Judy on Duty: The Leash Debate
Should children wear leashes? Our columnist, Judy on Duty, shared her thoughts in her IMHO (“in my humble opinion”) section on page 114 of our April issue: “Leashes are for dogs. You wouldn’t put your child in a crate, or let him poop on the sidewalk, right? If you have a bolter, invest in a cheap umbrella stroller with a buckle.”
Since then, Judy has received over 100 emails about her opinion, and all of them are from readers saying they disagree with her. Here are a few:
You should retitle your IMHO to IMHIO, because you left out the “I” for ignorant. As the mother of twin 20 month old boys, I would do anything reasonable to keep my kids safe. Since I haven’t figured out how to run in two different directions at the same time, a reasonable option for me might be toddler leashes. How exactly is this any worse that restraining them in a stoller, as you suggest? They would at least get some exercise.
As for your comments that you wouldn’t put your child in a crate, well, have you heard of a crib? And also suggesting that pooping on the sidewalk is somehow significantly worse than pooping in the diaper your kid is wearing is rediculous.
What bothers me the most about your humble ignorant opinion, is that you are judging other moms and dads who are simply doing their best to keep their kids safe. Implying that using a toddler leash is akin to treating your child like a dog is naive and insulting.”
“Not sure if your brain is off duty but “leashes” as you call them allow children to be mobile and have both hands free to explore their world in a controlled manner when they are walking but still too young to understand basic hazards.. Umbrella strollers with a buckle, while meeting safety and security needs, don’t give a child any mobility or freedom.”
– Trudy Greer
“…Maybe you have never taken a 2 year old to Seaworld or a fair or even the mall where there are alot of people and safety is a concern, but mine has refused to sit in a stroller since she learned to walk and then we discovered the kid leash that doubles as a big kid book bag where she can keep her treasures! Why take all the fun out of a fun day by suggesting to restrict your child to a stroller?! You example of letting them poop on the sidewalk or putting them in a crate is a little far fetched and off base on this. Just my honest opinion.”
– Jenny Poole-Miller
“Your opinion on child leashes may be appropriate for the parent of one small child, however as the parent of now 6 year old triplet girls, I seriously disagree. Unless I never left the house without another person in tow, I’d have had to risk my children’s safety to do simple things like get into the library, pediatrician’s office or other simple places that are not accommodating for a triple stroller. When they were younger, I had puppy backpack leashes my girls actually liked. If someone went more than a foot or two, the “tail” which was the leash part became taught and I felt confident that the kids would not get run over by a car. While I agree that some parents do abuse this concept – I’ve actually seen kids tied to chairs at outdoor restaurants – there are appropriate uses for them by responsible parents.”
– Susan Lounsbury
Does anyone agree with Judy? We want to hear what you think!