Minnie Driver Put Her Baby On A Leash—Is That OK?

Fri, March 11, 2011 4:09pm EDT by 26 Comments

Before I had a child, I thought this was terrible to do to your little one. Now, I understand — can you?

Actress Minnie Driver, 41, was spotted at the airport the other day with her son, Henry, 3, on a leash. Yes, a leash! These “child-harnesses” are specially-made to fasten around the torso of a toddler so a mother can keep the child from wandering away, or to protect them from getting snatched by a child molester. So is this whole concept super-smart—or kinda creepy??

Yes, toddlers are prone to wandering away from their mothers. But the hope is that most mothers of toddlers are so focused on their child that this wouldn’t be an issue! That’s what I thought, at least, until I was the mother of a toddler myself! I’d always thought these “child-leashes” were just wrong, but then I lost sight of my newly-walking son for just one second in a mall and that was the first time I ever thought of getting one of these things. I didn’t buy one in the end—I just could treat my son this much like a dog! But what do you think?

—Kim Gieske

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Mona

Posted at 9:19 AM on March 15, 2011  

Funny thing, I actually happened to use the same harness for my daughter when she was that age. It proved to be invaluable! We were travelling a lot, and it was the only way to keep her from wandering off at the station or airport.

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Isa

Posted at 11:22 PM on March 14, 2011  

Absolutely, especially in a busy place like an airport.
My daughter is two and a half and is quickly outgrowing me. She is over half my height and I’m not a very strong person. When her dad carries her she tries to come to me because she KNOWS I’m not able to carry her for long.
I try to hold her hand but she refuses, she throws herself on the ground.
I’ve tried one of those harnesses, and they’re not for me. I just suffer through it, but I understand now whereas I didn’t before!

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Christina

Posted at 7:04 PM on March 14, 2011  

They’re not leashes, they’re harnesses. A leash goes around an animal’s neck. My mother put a harness on me when I was a child because I had a very bad habit of quickly wandering off. After I got lost a couple of times, she would put me on a harness when we were in malls or grocery stores. Security guards are NOT as observant as you’d think when it comes to kids wandering around alone. My sister wandered off in a mall once and when I ran up to a security guard, his response was, “I can’t watch EVERYONE in this place.” In other words, it’s up to YOU to make sure your child stays stuck on you and a harness is a great way to show your care about your child’s safety. Otherwise, you’d just let them run off!

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Lindsay Hor-Han

Posted at 1:56 PM on March 14, 2011  

If my child looked like that, not only would I put it on a leash, but it’s possible, I’d keep it’s face hidden as well

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Cane

Posted at 7:17 PM on March 14, 2011  

Wow Lindsey that is harsh … He is a kid and I happen to think he is cute as a button. Someone who talks badly about innocent children are obviously not happy in their own lives. So I will pray for whatever is not going right in your life to get better. And here’s a quote to live by “if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all !!!!

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TJ

Posted at 7:20 PM on March 14, 2011  

To make a comment such as that about a young child is absolutely uncalled for. Sounds like you were taught some decent morals.

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Jan G.

Posted at 12:38 PM on March 14, 2011  

YES!! I see absolutely nothing wrong with child harnesses and leashes. After all, do you really want to lug around a stroller everywhere when the baby has learned to walk really well? I see some of this stuff that parents lug around, and it’s insane!! Put the kid on a leash, and let him walk!! It’s great exercise that those developing muscles need. And they’re great for the kid who likes to run off. You know where they are when leashed, and it’s harder for someone to grab them and run off with the kid.

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Amanda

Posted at 9:59 PM on March 13, 2011  

I have two daughters and used the exact same one for both of them and it worked great. Thanks to that “leash” I had no worries walking around in crowded areas. I wasnt one of those moms running around crying because I cant find my child!

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Bill

Posted at 1:03 PM on March 13, 2011  

It’s just one more tool you can have on hand, when you need to feel your kids need to be safe. I wouldn’t worry how someone else views my methods for safety.
How come no one discusses how cruel it is to put little children in cribs/playpens (cages?), or making them stay strapped into a stroller.
Let others think what they want, but at the end of the day I can play with my kids and not worry they are lost.
And if anyone wants to say that’s a lazy parent doing that, maybe? But isn’t that still better then a child going missing? A parent maybe deficient in some skills, so if a leash helps there deficiencies, so be it. I’m glad they care enough to still somehow hold on to their kids.

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Phoebe

Posted at 12:45 AM on March 13, 2011  

First off, h my goodness Henry is too cute for words!

Second, if it stops him from wondering away I don’t see the harm.

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Phoebe

Posted at 12:47 AM on March 13, 2011  

Its a busy airport you wouldn’t your child to be kidnapped or get lost.

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rachel s

Posted at 12:38 PM on March 12, 2011  

my son is a little younger than hers. He is an extremely active toddler. We had a couple of 3 and 4 hour layovers coming back from New Zealand, and I really, really wished I had a harness. Imagine a toddler who is sick of sitting in a busy airport that has no play space for children. All he wanted to do was run around, but it was too busy. We have a harness now, and anyone who wants to criticize obvious has no idea what it’s like to have an active toddler.

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Babe

Posted at 10:43 AM on March 12, 2011  

This has nothing to do with discipline. Little kids (especially when they start walking) are naturally very curious and adventuresome. They shift from one activity to the next one in a matter of seconds, and it is sometimes very challenging to keep up with them (even if you dedicate your whole day to them, like I do). They have yet to learn to master some skills of self-control and recognize some potentially dangerous situations or people out there. But until they are mature enough to have those skills, I prefer and recommend using a child harness for their safety and well-being.

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Katie

Posted at 8:18 AM on March 12, 2011  

Say what you want, tell me my child isn’t a dog and it’s lazy parenting, i really don’t care. The safety of my child is my first concern and when we were flying from Oregon to Mississippi and had a stopover in between it was non negotiable to me. We have that same monkey one. Going through two crowded airports meant bags, carry ons, diaper bags, purses. i just slipped the other end over my wrist and he was able to walk a bit but without going far.

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MICHELLE

Posted at 12:43 AM on March 12, 2011  

I have two kids and before having them, thought the leash was a horrible idea… Children aren’t dogs…. that was until I traveled to Seattle with a 3 month old and a 2 year old!! My friend gave me her’s telling me “Just in case” with a wink of her eye. Needless to say, with a baby in a front pack strapped to my chest, two diaper bags a stroller and my own bag. Needless to say, it only took walking into a VERY crowded airport to realize i wasn’t taking ANY chances. Thank God I put aside my stupid ideals and strapped my 2 year old in because with everything that went wrong that day, I didn’t have to add a missing child to that list!

I get the discipline thing but in a crowded place, kids see something they like or something they want to watch and in a split second they are gone. Plus too, one turn of your head and some perve has your kid….. are you willing to take that chance just because it “might” look bad to people.

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Adesa

Posted at 10:21 PM on March 11, 2011  

It’s not about discipline when they’re that little. It’s about keeping them safe until the lessons have sunk in. I had one for my firstborn when he was newly walking brcause he’d throw a fit in the stroller but yank his hand away and take off running in the store. This phase was short-lived, so I only needed to use the leash two or three times. But that’s the point: when children are too young to have yet learned not to run away but old enough to want to, you have to do what will keep your child safe. Being tethered is hardly different from holding a hand or holding onto a shopping cart.

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segre

Posted at 8:58 PM on March 11, 2011  

I don’t understand your problem. Baby reins are commonly used in the UK to keep children safe and have been for many, many years. Your insinuations about Ms Driver are insulting.

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sunshine

Posted at 5:55 PM on March 11, 2011  

When you have a set of twins (and one of them deaf) and another one that is 16 months younger, these come in handy. Sometimes you have to leave the house without help – like going to the doctor. Trying to make sure all 3 stayed safe in a parking lot when you are “unloading” a car is not always easy. It wasn’t being lazy it was actually being scared that one or more would have darted into traffic. Deaf children do not hear vehicles coming. Before someone fully rules these out, they should know all the reasons a person (adult) is utilizing them.

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mickyeggs

Posted at 5:21 PM on March 11, 2011  

these toddler “leashes” have been around for decades. if you have to lookin your bag for atissue to wipe your babies mouth by time you look up your child could be a 100 feet away or worse they could be kidnapped. i think these harnesses are a wonderful deterrent to all the sickos walking around today.

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bette

Posted at 5:18 PM on March 11, 2011  

Maybe for others this is a bit too much, but actually this is not new. I have seen this so many time. This is typical in Europe and in Scandinavia especially when you have 2-3 kids to take care of and you don´t have a hired maid to help you.

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Linda

Posted at 4:52 PM on March 11, 2011  

Let’s just tie our kids up like circus animals in some show. Great Posts Girls! I have 3 kids and TEACH THEM DICIPLINE and even ast young ages they know not yo go 5 miles ahead of me. It’s all in how you TEACH your kids to behave! This is the cop out and easy out not teaching them anything but that they can’t do anything because they are shackled up like prison people.

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Dani

Posted at 5:10 PM on March 11, 2011  

When you are running around with three children under age 5 it can be a safety issue if you have an impulsive child. Out of three children I only used a leash a handful of times with one when it was indeed a safety issue. He was just one that bolted at the most random of times. I am big on discipline – people say I’m too strict, but in this case, one of my children just took longer to catch on to the negative conseq2uences. It had nothing to do with laziness.

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mickyeggs

Posted at 5:24 PM on March 11, 2011  

linda they don’t even have to go 5 feet from you in today’s world. God forbid one turns up missing you’ll cry your eyes out wishing you had tied them up

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JB

Posted at 6:12 AM on March 12, 2011  

Have you ever seen one of these? The one we used was a cute, soft monkey and had a pouch my son loved to put a little toy in. The added bonus they didn’t mention is when your child eventually has a melt down and throws himself to the ground (on the hard concrete at the Aquarium on a no-school day for instance), they land on a soft monkey(poodle, bear…) head, so instead of being upset also about hitting his head on the pavement or hitting it hard enough to cause crainal damage, the soft head absorbs the impact. I have been a teacher of young children for nearly 2 decades and feel like these are a must have for any mom who wants to keep her child safe in a crowded area. You may think that just “teach them disipline” is the best route, but you must not have taken any children in the phase between learning how to run & being able to reason with your child about safety out into any crowded places. There was only about a 6 month period we used ours, but I got it because he ran off in a museum between people & far enough away that something could have happened due to the amount of people between him & I within about 30 seconds. If you don’t choose to use one as a back-up for safety that is fine, but I prefer to keep my children extra-safe in that phase, because the alternative is more then I’m willing to gamble just so people don’t think I “tie my kid up like a circus animal”.

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Alana

Posted at 4:40 PM on March 11, 2011  

I have to say I used to think these were so stupid and so bad for kids. That was until I had my second child. He doesn’t stay with me for nothing, wont always hold my hand. So I’ve had to get one for him and so glad i did.

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Candy

Posted at 4:32 PM on March 11, 2011  

I have too children two years apart and I used these exact same harnesses. I did not however lead my child with the. They were merely a safety line when we were in crowded areas, people do not necessarily pay attention anymore when you are walking with a child it is easy without something like this to be cut off from each other I have had people still walk between my now 7 year old and I even if we are holding hands. You can be fully paying attention to your child and still have this happen. I voted better safe than sorry.

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