That is the question.

Last Thursday I was in the Phoenix Airport literally running after Luke as he explored every nook and cranny of what seemed like a 5 mile radius of our terminal. He'd go into shops and tear down their merchandise, try to run behind the California Pizza Kitchen counter, and desperately wanted to lick the women's bathroom floor. I've gotten into the habit of looking for kids Luke's age when we are in public places. He likes other kids and it will keep him in one place if there are other children for him to play with. During this "airport adventure," I zoomed in on numerous potential playmates and discovered that many were on leashes. When I say leash, I don't mean a dog collar or electric choker, but these cute backpacks that have a leash attached. The whole theory is that you gently nudge your child to go the way you want. Here is an example of one in action:

Okay, so replace this lady's face with mine, and put Luke's face on that kid, and that is what we will look like. You get the picture.

The first time I saw one of these, I thought it was a joke. However, that was before I had a "spirited" child and now I am totally tempted to buy one.

1. I don't have to chase him every which way.
2, This seriously minimizes the chances of him getting lost.
3. This is the closest I will ever come to having a dog.

1. I feel guilty because a) I know I would have to yank hard on that thing a couple 100 times before he understood and b) am I stifling his chances to explore?
2. Couldn't I just hold his hand?
3. I hate dogs, and this kind of looks like a dog.

Any help with this important decision is appreciated.


  1. Cristin, I know everyone is probably going to say the opposite but I am all for it. I was just at a shower last weekend and we were talking about it. In todays environment, it is better to know where your child is with a leash than to have something happen to him. Kids are crazy and quick. I say YES!

  2. You should definitely buy one (they sell them at Target if you're wondering). We bought one for Kaitlyn when we were flying out to Utah last year. She was just under two and Gavin was a couple months old. It made it so much easier because she's the type that would run off (and I mean RUN) and let's face it, in the world we live, it's just safer to always know where your kids are! You would not believe how many people have asked me where I bought it so they can get one too.

  3. Did I mention that she loves to wear it?! She used to ask all the time to bring her "doggy backpack" whenever we went out.

  4. I'm sure that it will come in handy, it just doesn't look fun to be strapped in one!

  5. I told you luke needed one! i can totally understand though why you would be hesitant to get one. I have to agree though with the other comments, it's better to know where he is, than to have a lost or kidnapped child, especially in a huge airport!I'm not saying he should wear it all the time, but for situations like the airport, i think it would be a smart idea.

  6. I guess I am going against the grain here, but I say it's sort of like treating your child like an animal. Yes it's important to have your child safe and yes there are scary people out there, but there were when we were babies and I know I never had a leash to "protect" me. I may change my tune as Oliver is a very energetic child as well and once he can run it's going to get crazy, but still....it's a leash. A leash on your child. It just doesn't seem right to put a child on a leash and yank him/her around. In fact having them on a leash might lull you into a false sense of security, that as long as they are connected to you, you don't have to pay attention to them. Let's face it, leash or no the minute your eyes are off them they can get into trouble!

  7. I bought a "harness" for Macie because I was doing so much flying this summer. I ended up not using it much because I also bought a sling that she could sit in on my hip and she did awesome with that. I still have the harness and think they're great for crowded places where you turn your back and someone could snatch up your child before you knew it.

  8. I used a leash with Hayden all the time. Actually, it was a harness. It went around both of our waists. It was GREAT in crowded airports. We used it all the time. In fact, I'm sure you saw us walking around Wymount with it at one time or another.

    Hayden was a very active child (CRAZY). For us it was a necessity. I think they're great. Safety first. People who complain about them haven't had a need for them :)

    I thought people would say rude things about it, but mostly people just asked me where I bought it (online but I can't remember the name of the site anymore, but it looks like Target has them now).

  9. D'oh I finally found where I bought my harness - tommiguard.com and then I realized that picture you posted is from the same website. I have the hands-free original in khaki :).

  10. My sister said that her friend had this cute monkey backpack that you could hold on to the tail. Its a harness, but cuter.

  11. So, I used to be totally opposed to them. But a few months ago at the zoo I saw a kid wearing one of the totally cute puppy/monkey backpack ones and it didn't seem as bad. I mean, as long as Luke isn't hooked up to the "leash" all the time, I can see places (ie: airport, zoo, etc.) where it's totally needed. Just don't be one of those people who always has their kid hooked up.

    Brandon will probably tell you all about how his little brother had a leash.

  12. I agree completely with what Nance just said. As long as he is not always wearing it, I think its great. I'm sure he will cry and fight it just the same, but atleast he will have some mobility. You know he will NEVER let you hold his hand. I think its great and probably could have really helped while we were at the airport- another reason is he is getting REALLY big and you can only hold him for so long. don't break your back- get a leash!

  13. If you do get one, I think the ones they sell for $10 at Wal-Mart and Target are nice (the monkey or puppy "backpacks" they wear with the tail wrapping around your wrist). But be prepared for people to make comments to you without shame. My sis-in-law had a lady scream at her in the University Mall (right by Deseret Book) "Leashes are for ANIMALS, not CHILDREN!!!!!!" When Marlie looked up in astonishment at the outrageous passion in her voice the lady yelled, "That's right!!! I'm talking to you!!!" Nice.

  14. Ok so i'm "Pro-leash" and if I could get Kylee to wear one still I would. Energetic kids only get worse....her newest is hidding from me in clothing stores behind racks of clothes....its lovely. Leashes are great, its pretty funny to see them run full steam ahead and then keep running in place cause they haven't realized they have one on. It will give you a laugh. The great thing about a leash is that kids can still be kids and explore without having to hold onto your hand or sit on your lap or hip (which Kylee wouldn't do anyways). They get a sense of independence without going crazy! I say go for the leash....and don't worry about strangers shouting things. Kylee wore that thing even to the grocery store and most people I think respect that your trying to be responsible.

  15. Honestly, I'm surprised you don't already have a leash, what with your descriptions of Luke's "spiritedness." My mom had one for my little brother at the grocery store. We were embarrassed to go with them, but she handled it a lot more like she was taming an unruly dog. Have you ever seen Mike Meyers on SNL when he's Stewart, the kid with the helmet, and someone gives him chocolate and he starts trying to run away from his leash but keeps getting jerked back? That's how my brother was at the store. Just apply constant pressure instead of short jerks and it won't be so bad.
    And of course post pictures once you get a leash. Please.

  16. Nance wanted me to share this with you. Don't take offense.


  17. I watched Brandon's You Tube video of the SNL skit with Mike Meyers as the Hyper Hypo kid with the harness and that is EXACTLY what I had in mind happening. I think I'm going to buy one if it's only $10, that way I won't be mad if it doesn't work. I've decided that the root of the problem is that I am really embarrassed to use a harness in public. Anyway, we'll see how it goes...

  18. (cristin's mom) I would suggest borrowing one before you buy (even if it's "only" $10. I tried the leash with you, and it back-fired. Once you realized you were being "controlled" you sat down on the floor of the mall and refused to move. Then you got REALLY mad. Good luck. p.s. The backpack worked best, followed by giving you something like frozen yogurt while pushing you in a stroller or shopping cart.



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