Is It Wrong to Use a Toddler Harness or Leash?

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

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