Should You Get A Child Leash Or Not?

Surely you have heard people joke about child leashes before. The phrase typically elicits an amusing reaction because of the safety device's misconceptions. People will often find these devices cruel or bizarre-looking, but in reality, they are an excellent choice for today's hectic world. Perhaps today more than ever, a child leash is the perfect safety option while on the go. 

Are child leashes ethical? The question is warranted, as leashes are associated with wild animals and house pets, not children. For many parents, and even onlookers, the safety device can seem inhumane or just plain strange. All it takes is a bit of education regarding the devices to realize that it all comes down to perception. Read on to better understand child leashes.

What Is A Child Leash?

A child leash or child harness is a safety device used to keep toddlers from being separated from their parents in crowded areas. The devices can be adjusted to fit children from two to four years old, with certain models made for older children. Today there are a variety of harnesses available, with each model providing a similar function. The history and use of these harnesses have always been surrounded by controversy.

History of the Child Leash

Different Types Of Child Leashes

Child leashes come in different shapes and sizes. Each type of child leash is designed to suit the children's needs and behavior. A parent has options today regarding child leashes and there is more research than ever before on each product. The following child leashes are some of the more popular choices on the market today:

The Standard Harness

Standard harnesses will either have a waist or chest strap and two shoulder straps. As with any other harness, the lead is attached to the back or sides and the parent can attach the other end to their wrist.

The Backpack Harness

Backpack harnesses are a popular choice today because they are not conspicuous. Parents can be attached to their children in public with little thought, as the rein is attached to a fashionably designed backpack. From cartoon characters to unique designs, the design of the backpacks can be anything a child likes. 

The Wrist Link

The wrist link is a subtle type of leash that can be placed on the wrist of a child, with the other end attached to the wrist of the parent. The wrist link leash is simple in its design but can be effective. The wrist link has safety concerns, since if the child tugs away with enough force they may hurt themselves or the parent. A distributed weight harness is always recommended as a better option than a wrist link.

Materials

Child harnesses were originally made of leather, but over the years they have evolved to increase comfort and practicality. Today's child harnesses are made of lightweight materials such as nylon, and they are easily washable and storable. Because the leashes should be easily transportable from one place to the next, the focus in recent years has been on practicality. 

Why Do People Use Child Leashes?

Now that you know what a child leash is, you are likely wondering why people use them in the first place. Child safety is the main reason people use child leashes: it is that plain and simple. Parents who want to have an added sense of security while out and about with their child will find a child harness very useful.

A Solution for Safety

A Training Device

An Affordable Choice

Are There Risks Associated With Child Leashes?

The standard child leash is a safety device above all, and the American Academy of Pediatrics does not have any data that shows child leashes can cause injury. On the other side of the coin, there is also no data to support that they do not. What is for certain is that a child leash is not a substitute for close parental supervision. A child's behavior should always be monitored to avoid accidents.

Potential Harm

Are Child Leashes Ethical?

And so we arrive at the burning question: are child leashes ethical? Yes, child leashes are ethical when used for their primary function: child safety, not child control or a substitute for parental supervision. 

The controversy that surrounds child leashes is based on a misguided idea that the child is being treated like an animal. However, certain similarities in the behavior of a toddler and that of a house pet are undeniable. All of the following apply to both:

  • Possibility of unpredictable behavior
  • Inability to communicate easily 
  • Desire to explore surrounding areas
  • Unaware of potential dangers
  • Unable to think critically about consequences

Once again, this is not to say that a child is equivalent to an animal. The questions that should be asked regarding child harnesses are: How? When? Why? By answering these questions we can better understand why child harnesses can be important.

How?

When?

Why?

Conclusion

Now that you know what a child leash is and how it used for child safety, it is up to you to decide where you stand. The safety devices have shown over the years to be a good option for parents who want increased safety on their children while out and about. Nothing can take the place of attentive supervision, but there is nothing wrong with exploring different options. The debate continues: what do you think?

Featured Image: Image via Flickr

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