As a mom, I am ambivalent about child leashes. On the one hand, I hold strong views about respecting children’s dignity and I will never let my daughter, Megan, have an inferiority complex or something like that. I have to admit that, in a way, those who are saying that this is humiliating are right. But for me, the child’s safety comes first. I feel like dying just thinking that she may get lost in a mall or park, run into traffic on a busy street or put herself in a dangerous situation. Worse still, there are stories about strangers snatching children away from their parents during an outing and it is not something extraordinary. This is my worst nightmare that I pray never comes true.
What’s the Problem?
I would like to clarify what I mean by that. What exactly is humiliating? The very fact of putting a child on a leash or hearing strangers making derogatory remarks and laughing?
All right, let's get this over with. How could leashing your children negatively affect their dignity? Technically, it restricts their movement and gives parents more control. Isn’t that what is happening when we put our children in a stroller or hold their hands. To my mind, this is merely a variation of the same action. What I find really humiliating is the public opinion or, to be precise, the opinion voiced by a part of the society.
“You treat your child like a dog,” they say. The keyword here is “dog” and the whole problem is with psychological perception rather than a rational explanation of their negative attitude. In other words, it is humiliating because it is associated with walking a dog. On the other hand, attaching children to their mom or dad by a tether is a reasonable safety measure that can really protect them from all sorts of dangers they face when out in public. My principled position is that safety is more important while the benefits of using the harness surpass what critics say.
For all those reasons, I decided to go into the matter and find out in which situations safety considerations should prevail and what kind of child leash is the best. In addition, I have analyzed various recommendations on using these products so that you could avoid any negative psychological effect on your child. I now invite you to join my investigation and read a review of TOP-5 best child leashes, to help you to make a decision that is right for you.
What is the best child leash?
Make sure that the product is manufactured by a reputed company because the quality of this kind of accessory is essential for your children’s safety. Moreover, they will wear it on their back or wrist, which means that the material the product is made of should be of high quality. An equally important aspect to consider is adjustability so that the item could perfectly fit your child. The length of a leash matter for those who prefer to give their kids more independence, however, some users think that excessively long leashes create unnecessary difficulties when they are in crowded places. We believe that the Skip Hop model fits these criteria best.
Why have we chosen this model? This product represents a global lifestyle brand for babies and toddlers and is made of high-quality materials. It comes with a leash that is 2.3 feet long, which gives your children enough independence. The straps are adjustable while the leash is easily detachable. The backpack has a lot of room for diapers or snack and comes with a number of pocket compartments. An exterior mesh pocket adds to the comfort of the bag and can be used to hold a bottle of water.
How to Use a Harness Without Distressing a Child
Many moms who have decided in favor of using harnesses do not know how to do it properly. Here are some tips that you may find helpful.
- Never tug on the leash or drag the child, this is exactly what can be perceived by them as humiliation.
- Choose an item that seems more like a toy. Make sure that your child likes it and has fun playing with it.
- Backpacks are considered to be the best option. Most toddlers enjoy feeling like “big kids” and will more likely enjoy wearing a backpack.
- If your child refuses to wear the backpack, place a toy inside and promise to give it on the condition that he or she will put on a pack and wear it for half an hour.
- Explain to your children the purpose of using the leash. They must be aware that this is a matter of their safety.
TOP-5 Best Child Leashes
Below, you will find a review of TOP-5 best products at a price ranging from $10 to $20. These models differ by design and functionality, with some of them being intended not only for keeping your little ones safe in public places but also for holding essentials like a diaper or snack. All these harnesses are adjustable and easy to use, however, the length of their leashes differ significantly.
1. Skip Hop Toddler Backpack
Okay, now I am going to tell you about a harness backpack of my child’s choice. You got that right, it was my daughter who prompted me to buy our first toddler leash. And do you know why? Megan just adored this lovely monkey with its nice friendly smile. Agreeable to the touch, the backpack has funny “ears” and “button eyes” that my daughter enjoys touching. Honestly, I would rather call it a toy!
As you can imagine, I was guided by other considerations as well. I asked myself whether this item will make my walks with her really safer. The answer is yes, it will, and there is a number of reasons for that. First and foremost, I would like to highlight its convenience.
The backpack comes with a child leash and has several pocket compartments as well as one exterior mesh pocket designed for holding a bottle of water or something like that. The 27.5-inch leash is attached and detached very easily so that you could take it off when you are not in crowded spaces. On top of that, the straps are adjustable, something that ensures extra security for my Megan. Also, there are plenty of room in the backpack to place drinks or diapers, with the main compartment being zippered.
What is particularly important for me in this product is that it is manufactured by a brand-name company with a global presence. After all, this is something that my child wears and is intended to protect her. Established in 2003 in the USA, Skip Hop is now a global lifestyle brand for babies and toddlers, with its products sold in over 30 countries.
It might surprise you to learn the founders of the company, Michael and Ellen Diamant, are just parents like you and me who once decided to set up a company selling baby stuff and committed to safety and quality. They are nice mom and dad who also do charity, helping disadvantaged families.
What do other buyers say?
Before making a purchase, I analyzed customer feedback just to make sure that I made the right choice. Most reviews are positive, with some of them even joking that they would like to have an adult version for their wives. I wish I had one for my husband, too :). Well, back to our kids…
The purchasers note that the backpack is well-made and functional. Some moms say they use it as a diaper bag and are very satisfied. Most parents say the bag fits their child well, however, some of them claim that it would be better if the leash connected to the top, not the bottom of the item. There is no accounting for tastes, is all I can say.
Skip Hop: Check the current price
2. Goldbug - Animal 2 in 1 Child Safety Harness
This plush animal backpack is adjustable and includes detachable tether so that your children could safely walk on their own. Discrete pockets with velcro closure are intended for snacks and toys and are very convenient to use. This backpack is designed for kids who are 18 months and older.
It is easy to use as the only thing you need to do is to attach and hold on to the tether while you are in public places. Like the Skip Hop model, the Goldback one can be used both as a harness and backpack. However, it has the advantage of having a longer leash which is 3 feet in length, something that allows your kid to have more room to manoeuvre.
Like the previous item, this one is also produced by a reputed company, Goldbug, that was founded about 50 years ago and is now the U.S. largest distributor of accessories intended for babies and children, including safety harnesses. You can find their products at Walmart, Kohl's, JCPenney, and many other stores, let alone the fact that they are expanding internationally. The strongest point of the company is that it places greater emphasis on innovations, something that I personally highly appreciate and would recommend to others.
This product is one of the popular in the category, with most customer reviews being positive. I liked the feedback from a mother of 2-year-old twins, who has purchased two items to keep up with her children when shopping. She encourages other parents to ignore negative comments made by some strangers because “the child’s safety is more important than the naysayers”. The product is particularly appreciated by elderly people who have difficulties with holding the hand of their grandchildren as their back hurts after bending over for too long.
Goldbug: Check the current price
3. Blisstime Anti Lost Wrist Link for Toddlers, Babies & Kids
This is also my deliberate choice to use wristbands in places where large numbers of people gather. Those who still find leash backpacks embarrassing but have worries about their children’s safety while on the go, may try this option. I have this one and use it from time to time.
What is its advantage over the above-mentioned models? As for me, putting my child on the leash is Okay but some people have a psychological barrier against this measure. Whereas this option seems to be “more equitable” as it eliminates that subordination between the adult and the child. But to my mind, wristbands are less convenient than a leash backpack.
How to use them? Just connect the wristband to your hand and the hand of your child. The chain’s total length amounts to about 5 feet, therefore, this thing can be the best bet for those who need to keep their little one close in crowds.
By the way, the wrist strap is adjustable, with the maximum diameter reaching up to 5.5 inches. Do not worry, your child will not be able to remove the wristband easily due to its double-layer hook-and-loop. I also like the material that is soft and durable, something that ensures that Megan’s skin will not be irritated. The downside is that this wristband does not prevent the child from falling down and is designed for children no younger than 4 years old.
I see that this item is very popular among moms. One of them says that her daughter loves it and giggled the whole time when walking with it because any time she would pull too far, the wristband would pull her back. Looks like an entertaining attraction! Customers recommend this product for boardwalks, amusement parks, and all sorts of busy places.
Blisstime: Check the current price
4. OFUN Toddler Leash for Walking
This is another way to keep your children close to you, give them enough independence while on the go. Actually, this is a combination of two ideas — a wristband and leash backpack. What is the advantage of this option? You do not have to hold a leash, nor do you have to worry about losing it.
The bracelet sits tightly on your wrist while the chain is well secured on your child. The latter is very long and can extend up to six feet. The chain is attached to the shoulder strap that can be adjusted so that your child feels comfortable. In addition, this product boasts high-quality materials it is made of, mainly the breathable cotton.
This product has gained popularity with those who have toddlers. One customer says that he has purchased this item for his 10-month daughter who was an early walker, noting that it “worked for her”. Other purchasers point out that the product is good for older kids too as it is strong and comes with a lock. It is noteworthy that this model is especially helpful for autistic children.
OFUN: Check the current price
5. Accmor Kid Safety Harness Leash
This item works approximately the same way but has an added benefit — a cute design that particularly appeals to toddlers. It is made of durable fabric and comes with a strong metal clip. You can adjust it to better suit your child’s needs and easily detach the strap.
With the weight of 3.2 ounces, this item is easy to carry so feel free to put it on your child when you are walking long distances at a zoo or mall. I would like to draw your attention to the length of the leash amounting to 4 feet. This is the longest one on this list.
Purchasers say their kids really have fun wearing this thing! One parent who bought this harness for a Disneyland trip has posted an amusing photo of Pluto pretending to walk his son around. A good answer to those who criticize putting a child on a leash! Remember, joking is one of the best ways to respond to baseless allegations.
Accmor: Check the current price
10 Best-Selling Child Leashes Comparative Table
Are Child Leashes Helpful Or Humiliating?
Why do you think many parents are so persistent in putting their toddlers on a leash while they are in public places? This is due to the fact that this measure is really effective. There is a viral story from a parent who claims that a leash has already saved his daughter, Aspen. According to him, this thing “has already kept her out of the road and from sticking her hand in an ice cream machine.” Actually, the author of the article has taken a swipe at him, saying that carrying a toddler or putting them in a stroller would be a better alternative. Really? Even though they will be deprived of the possibility to walk on their own and play?
Listen to a dad who believes that using a harness, on the contrary, gives children the freedom they need. They do not want to be held back, they want to be able to do what they want, he says. Children may not like when you just attach a leash to them, which is not the case when a harness comes with a backpack. The latter allows children to feel like “big kids,” making them proud of wearing it.
“It is a quick and easy way to be judged,” says a father of two who puts his children on a leash when taking them out in public. And you can see the reaction of passers-by casting sidelong glances at this “weird family.” They were asked the same question, “Why?” and the answer was: “it seems strange,” “looks like an animal,” or “like a dog.” Nothing but emotions.
However, some critics try to explain their negative stance rationally. “Using a leash does not develop skills of self-control,” claims Michele Blick, an educational psychologist. Let me disagree with Michele. Child leashes are generally supposed to be used only when you are in crowded or high-risk places. You do not have to keep your kid close all the time. She encourages parents to “teach” toddlers to control themselves. Okay. That is sound advice. But should we educate our children at the expense of their security?
When Is It Really Important To Put A Child On A Leash?
If you are walking with a child, you may hold his or her hand, just to avoid all these speculations. However, there are situations where putting your kid on a leash is highly recommended.
First, walking twins or even triplets poses additional risks as one of them may be out of your sight just for a few seconds and this may be enough for bad things to happen. Or she just physically cannot hold more than four hands when crossing the street. Watch this video of a mom of three who put on a harness on them while walking and takes it off when they are in a quiet place. They look happy and eager to play and explore.
Secondly, this is a required accessory for children diagnosed with hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, Autism, and Down Syndrome. They are more likely to put themselves in a dangerous situation. Putting a harness on children who have some hearing difficulty will also be helpful as they simply may not hear that their mom is telling them to stop doing something. Jennifer Hartstein, a New York child psychologist, recommends harnesses as a “potentially effective solution.”
Thirdly, using a harness in public spaces is not just about your kid’s ability to control themselves. They may easily fall victim to a pedophile or other ill-intentioned person who can take advantage of your child walking a bit further away from you. You will also need to keep your child out of the road, something that can really help to save her or his life.
Watch a video of this mom who used harnesses and believes that they should be used in certain cases. Every summer, she takes her kids to the shore. They go to the boardwalk that is usually packed with people. She says that she is afraid that someone may pick up her child and run away, which is why using a toddler leash is a great option for her.
What is the best child leash for a toddler?
Opt for the Skip Hop or Goldbug model. These are harness backpacks produced by reputable companies. Both of them are made of high-quality materials and have extra features such as adjustability.
When was the child leash invented? It was invented in the early 20th century by R.C O'Connor. However, at the time, it was not as widespread as it is now.
How to make a child leash? Watch a video explaining how to make it yourself. You will need 3 main parts — a dog leash, dog collar and dog harness — and, of course, a bit of patience. But to my mind, it is much easier and cheaper to buy a manufactured product as child’s harnesses are available at a price of $10 and less.