Is It Wrong to Use a Toddler Harness or Leash?

Is it wrong to use a toddler harness or leash?
ByElizabeth Pantley
Parenting Expert
Updated
Feb 2017
Hero Image

Before you became a parent, you probably thought you’d never use a toddler safety harness (aren’t leashes just for animals?), but now that you have an unpredictable, high-energy toddler, it’s tempting.

You know your child better than anyone else. If you’re pondering a harness or leash, there’s probably a reason for it, and that reason is probably because you know that toddler can quickly get into trouble when he’s free to wander in public.

“Some toddlers have an excess of energy and speed and it only takes a minute for you to look away and he’ll be lost in a crowd,” says Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Discipline Solution. “If your little one is like this, and you’re going to be in a potentially hazardous situation, a toddler harness can be a great way to give him the freedom to walk on his own without the risk of having him wander off.”

In other words, no, you’re not a bad parent for considering a toddler harness. Sometimes, a harness is the best possible compromise between your child’s desire to move and your desire to keep him safe. But not everyone understands that fact, so your best bet is a “leash” that’s attached to a tiny backpack (some have stuffed animals on them), which seems slightly more humane than a straight harness. Be prepared for a few glares or even comments, but rest easy that your child will be safer — until he can learn to stick with you in a crowd.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Related Video

Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik Have Welcomed a Baby Girl

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
09/24/2020

Pregnant Bindi Irwin Reveals She’s Expecting a Baby Girl

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
09/24/2020

These Are the Top Halloween Trends on Etsy for 2020

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
09/23/2020

These Are the Baby Deals You Don’t Want to Miss at the Way Day Sale

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
09/23/2020

Babies Born in the Fall May Be at Higher Risk of Allergic Diseases

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
09/22/2020

Mina Starsiak Hawk Gets Real About Postpartum Realities With a Diaper

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
09/22/2020

Jodie Turner-Smith Says Breast Milk Is the Key to Her Skincare Routine

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
09/21/2020

After Two Miscarriages, Penn Badgley and Wife Welcome First Child

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
09/21/2020

Toddler FaceTime Games That Boost Verbal Skills and Family Bonds

Jocelyn M. Wood, CCC-SLP
Speech language pathologist