lifestyle

Should you put your child on a leash? Japanese mothers weigh in

117 Comments
By Michelle Lynn Dinh

We’re not entirely sure who invented child leashes, but they have found their way to Japan and the controversy that surrounds them has been imported right alongside. Discussed widely on Japanese online parenting forums, the disputed child gear are dubbed "maigo himo" (literally, “lost child cord”) and have become increasingly available at online shopping sites such as Rakuten.

But no matter what you call it – be it lost child cord, leash, harness, tether, or reins – one thing’s for sure: No one can agree if they are an embarrassment or proper parenting tool.

Japanese netizens who disapprove of child harnesses have been quite vocal on Japanese forums:

“I’ve never used one myself, but I have seen other parents using them. That’s because I’m under the impression that my kid isn’t an animal.”

“It’s certainly very unsightly when seen around town. It looks just like you’re taking your pet out.”

“Kids aren’t pets! As long as the parents are keeping a close watch on their children and make sure they’re holding their hand when walking around, that’s good enough. It almost seems like child abuse.”

On the other side of the debate, “safety” seems to be the keyword, with many people claiming children are kept out of harm’s way while physically attached to their parent.

“I started using one because I thought I might be slow to react if something were to ever happen.”

“Even if I hold my child’s hand, they’re able to twist and get away. Those who choose to only hold their child’s hand judge us for using a harness, but they won’t understand why we use a harness until something like that happens.”

“I used a harness on my toddler when I was pregnant with my second child. My belly was so big, I couldn’t run after my child if they were in a dangerous situation. Other than for this reason, everything will be fine if you just hold your child’s hand."

Some seemed completely terrified of taking their children outside for fear they might be kidnapped or injured by a stranger, citing harnesses decrease those risks:

“It can’t be helped, these are the times we live in. Even if a mother is near her child at the park, there are people who run around murdering anyone with a hammer, that’s just how it is now. It’s horrible.”

“The largest threat to a child’s life isn’t illness, it’s unforeseen accidents.”

One mother commented that she went to a crowded outdoor festival with her child attached with a harness and was complemented on her parenting by a police officer who said there were many lost children that day. Others said a harness should only be used on children ages one to three, adding that it’s best to use one even if it decreases accidents by a small fraction. Many took a hardline on the issue, saying they’d rather their child “look like a pet” than get killed in an accident.

It seems there’s no consensus in Japan when it comes to the use of child harnesses. Some can’t get over how strange it looks, others wonder why you wouldn’t use one to keep your child extra safe.

Source: Naver Matome

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Japanese experts and expats react to parenting norms from around the world -- Japanese Politician Takes a Stand Against Parents Naming their Children Pikachu -- Arranged Marriage Enters the Digital Age With Chinese “Baby Dating Site”

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117 Comments
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Ask the mother who's little girl was hit in the parking lot the other day.

26 ( +29 / -3 )

I would think a child's safety trumps embarrassment but let the parents make the decision they feel comfortable with. Who cares what others think?

14 ( +14 / -0 )

One of my daughters would have benefited from the leash more at 14 - 17 years old then as a toddler.

29 ( +31 / -2 )

I think leashes are not stricltly necessary. That people who feel comfortable running to their children's aid in case of an accident have a nice chance of preventing the worst. But I, personally, would use a leash for quite a long time. Because humans are animals and there is an age when you are no better than an animal to keep yourself alive in a city. Only the look of it is of a pet, because the children are definitely treated as they should.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

My wife wants to use it for me.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Who cares what others think?? An animal? Not, certainly not but something precious that needs to have constant attention so this is much better than yet another kid taken out in a parking lot or on a crosswalk.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I have been contemplating buying a harness as i have twin 20 month girls who recently tend to ran off in opposite directions if i take them out of their stroller.

I live i rural Japan and i know it'll probably frowned upon. Where as in the west and say 20 years ago there wasn't a problem.

It's a hard one.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

You do your best to hold your kid's hand, but sometimes these little curious and energetic creatures get away from you. Station platforms with express trains rushing by and clueless bicycle riders (I don't say "cyclists" as they are more aware of their environment) make me happy that I have this life-line to pull my kid out of danger. I rarely used it, but there were many occasions that I was happy that I did. Who cares what it looks like when thinking about the safety of your kid.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

I used to use one of these when my son was very small and we were walking along roads with narrow pavements, in case he decided suddenly to jump under a truck. There was no need to use it in parks though.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Child safety is every parent’s nightmare. To say it is the responsibility of the parents is 100 percent correct. However, as many of you know there are still a lot of careless and irresponsible parents out there still drive their kids around without prober restrains an often using a mobile phone while driving. To avoid an innocent child get hurt, the government have to make policies into law and no personal discretions are allow. Prevention is better than cure & better to be safe then sorry. Yohsuke- Your wife must have real concern for your safety. It is not a bad thing, it shown that she still care about you.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

This is one of those situations where it can't be just yes or no. If a parent is using the child leash for safety or for issues of time then it is a great invention. On the other hand if a parent is using it because they can't be bothered to explain to their child what the plan is for today or they are using it as a form of babysitting then it appears to be awful. In the end I can't see the harm in using a child leash, but the preferred method of interacting with a young child is being on the same level so you can see each other's faces and share the information on what is going to happen. However if time issues are involved in your plan this is not always possible.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

you can't hold your child's hand forever, especially when they are rambunctious and want to be free. and when you go to a crowded festival, shopping mall or amusement spot, these harnesses can be a life saver. i'm totally for them and have no problem seeing parents use them.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

My mom used a harness on me and I used a harness on my daughter. Anyone who has gone to a state fair or a zoo or any theme park or on a boat or to the Grand Canyon or to a parade or an airport or a train station with a very small child (but too old for a stroller) knows that the harnesses are invaluable. Nothing like the terror of losing sight of your child, even for a moment. And, even with the most careful and attentive parents, children still have a habit of disappearing. I remember going to the grocery store with my mom and young daughter. In about a second while we were getting something off the shelf my daughter had completely vanished - we found her within moments - a few aisles away - but what a scare! Use a harness. The kids love it. They like to pull against it and play pretend horsey or whatever. Make it a game. They enjoy it until they want you to pick them up and carry them anyway or put them back in the stroller (if they can still fit into one).

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Depends on the kids, parents and place. My mum would tell me to play in traffic . My wife and I use a leash but that's another story .

0 ( +3 / -3 )

They were around when I was a small child and that was more than 6 decades ago.

I think they have their need and place. Depends on the child and the mother/father and the environment were it might be used. For instance, while in a local park then it won't be necessary but on a busy street without sidewalks and a child who likes to run around then it might be safer to use one?

Also if in a very crowded situation like main train station or shopping mall.

Should put the safety of the children first and not to worry about what others might think or say.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

I am raising two extremely genki boys here in Tokyo and did not use a harness. If there was a "dangerous situation" I held their hand or picked them up - pretty simple. My family raised raised pure bred German Shepards for show and that may be an underlying reason I can't put a leash on my kid. I do feel for the parents that do it and understand it to some extent. The problem is, what happens when you stop using it?

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Kids aren’t pets!

With pets wearing diapers and riding baby carts and babies on leashes, the border between pets and children is getting thinner and thinner.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

My mother died of cancer when I was 7 and this was back in the 70's....she used one on me. Mainly because everyday things were exhausting to her..a trip to buy clothes while my brothers and sisters were in school...took everything she had. I was roughly 4 years old and she could not afford to let me get away. Once we were in the store I was in the shopping cart. I'm sure there were more times that I wore one but I have only that memory of the harness. Now at age 50 when I think back about it...I have no bad feelings as I know my mother was doing the best she could given her illness. I am just thankful that I have that memory given my age at the time.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I remember being on a leash when i was child, 60 years ago, when my mother, myself and little brother ventured beyond our back yard into the city for shopping or the park. I think it is a great idea.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

What ever works. I told my daughters "when in the street let's not run around and hold my hand at all time, it will be very painful and I'll be very sad when you get hit by bicycles or cars". That seems to work for me, but I understand some kids can't be told nicely, thus a leash would do the job better. Better save than sorry.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan is generally horrendously child unfriendly. Train stations without barriers, parks that lead directly out onto busy roads without gates, etc, etc.

Mostly the negative comments are coming from bad parents or non-parents. Good parents take every reasonable precaution, especially in a country like Japan where child safety doesn't even seem to be anywhere on public officials' radars.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I didn't feel the need to use one with my oldest but my youngest was another story. One never left my side, the other was a runner. It wasn't something I needed each time we went out, just depended on where and what we were doing. I think it's the parents call as it is their child and they are the ones who are responsible for their children. Judgment should be reserved for those who endanger a child and not for those who are proactively trying to keep them safe.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

My little brother was on a anchored leash and my cousin when we went to a bayside vacation home. 2 meter drop into either mud at low tide or 1.5 meter deep water at high tide.

I couldn't walk mike kids around town or the park on a leash though. I raised them to stay near and or hold my hand when needed.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I had a leash when my oldest was a toddler, and used it several times, but I didn't like it because when used in places where there are many people, the leash got in people's way. so I decided not to use it anymore. HOWEVER, I always made sure to hold my kids' hands in parking lots, crowded places, on a street when they were toddlers. Sometimes they didn't want to hold my hand and made a fuss, but each time, I stopped and grabbed their hands and talked to them. If they still didn't want to hold my hands, I picked them up. After it became a HABIT to hold hands, they never made a fuss any longer.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Hey, you may not KNOW this but humans, adults and toddlers / children alike have ARMS, long extensions from the left and right side of the body and on the end of these 'arms' are 'hands' that can grasp each other. Amazing!

-17 ( +0 / -17 )

"It looks just like you’re taking your pet out.”

Not as much as when you dress your kids up in fluffy coats with ears on their hoods. My mother used a leash on me when I was a toddler and it was fine, I always wanted to run and walk ahead. I have occasionally used one on my wife and my wife was fine with it too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Doh! *I have occasionally used one on my daughter and my wife was fine with it too....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It is an embarrassment for sure, but if it keeps your child safe and causes no harm to them while going from A to B, it can also be practical. I just hope there are parks for kids that the leashes can be removed and the kids allowed to play freely. :)

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

After reading this article I am still convinced that at least half of the J-population is in dire need of common sense training, I am reminded of this everyday I step out into the public realm!

Clearly these leads are a great idea when used where they would be useful, improve safety. One just needs the smarts to know when to use & when its not needed

7 ( +7 / -0 )

That leash or not debate been redone here now for over 10yrs annually.

No need to discuss do what you think you are comfy with and think is right.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I don't agree with that harnes.. it's seem the tender loving care of a mother to her children doesn't feel them.. it is important they bond them together. . In the safetiness, always put attention to your little one so that you don't need that harness anymore..

-13 ( +0 / -13 )

So instead of spending time with the child and teaching them about safety and walking close to their parents during trips out - just put a leash on them. Saves sooo much time and hassle.

Having a child has never been more easy. ._.

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

Comes down to safety vs looks and image isnt it.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

And we still get answers like putting a child on a leash = an excuse for NOT teaching the rules, etc.

Honestly think many posters don't have kids and given their viewpoints are they teaching their kids correctly?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I used one when I was pregnant with my second child as my daughter, even though I had taught her to hold my hand, would on occasion, take off and I couldnt really chase her! IN a crowded shopping area or in a train station before she understood that holding my hand was important, I also used it as well and will do so with my son! I dont care what people think....its about safety for me and knowing that despite ones best intentions, kids do take off when you are least expecting it!!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Cool with that, though I draw the line (in most cases) at muzzles.

If you haven't seen this Portlandia video related to this issue, though, you should: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCDbY_lXS5A&feature=kp

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I used to think "poor child" whenever I saw a kid with a leash on. Then I had my second son and found myself ordering one online! LOL

8 ( +9 / -1 )

What took them so long to invent this?!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

CGB- Spender?

Those were old news globally a few decades ago.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I find it amazing that some would think that this is not a good practice to keep children safe, and yet they are probably some of the same parents who do not put their child in a child's car seat or let them ride in the front of the car unbuckled.

If the parents want to put it on their child, it's there perogative. As long as they are not making them walk on all fours I say good on them. I think this is a better. I for one used to have pet dogs back in the 70's, and they never went walking with a leash. They kept right next to me, and had enough sense to not get into the streets when a car was coming. It seems that people in Japan are more worried about a dog's safety and comfort (I have seen dogs being carried in strollers with diapers), than with human babies.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I have vague memories of having a harness when I was a toddler, many, many moons ago - they're not new. Old photos show that it was pretty yellow leather with loops for either a lead or to strap me in my pram - apparently I had a habit of trying to jump out. When my daughter was little I got a harness and lead sent out from England because I couldn't find one anywhere in Japan. Both my kids were expert absconders, and the harness probably saved their tiny lives more times than I care to contemplate. My daughter was so traumatised by the experience (not!!) that as soon as her own daughter started walking she made sure she had a harness and lead for her.

teaching them about safety and walking close to their parents is important, say some - and yes it is, but a 2-year-old eager to see and touch everything has a very hard time remembering what Mum said (again) two minutes ago. By the time a child is 3 or 4 the lesson may have sunk in, but in the meantime the harness is a useful tool.

Saves sooo much time and hassle.

No, saves lives and hassle.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

What's with all the negativity, I meant no 'arm.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I'm definitely going to get one for my son when he gets to that age that he can start wandering around. Not to embarrass him, but to make sure he stays within a manageable and safe range until he is aware and old enough to not wander off and get lost or walk into incoming traffic. Not to mention it would be general common courtesy to not to have one of those wild kids running rampant disturbing others. I love kids (not in the unlawful way, just to be clear.), but some parents simply don't have the competency required to raise them. The child restraint is a tool for responsible parenting, plain and simple.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The problem is, what happens when you stop using it?

The same thing that happens when you stop carrying and holding your child's hand. Nothing.

Why are people suggesting those who use such things don't teach their kids how to be safe? If anything, wouldn't it be the parents who are using these things are well aware of the dangers out there so ARE teaching their kids about safety - say much more than those parents who don't bother with one nor hold their kid's hands or pick them up in busy places with lots of people and cars??

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I've never had one used on me and I've never used one. But like many people I know that some kids are worse than others at running away. Bottom line, if you think it will save your kid's life use it and don't care what anyone says or thinks. Better save a life than be embarrassed.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Let parents decide what best for junior, or the nanny state will unilaterally legislate to assume that responsibility .

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Case and point, the 1 year old that was killed yesterday in the car park. Kids suddenly bolt off and twist out of your hold, I don't want my kid running out onto the road or getting knocked over by a bike.

You wont understand unless you have kids.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I wish more parents would use them, especially on roads or in crowded areas. Harnesses used to be very common in the UK up until the mid eighties, they've gone out of fashion which is a shame as they are very useful.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Life is so fragile that it needs just one second of a bad decision to jeopardize it. At any age. Then, it would not be a bad idea to take one more security measure with our kids. Just in case...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

gogogo - Elizabeth Heath, you both present a persuasive case for policy makers to consider formal leash or stroller legislation, would this a be step to far?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

WOW, hey! You may not KNOW this but humans, adults and toddlers / children alike have ARMS, --the long extensions from the left and right side of the body?-- and on the end of these 'arms' are 'hands' that can grasp each other. Amazing! Free! Evolutionary provided safety!

-15 ( +0 / -15 )

They are not a leech, you are not walking your kid, you are stopping them from bolting away from you into danger, call it a tether not a leech.

I would rather be uncool then have my kids injured.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

You wont understand unless you have kids.

People without kids aren't stupid nor do they live in a childfree world. I think they understand plenty.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

“Kids aren’t pets! As long as the parents are keeping a close watch on their children and make sure they’re holding their hand when walking around, that’s good enough. It almost seems like child abuse.”

Well as I said when the little one year old got killed in the parking lot, harnesses DO save lives ! I'm glad to see they are now available in Japan although I guess I could have made a fortune had I continued hand-making them as I did for my friends in Hikone so many years ago...!

@YongYang Just because you keep repeating yourself it doesn't make it any "safer".....

9 ( +9 / -0 )

WOW, hey! You may not KNOW this but humans, adults and toddlers / children alike have ARMS, --the long extensions from the left and right side of the body?-- and on the end of these 'arms' are 'hands' that can grasp each other. Amazing!

And you may not know this, but toddlers have legs - the pudgy little extensions that hang below their big girl/big boy knickers - that can launch said toddler into the road, down the street or out of sight in a crowded shop at the speed of light. A harness helps prevent this.

A harness is also good for giving Tiny a bit of freedom; he can toddle around and cover a greater area, with both hands free, than he can if he has to hold Mum's hand.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

surprised at the backlash given the numbers of people who treat their pets like children..... seems like i often see kids running loose on pavement and close to traffic and in danger of being hit by random pavement cyclists..... leash seems like a good precaution in busy built up areas or crowds.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I wonder how many of these mothers in the article that are against harnesses for their children also do not put their kids in child seats. I get the feeling that the number is the majority, if not all of the respondents. There are times for small children to be allowed to run freely and there are times when their movements should be curtailed. In order to do so, it seems to me to be perfect sense to use child seats and harnesses to keep children out of harm's way.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

People without kids aren't stupid nor do they live in a childfree world. I think they understand plenty.

Not so sure about that. It's easy to be an expert when it's all hypothetical. Actually having to raise your own kids can be very humbling though. I knew everything about raising kids myself - until I had actually had them. All those great theories I had went right out the window. Kids didn't react the way I expected them to. And I wasn't as wonderful and perfect as I thought I was.

We'd all like to be perfect parents, but nobody is perfect. Kids get away sometimes. But not with a leash on them.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I've actually experienced this first-hand as a toddler lol

I constantly ran out of the house and hid from my mum, so I was essentially in a harness with a massive elasticated rope attached to it - but only for around the house & yard ehe

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Don't Japanese fathers have a valid opinion about this too?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Marie. See above post. Legs controlled.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

sighclops, your mum didn't think of closing the front door?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Heck, kids should not only be put on a leash, a lot of them should be muzzled, especially the whiny Japanese boys, ha ha

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

I once had a Japanese neighbor tell me to my face to put a leash on my cat as she was feeding ours. I never would even think about putting a leash on my child. I'd rather hold his/her hand.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

A harness is also good for giving Tiny a bit of freedom; he can toddle around and cover a greater area, with both hands free, than he can if he has to hold Mum's hand.

Exactly! My little one would fight me every time I try to put her in a stroller. She started walking at 10 months and has not stopped running since. The harness allowed her to freedom and mobility to explore her surroundings. And she has been taught safety and about holding my hand in parking lots which we enforced, harness or not. She is nearly 8 now and sill grabs for my hand in a parking lot, never wanders more than 5 feet from me in the shops and always stops to check for traffic before crossing a road. The harness never hindered the teaching aspect of raising my child.

Actually having to raise your own kids can be very humbling though.

True. As I tell my 21 yr old (who seems to think she knows everything) ....intelligence and maturity does not equate to experience. Just see how much of your opinions change based on new experiences.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So lets settle for the term 'toddler safety harness', so how many posters would support statutory legislation to make harnesses part of a parental duty of care......

Thumbs up for a positive, Thumbs down for a negative, to retain a element of anonymity.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Highly recommended. First think we should worry about is child's safety, not what other people says about it. I hope people who have kids agree with me.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

would support statutory legislation to make harnesses part of a parental duty of care......

No that would be a mistake. The parents can decide whether to use one or not?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

zichi - Yes common sense should prevail, there is a on going public debate involving UK child protection agencies around parental responsibility and United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

1

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why not? Besides, the little kids here are wilder and more out of control than the dogs anyway.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Suppose it were the other way around... meaning parents somehow started leashing their kids over a hundred years ago and dogs were left off leash... Then... recently people started putting their pets on a leash.... what would they say. I can't believe that people are treating their dogs like children!! To me this is a question of what people are used to. Like the iPad when it came out.... everyone was snickering at calling it a Pad.... now its just an iPad.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yes, if you are comfortable putting your dog in a stroller you should have no qualms about putting your child on a leash.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Excellent idea for young mothers who take their kids to Costco.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Im late to this, but I really think it has a lot to do with the individual child . My first would walk nicely and hold my hand, was a non bolter. MY second was a runner who would just GO. And my second was darn fast. If I had not had a harness, then I am positive that he would have been in real danger.

I must admit though, I preferred to use a baby carrier on my back when we were out in very busy places. Aint no running from there...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Most insecure parents in Japan want to control their kids all the time. They are not dogs. Let kids take some risks in life and grow by doing good things, but also making some mistakes. As long as they don't hurt themselves. How are they going to develop any confidence in themselves? Sterotype of Japan remains as a culture that avoids risks and shows little value for personal freedom. No wonder when they grow up, they cannot make any decisions.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Better safe than sorry. It's only a short time in a small child's life, anyway. Recently one of my friends told me a deep dark secret, a few years ago her sister accidentally hit and killed a small child when reversing out of the carpark. The toddler had run off when her mother was putting shopping bags in the car. A really easily preventable tragedy.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The things we do to accommodate the automobile!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

kimuzukashiiiii: Sorry my kid loves to run, runs wherever, loads of energy, he is 2 years old, he doesn't understand that running on the street he might run into a car, bike, human anything else. He doesn't like to be carried all the time and wants to check everything out. I hold his hand all the time but I use a tether (they are not called leaches) to stop him bolting away if he twists and breaks away from my hand.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

We have 2 boys, of which one is an adorable 4-year-old "downie" who definitely has his own mind. In the city he is attached to our hands firmly at all times, or carried, or sitting on my shoulders, or inside the shopping cart. I went on a cruise in May and felt uncomfortable with the danger of him falling overboard, so I got a dog leash which I attached to his swim vest. Great investment of 1,500 Yen. The downside, the 3-meter retractable rope was more in the way of other peoples' path. At the very first use he run off and you can imagine what happened when the rope came to a sudden end. But he learned quickly not to test "the limits" again. I'm not sure if a leash will prevent your child from harm given my boat experience but for sure, little Max wasn't able to fall into the ocean.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

i probably would use one. after chasing after my nephew in a crowded store. little kids can run and turn faster than you think and can get between gaps in people that adults can't.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Harness the kids, keep them inside, watch them like a hawk, dont let them be children. When they are killed, blame the grieving parents, or blame the kids themselves- well do anything to avoid putting the blame on ourselves, the way we live, and the true cause of so many thousands of deaths year after year, day after day - the automobile.

Astounding cognitive dissonance.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

comanteer: Not so sure about that. It's easy to be an expert when it's all hypothetical.

Sorry, but having kids doesn't make you an expert on kids either. It doesn't even seem to make many parents an expert on their own kids. Sensible people, those with children and those without, understand and acknowledge that.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

**Not so sure about that. It's easy to be an expert when it's all hypothetical. Actually having to raise your own kids can be very humbling though. I knew everything about raising kids myself - until I had actually had them. All those great theories I had went right out the window. Kids didn't react the way I expected them to. And I wasn't as wonderful and perfect as I thought I was.

We'd all like to be perfect parents, but nobody is perfect. Kids get away sometimes. But not with a leash on them.**

You're making a massive assupmtion that people without kids have never been caregivers of children. If I'm not mistaken, most daycare workers, nannies and au pair are people without kids. Many teachers don't have their own kids. Suggesting that these people are clueless, as another poster pretty much called them, is rather unfair. There are also many parents who don't really raise their kids and have plenty of help so suggesting that because someone popped out a kid, they "get" it is really not fair.

If you expected kids to "react" a certain way, perhaps you were someone who didn't spend a lot of time with kids before you had your own? I wish I had 100 yen for every time I heard "I didn't think it would be this hard" when it came to kids because I am often left thinking "WTF? Did you think it was going to be a cake walk?". Many folks don't have a lot of experience with kids before they have their own but there are plenty out there that do. One doesn't need to have kids to know what if safe for them and what isn't. One also doesn't need to have kids to form opinions on parenting.

No parent is perfect and expecting perfection is just silly. That being said, parents have a responsiblity to try and ensure their kids are safe. I am sad to say that I see parents here daily that don't step up to the level of responsibility and that results in avoidable deaths and injuries of kids.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Teach your kid at home FIRST

Set up rules

If you can teach a puppy from not running away you can teach a kid.

Having a kid run around like a " wILD MOnKEY " is frowned upon !

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

JT poster comment: "I never would even think about putting a leash on my child. I'd rather hold his/her hand."

Japanese parenting forum comment from the article:"Even if I hold my child’s hand, they’re able to twist and get away. Those who choose to only hold their child’s hand judge us for using a harness, but they won’t understand why we use a harness until something like that happens.”

I empathize with and support the Japanese parenting forum comment.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Most idiotic thing ive seen, and heard of, absolutely ridiculous.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

We had our son on the leash for some time.

Mostly positive reactions from fellow parents.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Maybe mom can take the tyke and the dog for a walk at the same time.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

These things are dangerous for the psycological well being of the child. The child will learn that once he/she is on the leash, he is trapped, and can't get away. But he will soon discover that once he hears that click of the leash being taken off, he can and will go anywhere he pleases, with little regard for the parents wishes.

I can understand that this is an easy way to try to keep hold of the child, but this also does psycological things to the parents as well. For example two moms are in a parking lot talking, and one mom has her child on a leash. She doesn't think about the child's safety because she is aware that he is on a leash and can't run to far away from her. Next thing you know you hear a screech and BOOM, as the mother turns around and is horrified to see her baby lying on the pavement not waking up. It makes the parents more careless because they are trusting in the perceived safety of the leash.

Parenting is not easy, and it's not supposed to be easy. Trying to take shortcuts to make it easier for your child will only hinder their full development. If a person is not ready to take on the commitment of having children then they shouldn't have them

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

My daughter is with ADHD. Only those with ADHDkids would know how hard it to look after one. They have less sence of danger than the other kids, and are very impulsive. I turned into a nervous wreck first 3-4 years. Add to that her being a late talker and not quite understanding why something is dangerous...That leash(which actually was really cute bag with her favorite character on it) saved her life on number of occasions. First, holding her hand was enough, but then, when my second child was born,and I had to push this big stroller with both hands, going out became an ordeal. Of course, in parks and other facilities for kids she was leash-less, but outside, in the trafic she was on the leash, until she grew wise enough to avoid dangers. Even now outside i hold her hand or insist she holds onto the stroller or my handbag.I've heard a lot, especially from elderly women, and it hurt me always, because they talked without knowing what I'm through, without even knowing what ADHD is. I hated them bitterly, but kept my mouth shut. No more. My son is quiet, and walks with me, but if ever he needs a leash for his own safety, and somebody "disapprove", I'll probably go ballistic, for all these years of stress and ijime.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

These things are dangerous for the psycological well being of the child

Rubbish.

It makes the parents more careless

No it does not. Parents use the harness because they are more careful, not less. The harness was used on me, I used it on my kids, my daughter uses it on her kids. None of us have anything wrong with our psychological wellbeing, none of us ever got knocked down in a car park (or anywhere else), and none of us have suffered any hindrance to our full development, but thank you for your concern.

Parenting is not easy, and it's not supposed to be easy.

No one (in their right mind) ever claimed it was.

Trying to take shortcuts to make it easier for your child will only hinder their full development.

It isn't 'taking shortcuts'. It's keeping the child safe and the parent sane.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

These things are dangerous for the psychological well being of the child.

Oh dear! what nonsense some people really try to spread?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

If parents want to put their kid on a leash, than go right ahead! Sometimes they just let the little “bad” ones run free causing all kind of trouble… if it keeps them safe then I’m all for it…

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Maybe they are okay for certain kids in certain situations, but you know, kids don't learn to be cautious in a completely risk-free environment either.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Before my kid was born I was all like the haters, I thought I would never use one of these because I would not be a lazy parent. All that changed when my kid was 2 years old when he wanted to explorer, not listen and doesn't understand everything that is right and write at 2 years old. If you don't need one for your kid then great, but they are an extremely helpful safety tool for me and other parents.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

These things are dangerous for the psycological well being of the child. Could we have a research article that proves this is the case because I'm siding with Cleo and many others.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

kids don't learn to be cautious in a completely risk-free environment

How are they going to develop any confidence in themselves?

You may as well ask How are they ever going to learn to use the toilet if you put them in nappies? No one is suggesting keeping the kid permanently in a harness until he's 20, any more than anyone would suggest keeping him in nappies till that age, or breast-feeding till that age. On the other hand, you're not going to get very far insisting the child sit on the loo when he can't even sit upright on his own and has no control of his nether regions, or serving him solid food (he has to get used to it sometime...) when he's got no teeth and an undeveloped digestive system.

There's a proper time for harnesses, nappies and breasts/bottles.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

"Many took a hardline on the issue, saying they would rather their child look like a pet than get killed in an accident."

My sentiments exactly.

Aforementioned friend, whose sister knocked over and killed a small child running around the parking lot? The little girl lost her life, which is tragic. The driver, who was not at fault, suffered the trauma of being detained and questioned for 48 hours, lost her job and her marriage prospects (as did her two sisters), and her whole family had to leave town and start again elsewhere.

Two families ruined. And all of this could've been prevented if the mother had used a safety harness.

Ounce of prevention, and all that.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well, as I said, I can see it in some situations. Some kids, as has been pointed out, are extremely curious about the world in a physical way, and it's true there is more traffic and other dangers than previously, but that said, most of us managed to grow up without leashes, and I imagines most modern kids can do so as well.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

SimondB:

"One of my daughters would have benefited from the leash more at 14 - 17 years old then as a toddler."

LOL!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@oneduce Your comment has not a single grain of truth in it.

When my kids were under two, we lived in an apartment by a busy road in front of the railroad station. Simply to get to the shops, or even the nearest vending machine, we had to walk along a narrow sidewalk with cars whizzing past at 40+ miles an hour. Even walking on the sidewalk in the safest possible way, with the kid on the side away from the road, the speeding vehicles were not more than two meters from my child. How long do you think it takes a child to travel two meters? How many second chances do you think you are going to get if you lose your grip on your kid in that situation?

Now you of course seem very confident in your holy parenting righteousness and probably have the utmost confidence in your ability to hold your child and never lose your grip on their hand no matter how much they squirm. But what is your confidence level? 99%? 99.9%? Are you prepared to take on even 1 in 1000 chance that your child might die in front of you when you can easily prevent it with a simple piece of equipment?

I might add that your comment about the parent having their child run over while actually in the harness is rather silly. The harness allows you to adjust the length. When near traffic, you keep the child within a few centimeters. That's the whole point. (the photo accompanying this article which show someone with the kid in a park on a relatively long leash is a poor illustration of why a harness is necessary). Secondly, when the kid is in the harness, you obviously look at them. You don't extend the harness to a few meters and then leave the kid in the road, ignoring them while you talk to someone else.

As for your comment about "shortcuts" hindering a child's development, Cleo has already dismissed that assertion rather well. Equating your comments to "How are they ever going to learn to use the toilet if you put them in nappies?" is an excellent rebuttal to your unfounded claims of psychological damage.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So embarassing like having a little monkey on a leash!

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

What so embarrass about? Better than having the kid launch into the road and hit by a car. I have seen a toddler just ran across the street couple of weeks ago and the car had to brake really hard to avoid hitting the child. The mother could just scream to toddle to stop....and hope that the kid did not get hit.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I am not a mother, but am an objective observer. It is unfortunate that the old guard cannot realize that today's good parenting should include a "kid" leash. In a bustling city, or park, it is best to not let go of your child. One minute they're there, the next minute, they're gone! This has happened many times. The child could fall into the sewer-gutter, literally. They can injure themselves. They can get lost in a crowed, or even, abducted! So, to hell with stereotyping good parenting with "walking your pet." Nonsense, it is the best way to keep a "close eye" on your child. Times have changed. Plus, after a years time, the child will no longer need a leash. Even with your pet, after a year's time, they will automatically stay close to you without the leash. However, if your child suddenly begins to relive himself, on a fire-hydrant or tree, then, perhaps, a leash may not be suited for your child?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Patric Spohn

The downside, the 3-meter retractable rope was more in the way of other peoples' path.

You mention a REAL dog-leash, 3 metres long... A child-harness is nowhere near "three metres long" and doesn't even look anything like a dog-leash. It's a pity I can't show you a photo of the one I made so you could see the "difference", but it's good that you did the "next best thing" !

As I mentioned before, I was on a "harness" (I started walking at 9 months old) whenever taken out for shopping, or whatever, when I was a toddler. To those who mention "psychological consequences" none of us (my two brothers included) seem to have "suffered" any psychological "damage".

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“Kids aren’t pets!

And my house is not a car, but they both require keys.

And my wife is not a man, but she sometimes wears pants.

Kids are not pets, but either may need a leash.

my kid isn’t an animal.

Both you and your kid are animals. The difference is that you are an animal properly trained to function in this world of automobiles and bicycles and escalators and crowds, but your kid isn't yet.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Well, it was bound to happen ... today my colleague offered to drive me to the station. Just as she was pulling out of her parking space, a small child dashed out in front of the car, and my colleague didn't even notice him (it was dim in the parking lot, and the kid was only about 60cm tall anyway) and only braked when I screamed "look out!".

And where was the mother? Why, standing a few metres away, chatting with a mama-friend, completely oblivious to her kid's whereabouts! I really, really wanted to give her an earful. Actually, I wanted to do more than that.

Anyway, someone had a lucky escape today.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

it will be better to have a child caring course for young mother, including all aspect of child caring

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

While in theory is sounds like a great idea, there is one thing that worries me: what happens with such a leash in highly-crowded environments--especially on Japan's many commuter trains and subway systems. These leashes could become potentially hazardous, especially with the extreme crowding on the JR East Saikyo Line or any private railway line that ends at Ikebuburo, Shinjuku or Shibuya stations.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@Benji7 Comes down to safety vs looks and image isnt it.

Yes, it's all about mothers thinking "What will other people think about me?" rather than contemplating the safety of the child. Yes, leahes are used with animals, but children at very young ages are impulsive and prone to make runs here, there, and everywhere. Their brains aren't completely formed, they take risks older children won't and are often a risk to themselves in what are safe circumstances for older children - think of electric socket covers, gates on stairs in homes, removing dangerous liquids from cupboards that mobile youngsters can access in their crawling/toddling years.

My parents used one with me way back when, and I've never found myself cocking my leg against a tree to relieve myself in later life... ;)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@[Raymond Chuang

I don't believe anybody in their right mind would take such small kids on a train during "rush hour" and during the day, there are times when the trains/stations are NOT so crowded... In any case, it is not like a "dog-leash", it's more like "horse-reins", not so long as to get entangled with anyone/anywhere and who's to prevent picking the child up if it DOES get too crowded...?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Given the dire lack of the most basic common sense health and safety precautions in Japan, I think it is inevitable that parents will want to use these. For example barriers around drops into rivers and off bridges are often completely inadequate to prevent a toddler falling through, then you have a lack of barriers on train and subway stations and frequent situations where only stairs are available and no elevators. Then there are the crazy drivers in Japan that make every road (most of which have no side walk) death traps.. the dangers go on and on...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This topic has become notably controversial since a Fuji TV commentator called it "a reminiscence of slavery".

Japanese people are prone to be nostalgic and hate to see active moms having an "easy" life. Even some experienced moms slam those moms for being "lazy" or "slacking off" because "they didn't use it as they didn't have such thing in their days". They firmly believe the active moms should persevere through inconveniences just because they had to in the past. They use the same argument even for baby strollers. Something tells me these moms might have a loose screw.

@Benji7 Comes down to safety vs looks and image isnt it.

Agree. It’s interesting that you can easily guess who would or wouldn’t have (raised) a kid in this thread. Image over safety. After all, it’s your own child and none of these “smart critics” will protect your child should anything bad happen.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I put my kid on a leash, he won't feel awkward because the dog is on one too!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It blew my mind away to put a child on a leash. There might be both in favor and against.But, personally speaking, I think it is best to hold a kid's hand.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Raymond Chuang what happens with such a leash in highly-crowded environments--especially on Japan's many commuter trains and subway systems.

The purpose of it is for its safety, a sane parent wouldn't try to use it on a packed train. They would elude rush-hour to begin with but some moms have to drop off their kid at a distant daycare because they lost the competitive local daycare "lottery". In that case, they would rather use a baby carrier.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A mago himo is an opportunity for freedom for a toddler- much greater than being being held by hand. Hand to hand is bad for both parents who have bend over and children who are restricted greatly plus their arms are put at awkward angles. Japan is a country of mothers, who love Dako Himo sling, which is a tight cage for babies and baby cars (prams) which are nearly as bad. Japanese mothers hate their children having any freedom which a mago himo gives. "Treated like animals"- you mean like dogs and occasionally cats who are a part of your family. Such a comment says something bad about their regard for their family members.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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