It’s cute.  It’s cuddly.  It’s soft.  But most importantly, it keeps your child safe.  It’s been around for years!  Every parent recommends it.  Every parent needs it!  If you have small children and care for their safety, why not get one?  BABY LEASHES!

Child safety leash backpack.  Child safety harness.  Child 2-in-1 safety (leash and backpack).  Baby leashes.  Do I hear a “woof woof” anyone?  Who invented this contraption anyway?!

Every time I see a child in one of these awful things, I think to myself, “Self, what kind of poor kids have parents who believe that it is okay to tie their child up like a dog?”  Might as well buy a collar and kennel too.  And what makes it worse are the parents who don’t allow their child to lead while wearing this “backpack.”  Instead, they drag their child by the leash.  “Come here!”  [Yank!].  “Ow!  Mommy, that hurts!”

I don’t understand the concept of putting your child on a leash.  The people at 4coolkids.com advertise baby leashes as,

Excellent for families with toddlers and small babies.  Allows you to tend to your baby while knowing where your toddler is.  A chance you can’t afford to take.  Adventurous toddlers and public places just don’t mix.  It’s all too easy to lose hold of your child’s hand in a crowd, or lose track of him among racks of merchandise.  That’s why we recommend this tether.

[Hmmm…]  Even after reading that persuasive justification, I still don’t buy it.  (No pun intended).

I’ve read reviews on these things.  “Great product!”  “Great for going on walks!”  “Gives me a sense of security and my child freedom.”  “Only wished the cord was longer.  (Perfect, they should make retractable cords, just like retractable dog leads).”

I have two daughters.  Jade is 3 and Sage is 1.  They’re both adventurous, energetic, and touches everything in sight.  I take them everywhere I go.  At the grocery or department store, I usually put Sage in a cart and let Jade walk beside me or hold my hand.  And when Jade wanders too far, because she usually does, I either quickly follow her or tell her to wait for me and we’ll explore that section of the store together.  The mall, the zoo, the park, walking in the neighborhood, they’re all the same.  No leash.  Holding hands is perfectly fine.  For Sage, the stroller works just fine.

My aunt bought a baby leash for my cousin.  She explained that because he’s a boy, he’s too naughty, so he needs one.  He is 4 and I do babysit him from time to time.  I don’t find him any different from any other children at all.  When you’re firm with him and explain to him why he cannot do something, he understands and listens to you.  The first time I took him to the neighborhood park, my aunt was reluctant to let him go.

“He’s too naughty.  He’ll run off.  You can take him if you want to.  Let me get his leash.”

“No thanks.  I’ll just have him hold my hand.”

And he listened just fine.  He did not run into the streets.  He did run a bit ahead of us, but when I told him to wait for me to cross the street, he did.  The problem with him is that because his parents believe he is more naughty than he really is, they don’t take him anywhere.  So when he does get the chance to go somewhere, he wanders off.  And that is usually how it is with children (and adults).

If parents are going to complain that holding hands is not enough, well, isn’t holding a leash the same has holding a child’s hand?  Let’s see….  You hold the leash.  You hold your child’s hands.  If you grasp is not tight, when your child tries to run off, the leash (or your child’s hand) will fly out of your hand.  If someone wanted to take your child, the leash isn’t going to stop that person.  Chances are, any kidnappers will be more likely to take a child that is 2 feet away from you than one who is right next to you, holding your hand.  Baby leashes are a waste of money.

If you feel that you need to restrain your child, put your child in a stroller or cart.  You don’t want your child to come to you when s/he is a teenager or adult and say, “Gee, Mom (or Dad).  Thanks for putting me on a leash.  It scarred me for life.  Now I can’t even stay in a decent relationship, find a job, or live by myself.”