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Toddler Leashes – Degrading Or Practical?

Posted in Toddlers on 17th July 2011

Toddler Leashes – Degrading Or Practical?

On the surface, putting a toddler on a leash seems like such a degrading thing to do to a child. It seems almost as if these parents are treating their children as little better than dogs. Indeed, that is a common view to adopt especially for individuals do not have children and have never had to fear losing a child at a public venue. To put a little more perspective to this view, let’s look at the reasoning behind toddler leashes and how it compares with other child restraining devices.

Why Do We Need Toddler Leashes?

Toddlers are little explorers. They love to examine new things and often pay very little regard as to the whereabouts of Mummy or Daddy when they are in the midst of an important discovery. Toddler leashes fulfill a toddler’s need to continue the quest to learn everything possible about the strange new world around him (or her) while helping to keep him (or her) within the reach and relative security of a parent.

If you are a parent or if you have ever had to watch over a toddler, you may recall that it only takes a moment of distraction for a toddler to disappear from sight. In a crowded shopping mall with distractions abound, losing a child is a very real and frightening possibility. Not only is it extremely distressing for a parent to lose a child at a busy venue, it is also a traumatic experience for the child (once the child has discovered he has lost his parents), and a hassle for security to assist in the search for the child. In countries where child abductions are a real concern, toddler leashes on roaming children becomes a critical requirement.

Are Leashes Really Any Different to Other Child Restraining Devices?

The main issue with toddler leashes is the idea that a child is being treated like an animal. However, let’s examine this from a toddler’s perspective. If you were a child curious about the world around you and eager to see, touch, feel, hear and taste it, would you rather be bound to a parent or guardian by a string attached to your hand or be strapped into a stroller? For isn’t that the other purpose of a stroller? To keep toddlers from wandering off on their own so parents can focus their attention onto other things?

Being stuck in a stroller would be terribly frustrating to a toddler whose urge is to pick up the pebble on the grass, touch the flowers in a garden, or do any of the myriad of activities that toddlers do to satisfy their curiosity. While some toddlers might be happy to sit in a stroller on occasion, all toddlers, at some point, will desire to be free to move around on their own. From a psychological point of view, it would be preferable to allow a toddler some freedom of movement with a toddler leash than to leave him (or her) screaming and crying in stroller.

The purpose of many child restraining devices, such as the car seat, is to keep a child safe. Some toddlers do not agree with them and many dislike using them,