUR child. Too bad if others don’t understand. My son likes his backpack and it gives him a sense of freedom while it gives me peace of mind. I can’t give 100% of myself to both kids at the same time. It isn’t possible. But I can do what I can to keep them both safe while out in the world.

    Get the backpack and flip off anyone who dares question you. I got your back!

  • JessicaB says:

    I agree with you. I wish I had known about them with my daughter. That kid could get away so easily. I am definitely getting one for my son when the time comes. My nephew has the monkey one and it is super cute.

  • Cara says:

    My SIL has that exacy harness and her son loves it.
    You are all to right when you say you can not get anything done with a houdini on your hands. I am condidering the harness as well. Just the other day I begged my husband to pick up our son from daycare so I could stop at the store onthe way home without him. I think it I had the harness and I could let him walk around a bit it might not be so bad. Like you my child wants no part of a shopping cart or stroller.
    I say go for it!

  • kittenpie says:

    Honestly, I am with you here. I am lucky in that I never needed one because my kid is pretty calm, but some kids aren’t. They are, as you say, runners. (And I HATE the boneless manoeuvre – I had a kid when I taught daycare that did that. Grrr.) So yes, I think you respond to the child you have in the ways that you need to in order to keep them safe. Those other people don’t know your child. Just tell them, it would make me a far worse parent to lose my child!

  • crazymumma says:

    Your son’s safety is a million times more important than what anyone thinks and when he is curled up in bed safe, at the end of the day you will be at peace with your choice.

  • Izzy says:

    Thank you!

    After all the very valid reasons I’ve supplied for considering a harness/leash etc. there are still people that insist they’d never use one, no matter what.

    Does this mean they don’t use cribs or carseats or seatbelts or life preservers, also?

    Bottom line is that unless they’ve walked a mile in my shoes, they should should never say never. They clearly have a different kind of child than I do, which I think is really hard for some people to comprehend. Kids are not one size fits all.

    If you have more than one, you already know this…

  • Karen DeBolt says:

    Looks like you are getting quite a lot of support here, but I just wanted to give you a wider view!

    My husband, self-diagnosed with ADHD at age 40, was put on a leash, um safety harness, when he was a little boy by his grandmother. He was SUPER hyper all the time according to the stories his family tells.

    He says he has only fond memories of that leash. He probably never got out of the house until they got it!

    So no permanent scarring will be happening for your little one either! :)

  • motherofbun says:

    I subscribe to the “ya gotta do what ya gotta do” line of thinking when it comes to parenting. Especially when it comes to children’s safety.

    On vacation at a theme park we lost our little guy for about 20 minutes. (He was actually hiding with a new found friend and didn’t realize we were panicing and looking for him.) I was screaming and crying because “what if he wandered off with some child molester/killer.

    Honestly, all the guy would have to do is offer to buy a kid a cool spiderman t-shirt and tell them, “Hey, let’s get your face painted. It will be cool surprise for your mom.” And a kid could go along with it and if the guy tried to leave the park with him, most adults would assume the child was having a fit because he didn’t want to leave. And with face painting and a different shirt, it would be even tougher to find the child in those first few hours.

    (It took a few stiff alcoholic drinks for me to calm down to the point where I wasn’t just bursting out crying.) GOd it was horrible and scarey and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

    So yeah, I had thought seriously about those leashes too. There’s only one you and two kids with lots of energy. SO you’ve gotta do what you feel is best.

  • boogiemum says:

    I travel alone a lot with my 3 & 4 year old and I have a little monkey leash too. it works great, has storage for a few special treats in the backpack and keeps my 3 year old escape artist with me. I say do what you have to do to keep your kids safe. Forget about the negative people; they will always find something to complain about…

  • cry it out! says:

    I’m all about the declarations — I will never, ever use a leash with my kid. Ever. It’s insane. I said the same thing about junk food. woops. TV. damn it! Baby talk. Oh lord man. Talk to me after number 2 arrives and I’ll probably be able to give you a rundown of the best and worst in any and all child leashes.

    And thanks for the child horror movie link — I honestly feel like the best parent alive right now.

  • Heidi says:

    We got one of those for my niece when she was around three or four. She did the same thing. We could never keep track of her. So we harnessed her. It seems so much more logical than the alternative – someone stealing her and selling her in Mexico for a buck! They work. Never mind the people who think they know how to parent your child better than you do. Good for you.

  • I will have one of those as soon as I have two kids. My son’s the same and its WAY more important that he’s safe than what other uninformed folks think. ;-)

  • Beth F. says:

    I mean, is there really any difference between a leash and I stroller???? The only 2 differences is that now you don’t have anywhere to put your coffee and he’ll get exercise which means he’ll sleep better.

    Sounds like the best damn idea ever.

  • Christina says:

    Cordy has a puppy version of that leash/harness/whatever. We used it a lot for about a year.

    Some people have kids that will stay with them, and good for them. But for those of us with runners, these are necessary in busy/dangerous places. It’s better than letting that half second go by where you turn your head and turn it back to find them gone. Or out in traffic in a blink.

  • Gail says:

    We have a leash for our oldest. He is exactly how you described your lil one. He runs, yanks his hand away and runs, wouldn’t stay with us, etc. He’s getting better about it now (when we are someplace that is not crowded we let him carry the “leash” and lead himself, we’ve gradually been able to work away from it but it’s taken him alot. baby steps!) Anyway, my point in all this…before Christmas last year we were at the mall shopping and munchkin was wearing the “leash”. We actually had mall security stop us and THANK us for caring enough to put our child on a leash!

    Our second child doesn’t run nearly as much as the first. But. He does have Houdini-like qualities so I’m sure at some point he’ll be using the leash as well!

  • Kaybeejaenq says:

    Hey there, I absolutely agree with your choice 100%. I use two harnesses, due to having two 2 year olds who are both prone to either dropping themselves to the floor (the heaviest one!) or the houdini flexible maniac who can move at the speed of light.
    I just want to mention something though, the harnesses I use do up at the back for a very good reason! both of them can undo those clips and you may find this a problem with your son too. Just a thought.

  • Now, you know better than to even care what other moms think. Moms of Leashed Toddlers Unite!

    I leash my baby.
    My daughter dances to the theme music of General Hospital.
    Sometimes, she eats cookies.
    I pumped breast milk at a table in Applebee’s while others watched in awe.

    And you know what, I say F**k all the people who are too busy worrying about me and my child to actually realize that they voted for Bush twice.

  • Busy Mom says:

    Currently looking for one in teen size. Will keep her from darting out in front of boys.

  • Jan Bay says:

    After Cass very nearly got clipped by an inconsiderate twit that was driving like a maniac at the park, I’m considering one of these things, too. But I have to stop and ask myself if I would’ve had the darn thing on at the time even if I had bought one? I suppose it’s like a seat belt or safety belt on a stroller, you become accustomed to not rolling without it?

  • Lady M says:

    Safety first.

    The monkey harness is a pretty cute way to go!

  • yorksdevil says:

    Round here they’re known as ‘reins’. Horses are way better than dogs.

  • Bec says:

    I’m totally with you on the “leash” issue. Honestly, I wish more parents would use them. We’ll be getting one for Miss E when she’s older.

  • Deb says:

    I believe you do what is best for your child. I didnt use the harness only cause of my kids sensory issues with things, so I used the double stroller. My kids are 6 1/2 and 4 1/2 and I still have that stroller.

  • SAHMmy Says says:

    I do look at Mamas who have their kiddos on those leashes…with envy! I then hit my forehead with my palm because I forgot to check them out–again–last time I was at Target! Sorry to say, it doesn’t get any better–my son is 3 and a half and he seems determined to get himself abducted. And I agree–with more than one kiddo, it becomes exponentially more difficult to keep track and focus at the same time. Good luck!

  • Chris says:

    Hi – Just came over from Suburban Turmoil…….get the leash. It’s your kid, you know him, and no one else does. You have to do what you have to do to keep him safe. And screw anybody who makes a comment to you – like they’re perfect…..bah.

  • Jenna says:

    *fwds this post to her husband, the main leash harness hater*

  • Christine says:

    Ahhhh … reminds of the cute little shock collar I used to have for me kids …

    ummm … did I just say that out loud??

  • Izzy says:

    I sincerely hope you are not comparing a harness to a shock collar…

  • dawn says:

    I use to be anti-leash (harness). But I am beginning to totally understand their usefulness and practicality. My little man is 18 months now and can get out of the grocery cart seat belt. He too can wrigle his little hand out of my death grip and take off. I am lucky that he would still rather be carried than walk on his own, but when that changes I will seriously consider a harness. Do you think I could use it while at home too????

    Your an awesome parent for being honest about what you son can and will do and what you need to do. Rock On Izzy.

  • Laural says:

    de-lurking to make this comment.
    We’ve tried the bear and also the more harnessy one because it was less hot. We finally settled on a wrist bracelet thing when my son turned 3 because he is the most comfortable with it. But, we use one all the time – especially if we go somewhere where there will be lots of people. It’s total security.
    He doesn’t mind it at all.
    I had a couple comments and lots of looks with the harness, but I had no hesitation to tell people that if it protects my child I’m happy.
    Seriously more people comment in a positive way than you expect

  • tracey says:

    After having children I never judged a mother with a leash. No way. I have a runner too. Thank God it’s getting better and easier with each passing year but sister, I had a few scares with her so I get it! Don’t sweat the judgement. I’d rather have a cute harness than a missing or injured child anyday!

  • adrienne says:

    We USE the monkey backpack! And the boy LOOOVES Monkey!

    When I figured out I had a parking lot bolter on my hands, I set the monkey on the kitchen table until the little noticed it and asked for it. I gave the little guy a size-you-up look and said something like “I guess you’re big enough for this now..”

    He drug Monkey all over the house (sans tail) giving him the full tour with narration.

    When he found out Monkey could ride on his back- he was happy, happy, happy.

    After he and Monkey ran all around the house, I put on the tail. Do this at home, over carpeting. Loop the tail around your hand a few times so you can feed out extra length while he starts to feel tension. Otherwise, it can be ugly.

    In public you’ll get lots of “monkey on your back” comments. People must feel overwhelmed with their own wit because they forget to have a cow over the harness.

    It’s a wonderous thing. The only people who’ve really noticed it’s a harness tend to be in the pro-leash camp: “If only they’d had that when my kids were little…”

    My MIL used them with her kids. I guess they were common in Germany in the 70s. My husband’s looked like the suspenders that hold up lederhosen- only they had little Bavarian costumed mountaineer bears tooled into the leather.

    My husband’s only negative recollection of the harness was when they came back to the US- about 6 years after he had graduated from the harness. His toddler brother was wearing the harness during a layover at JFK airport (bad place to lose a toddler) and a woman came over and made his already frazzled mom cry by very publicly accusing her of child abuse.

    Nothing like that has happened to us with the monkey pack.

    Good luck!

  • I was TOTALLY against these things before having a kids and when my daughter was a baby.

    Now that I have a toddler, I’ve changed my mind

  • Jenifer says:

    Let’s put it this way. If you thought about getting the leash and then let some asshat talk you out of it because it’s “inhumane” or whatever the hell they think…. then you child got hit by a car in a parking lot, you would never forgive yourself.

    Get it, who cares what some ignorant people say. Your child’s safety is obviously tops on your list and bravo to you for that!!!

  • baby advice says:

    I have always wondered if these things worked! I wouldn’t worry about what other people say, it’s your child, and you are doing what is best for you!!

  • newmomoldmom says:


    I used a harness with my daughter (now 12). I got so many negative comments, and finally came up with a great reply at the spur of the moment. A woman told me “I hate to see a child on a dog leash.” And I told her “I hate to see them on a milk carton.!” So, get your harness and use it with pride!

  • Wife Soup says:

    I have often thought the same exact thing, as both of my children were the non-staying in the cart/stroller/etc.. types. I have been too much of a wimp to try the leash though, and thought my child would probably just squirm out of it anyway, but I applaud you for doing what is right for your child no matter what other people think. It is not always easy. Good for you!

  • Annalise says:

    I think it’s so absurd that there is even a “debate” about the topic here in the U.S. I grew-up mainly in Europe, where EVERYONE practically uses them. First-off it’s not connected to the childs neck, just a lead on a back-pack, and secondly it’s GOOD parenting to want to keep your very active, unpredicatable toddler close you, under your physical control, they dart, fall, (I’ve saved my son from MANY potentially harmul stumbles/falls, etc. with the “leash”), and most frightening here in the U.S. a parent can turn-around for just a few seconds and have ones child abuducted/murdered, or even molested in aisles of stores by patrons or even workers. OK, case closed! :) p.s. – So glad you’ve made a “venue” to discuss this! :)

  • Blogversary says:

    I feel the same way as you. The only thing stopping me is the fact that I know trying to get my daughter to wear it will be hell. So for now, I bring lots of treats for her to eat in the grocery store and make sure her hair looks cute so people tell me how cute she is instead of what a bad parent I am for having my child running loosey goosey.

  • alex says:

    Does anyone knows where to buy a leash for a 10 years old boy ?

    Thank you

  • DG Haldeman says:

    It never fails to catch my eye when I see a leash, then notice that there is a child there, but I believe there are situations when those things are wonderful.

    If you have more than one child, or can’t run fast enough to catch your running kid, or you have to be carrying other things, or are in a very crowded place.

    Don’t worry about the looks. They clearly have no idea what it is like to have an active child.

  • Andrea says:


    I wonder now if you have bought and using the safety harness for your child…
    I am a scottish lady, currently living in France, you may wonder as to the significance of my nationality in relation to this topic…generally in Great Britain it’s common practice for mothers to use safety harnesses, all my friends and family do, although whilst I currently live in France, it’s the opposite, and boy do we get some stares from the frenchies. Frankly, I don’t give a damn what they think, my daughters safety is far more important!! Yes, she’s a runner too!
    In my experience, people will and do make all sorts of judgements on everything we do, especially as mothers, rise above those who have little else in their own life that they have to make comment on everyone else!

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