December 13, 2010

Should you leash your child?

So I was dropping my one and a half year old daughter off at a friend's house before work. As I pulled her out of her car seat, she looked up at me and said "I knock on the door." I often let her walk from my car to the front door, since she really gets a kick out of it. But today was a bit different.

Today, my friend's car was also in the driveway, so I had to park a little further down. I watched my daughter walk towards the house, but then turned around and grabbed her diaper bag and car seat. When I turned back around, I saw my friend had the front door open. But she was looking at me...not down towards the ground. "Is she there?" I asked. "No." Immediately I hear a car in the distance and briefly panic. I call my daughter's name and run up the driveway to look quickly in front of my friend's car. There she is, safe and sound, pointing at some dirt on the driveway.

I mention this story because I was reading an article about a toddler who drowned in a fountain at a San Francisco hotel. The toddler apparently wandered off. The question was raised on whether putting a "leash" on a toddler could have prevented this tragedy.
I am not saying that I would put a leash on my child to walk from my car to the house. But I couldn't help but make the connection between the brief seconds I had taken my eyes off of my daughter and her ability to "disappear".

Before my daughter, I laughed at people who put leashes on their kids and swore I would NEVER do that. And while I still have not beelined to Babies R Us for one, the idea of a "leash" doesn't seem so bad now that I actually have a child of my own.

And I only have one! What happens when number two comes along?

Kids are quick and focusing on one child means your eyes are not on the other. So I am re-thinking my previous ban on "leashes". Maybe I'll buy one of those cute animal backpacks where the tail is the "leash". (And I can't wait to hear what my husband would say if I buy one.)

So what do you think? To leash or not to leash...that is the question. Until next time....


  1. I went WITH the leash... Cute doggie backpack one in fact! I saw another mom using one at the academy of sciences in San Francisco- it was busy and a great idea to give the child freedom yet keep a close eye on them. So I did beeline to buy one! I tried it out at my local farmers market the next weekend. While I perused the vegetable selection she couldn't run off- genius, right? No. She would go to the end of her "leash" and lean. I was forced to keep moving or have her keep leaning until she was lying on the ground- then I was the parent dragging my kid by a leash!! Needless to say I never used it again- I still think it's a great idea but I guess it's not for every kid!

  2. Leashes make sense in crowded or dangerous places such as amusement parks and large mall parking lots. But I will always cherish memories of carrying my daughter on my shoulders at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk many years ago. And I still have the sore shoulders to prove it!