Kids On a Leash
Kid leashes are leashes (think: dog leashes) for use on kids too big for strollers but too small to be trusted to walk (or stay) close to mommy or daddy. Use of kid leashes is a controversial practice. Here are the pros and cons of kid leash use.
*Protects kids from the risks of wandering away from parents, being abducted, or otherwise coming to harm due to being away from parents.
*Allows your kids the opportunity for exercise (i.e., going for walks or shopping with you) without your having to worry about the risks noted above.
*Frees your hands from having to hold onto your kids all the time while you are walking with them.
*Increases your ability to supervise successfully multiple children, hyperactive children, and children who have an impaired ability to appreciate the hazards of their environment (e.g., children with autism).
*May make you and your kids the subject of criticism or ridicule (i.e., “walking kids on a leash like a dog”).
*May make your kids feel demeaned (i.e., distrusted or “treated like a dog”).
*May be seen as your exhibiting “lazy parenting”, being an inattentive parent who would rather focus on or do other things instead of watching and attending to the kids.
Purely philosophically, the “cons” arguments can be very persuasive. In practical application, however, there are times when kid leashes truly are the best alternative. Each parent must assess his/her kids, his/her ability to supervise them, and the environments in which they will be walking. A non-distracted parent with one child, who is well behaved, should not need a kid leash when walking in a low-risk area. A parent with two ADHD kids may be well advised to use kid leashes when walking in a large crowd of strangers, around a lot of moving vehicles, etc.).
In sum, kid leashes are neither universally appropriate nor universally inappropriate. The use of kid leashes may be appropriate in some circumstances and inappropriate in others. Parents must use their best judgment to distinguish which is which.