A Mom Is Defending Her Choice To Use A Leash To Protect Her Kid From Kidnappings

She's facing criticism on TikTok for using a wrist leash on her daughter.

Originally Published: 
A mom shared her choice to leash her daughter at the store, and the viral video has lots of parents ...
TikTok / Alexis Health

The vast majority of parents want to protect their kids and keep them safe. But one of the hardest aspects of parenting is knowing where to draw the line and how to strike the balance between free-range parenting and helicopter parenting situations.

The other challenge? Not judging parents who make different choices for their kids.

Over on TikTok, a debate is raging after mom @AlexisHealth posted a series of videos about how she leashes her toddler regularly when they’re out of the house — even when her kid is sitting securely in a shopping cart.

In the video that went viral, viewers see Alexis putting a pink wrist leash on her kid in a store and then shopping for items while they’re tethered together.

“I’m tired of the world being this way but I’m NEVER tired of protecting my girls. I’m okay looking like a crazy mom. As long as my babies are safe,” she captioned the video.

The mom cited two reasons for the leash: keeping her kiddos safe from kidnappers and keeping them from elopement, or running away.

She explained her reasoning in another video.

“I used to work with children on the spectrum,” she shared. “I don’t share this about myself very often, but I was an ABA therapist. Something that’s common with children who have autism is they do tend to elope. If you’re not familiar with what elopement is, that’s when a child tends to wander off or run away from the parent or the environment. Now, this can be very traumatic for both the child and the parent. I know that if I had this device when I was working with families, this would have made life so much safer.”

More: The Best Leash Backpacks

Yes, most parents have dealt with a bolting child, and some kids are much more prone to it than others.

But the main reasons she gives for leashing her kid is abduction prevention. She shared a number of videos highlighting recent kidnapping cases, sharing that no kid is safe out in the world.

One of the videos show a man grabbing a child walking with their grandmother in a street in the Bronx. The child was recovered in a few minutes.

Is she right to be worried about abductions? Well, although there are 840,000 kids reported missing each year in the United States, the vast, vast majority of those cases aren’t due to “stereotypical” kidnappings — when a stranger snatches a child. In fact, according to the FBI, only about 35 of these — that’s 0.004% — happen each year. It’s just that they always make the headlines. It’s true that you can protect your kid from being one of those 35, but the odds are extremely slim on a scale of the bad things that can happen. For perspective, about 20 times more children are killed in car accidents each year.

Down in the comments some parents were judgmental, while others were equally as paranoid about abductions. Others simply said they weren’t the ones to judge.

“So people are blaming this mama for trying to protect her child,” one supporter asked. “We are tired of living this way. But mamas will do whatever it takes to protect.”

“I am tired of seeing kids being taken! Good job mama,” another wrote. “At this point I would do whatever I could to prevent an abduction.”

Others were more critical.

“I’m a mom & I get it. But also you don’t want to shelter your kids too much. You can let them learn & grow without hovering over them so much,” one wrote.

The battle rages on. To leash or not to leash? Maybe it’s best to just leave it to individual parents and focus on our own choices and our own kids.

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