Thursday, July 5, 2012

Toddler leashes: yes or no?

This week I bought Sprout a Munchkin Funpack Harness. Since he's started running, I've thought that having him tied to me would be handy sometimes. When we're in a really busy place like the farmers' market or maybe when we do some travelling it could be useful.

I was somewhat conflicted about the idea before I bought one & I still feel a bit awkward about having my child on a leash like a dog. I tried it out just after we bought it when we walked home from the local park. Felt very self-conscious strapping him in & putting the leash loop around my wrist as we set off.

Sprout thought the backpack was pretty cool. Its capacity is only about 2L but that's enough to hold a few little toys or a water bottle & snack. He wasn't so keen on it the first time he ran off suddenly & came to the end of his tether, however.

While walking the four blocks home, I realized that because the lead is so short, I'd have to either keep up with him or risk the 'yoink' every time he got to the end of it. I don't want to use the leash to pull him back the way some people do with their dogs. However, I'm not sure he'll 'heel' like a well-trained dog would, staying within the four or five foot range of the leash. So I'm still chasing after him the way I would without the leash anyway.

I can see how it might be useful in a situation like paying at a till in a store or using a bank machine, where I have to concentrate on something else for a minute. Maybe for light hiking too, just in case he decides to wander off the trail. & of course for parents with more than one kid or multiples, I could see how this could be a sanity-preserver.

There's a part of me that really hates the idea of restraining my child this way. But if the alternative is for him to be strapped in the stroller instead, is that really better? (I am a big fan of babywearing, but the older he gets, the less he wants to be attached to me in the Beco or the ring sling, it seems. Also, my knees & feet get sore if I'm wearing him for long) Strollers are certainly more socially acceptable--I rarely see leashed children in public in Vancouver, but kids are strapped into strollers regularly until they're in elementary school, it seems.

What's your opinion? Would you or have you used a toddler leash? 

- - - - - - - -
Psst... The Sprog now has a Facebook page! Head on over & click 'like' to get even more Sproggy goodness delivered to your feed. :)


  1. Could you somehow supplement the length of the leash part for day-to-day use?
    I think for crowded places where people all jostle together - parades, amusement park ride line ups, airports - the shorter leash would be ideal.
    We lost The Niece at a Museum once when she ducked under a railing and ran around a corner before either of us could run around the barrier. Obviously, we found her and all was well, but we stopped and picked up a wrist to wrist strap on our way home. We refer to them as bracelets, and she understands their purpose - although she's 4 years old now, and we don't need them as often as we used to.

  2. Yes, an extension might be the answer...

  3. I think I WOULD try it, if I had a very active toddler who had a tendency of sprinting off in busy or dangerous places. My three-year-old is the cautious type and tends to stick close to me. But, like you, I'd probably feel self-conscious about the "leash" stigma. Never really thought about the fact that they'd be jerked back on a short leash - definitely something to consider.

  4. I wouldn't feel self-conscious. Most of the people who make judgments about baby backpacks with leashes don't have children. I really don't consider the opinions of people who have no practical experience.


Thanks for commenting! (I've had to enable comment moderation on older posts to thwart spammers, so your post may not appear right away.)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...