By Rebecka Shelberg
There is a bit of debate and a lot of judgement around whether or not to use a ‘baby leash’. Cries of “they are cruel!” and “Children are not dogs” however, have absolutely no impact on my intention to use one, for the simple reason that I consider it a safety device.
At home I always strap my daughter into her high chair and her bath seat, we have three baby gates (to the kitchen, and both the top and bottom of the stairs), when I go to the bathroom she goes into her cot and when I’m preparing food for us, she goes into her playpen.
That’s not to say however that she never gets to just roam free around the house and yard. I just have a system of safety measures that I use to control her explorations and keep her safe.
Outside of the house she is also strapped into her car seat, her bike and her pram. Why then, would it make any sense to take her out into a shopping centre or onto a busy street and let her roam free?
I don’t want to have to strap her into a stroller when she is capable and willing to walk, and I don’t want her to get run over by a trolley – or worse a car!
And if those reasons are not enough, consider that complete and utter horror, that awful gut wrenching feeling you would experience if you lost your child in a crowd or, even worse, if someone snatched them and carried them away. That alone is enough for me to not care about the looks or comments that I may get.
I know that many will refute this argument with a remark that parents “should be watching their children”, but the reality is that you cannot watch them 100% of the time.
Tending to a younger sibling, taking items off the shelf or even bumping into someone you know will all provide ample time for the average toddler to make a swift get away.
It is my pleasure, my privilege and my responsibility to look after my daughter and keep her safe, from both herself and others.
I love being a parent, and one of the things I love about it the most is that I get to make the choices. I chose to use the baby leash and I chose not to lay down judgement on others for their choices.
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By Rebecka Shelberg