Toddler Leashes: Moral or Humiliating?


The toddler leashing trend has become pretty popular among young parents. The ideology is that young children who are just beginning to walk can be unpredictable and run off if you’re not constantly holding their hand. But not all are impressed with the idea of a child leash and even feel it can cause embarrassment for a child later in life.    

A child leash is harness that straps onto your child, similar to a backpack, with a long strap extending off of it that an adult would hold onto.They often also include a built-in backpack shaped like a colorful stuffed animal.

Many parents feel that a child harness is an excellent way to keep their kids close to them in large crowds or new areas. Especially for a parent with multiple children, this can be the safest option they have. Plenty of children don’t mind or even enjoy being on a leash. For children who are picky about strollers or holding their parents hand, this gives the child a little bit more space and room to walk on their own while their parents can still keep them attached to them. And considering the fact that some kids have a tendency to just bolt, this may be the best alternative. Many kids act on impulse and have a natural curiosity that should be encouraged in a safe way.  

Some child psychologists warn against child harnessing however because of its potential aftereffects that could leave a child embarrassed later in life. Just the idea of a child on a leash will cause some people to laugh to the extent where people on websites will share photos of children in harnesses to laugh at them.

With the choice to harness your child comes the stigma that “you can’t control your kid.” Jennifer Hartstein, a child psychologist believes that harnessing your child can devastate a certain foundation that parents must establish with their children. Simply bonding your child to you does not help to cement their understanding of staying with their parents on their own. You have to teach your child to listen and have them face consequences when they don’t. Without that, it can be harder to get your child to learn this, and you can’t put your kid on a leash forever.

Of course it is absolutely unacceptable for an adult to abuse a child with a harness. Dragging a child by a rope is clearly wrong and not what the harness should be used for. But the amount of judgement passed on parents who choose to harness their kids is unnecessary if they are not misusing it.

You can’t look at a parent and a child in a harness on the street and know that a parent just “can’t control their kids.” You don’t know if that child has behavioral issues or some type of disability where a harness is the best option to keep a child safe.

I believe that the embarrassment that some children may face because of harnessing stems from disapproval from other parents. Other parents are so quick to judge the choices of others rather than help and support each other.