Monday, January 12, 2009


At some point we've probably all pointed an laughed at the kid on a leash (I was one!). One time I saw a toddler driving his mother nuts by hovering in the air on his leash at the bus stop on high street. We think it's funny (or wrong, possibly) because we associate dogs with leashes, not humans. However, rambunctious children are nothing new. "Leading strings" were used in the 18th century to keep hold of runaway toddlers. In fact, dog leashes are a rather new invention, so you could say that child leashes came first!

Oh yeah, and you know those adjustable gates you put up to keep children out of the toilet or from falling down stairs? The 18th century estate house had its own version of that too: steel bars across the fireplace. I think the flaw in that baby proofing is when the child touches the hot steel bars! I have permanent scars on my hands from when I decided to boost myself up the kerosene heater as a baby, no wonder I needed a leash!


  1. I'm rolling on the floor! But seriously, I believe the caps babies wore were also sometimes padded to prevent/diminish brain injury. Now maybe THAT'S what happened to me as a kid. No headgear. I've always wondered....

  2. Oh yeah, I totally forgot about those! I'm going to have to find a picture to include.

  3. I enjoyed this post, it reminded me a bit of my family's own stories of children who had to be leashed/harnessed in some way to keep them out of danger.

    I also linked to this post on my own blog.

  4. Thank you Melissa, I'm glad you liked it!

  5. Hi, sorry, just came across this. Dog leashes came first. You can see them very clearly in many 15th century illuminations and paintings such as this one:

    I'm sure there are even earlier examples.