Toddler safety harnesses and leashes have caught on in Korea, sparking off debate about their usage here.
On Friday, a local wire service released a story on the growing number of mothers who put their toddlers on a leash when they go outdoors or visit supermarkets, to prevent losing their children.
One end of the leash is usually attached to the child’s backpack or wrist, while the mother holds on to the other end.
Some people have commented that it looks humiliating and might even violate children’s rights. The report quoted a mother of a 5-year-old as saying, “If I’m worried about losing my kid I would hold her hand, not put her on a dog leash.”
“Children have feelings and thoughts, too, and their wish to move around freely should be respected.”
But there are others who are in favor of the usage of such leashes and harnesses.
A mother of a 3-year-old was also quoted in the report as saying, “Who knows what will happen in the second I take my eyes off my son.”
Recently, more mothers have been searching on online communities for information on where to find the leash and opinions on it.
When the harnesses and leashes for toddlers grew in popularity in the US, Japan and Hong Kong, similar debate on their usage had been sparked.
Family welfare experts in Korea said there is so far no academic evidence confirming side effects of using such leashes and harnesses.
However, they stressed the importance of letting children know that the restraint is for their own safety and that it comes from the desire to keep them safe.
Forcing the leash on a child without gaining his or her agreement could cause the child to become nervous and lose confidence, according to the experts.
By Lim Jeong-yeo (firstname.lastname@example.org)