A mom who puts leashes on her young daughters says she is spreading awareness about child endangerment.
Alexis Solis, a stay-at-home mom in Los Banos, California, is protective of her daughters, ages 6 and 2. When visiting the grocery store, theme parks or taking walks without her husband, Solis uses the “Lehoo Castle Toddler Leash,” which secures her wrist to that of her eldest daughter. The product comes with a back harness from which a second leash can be attached, and Solis uses that for her youngest child.
“I know how dangerous the world is,” Alexis Solis tells TODAY.com.
Solis recently demonstrated the safety hack in a TikTok video, while shopping at a store. "I'm tired of the world being this way but I'm NEVER tired of protecting my girls," Solis captioned the video. "I'm okay looking like a crazy mom. As long as my babies are safe."
And with that, TikTok commenters were off to the races.
"What do you do when your kid starts barking?" read one snarky comment. "Helicopter, helicopter," wrote someone else.
"I'm a mom and I get it," another person wrote. "But also, you don't want to shelter your kids too much. You can let them learn and grow without hovering over them so much."
Many commenters justified Solis' use of a leash.
"I was a leash baby in the 90s because I liked to run off from my parents," a person wrote. "100 percent support this gadget!"
"This! I don't ever want to look back and think, 'What could I have done better?'" someone added.
A parent who said she also uses a leash on her children wrote, "I'd rather get ugly stares than lose my child to some creep."
"Meanwhile, in Finland babies sleep outside the stores/cafes in a stroller while mom is doing her thing," someone wrote of the Nordic tradition to let babies nap alone in strollers out in public, in part to benefit from fresh air.
Solis was familiar with backpack leashes because her own mother used them on her two younger siblings. She learned about wrist attachments from a TikTok commenter who watched a video of Solis wrangling her eldest in a store.
Leashes also provide her peace of mind, the mom of two shares.
"I was sexually abused at age 8, so I have always been hyper aware of people around me and potentially dangerous situations," Solis tells TODAY.com. "When I became a mom, those feelings were amplified."
The mom devotes her TikTok page to spreading awareness about child endangerment. "I have seen so many videos of kids being snatched from shopping carts or their parents’ arms," she says. "That was enough for me to be very cautious."
Solis said her husband initially didn't approve of leashes — until they had children.
"He said 'Kids aren't dogs' but now, as a parent, he understands and doesn't care what people think," she says. "What happened to me as a child has also opened his eyes."
According to Solis, her eldest daughter likes the leash because when they run through the park, her mom can keep up.
"I've learned that people's anger (toward the leash) is a projection," says Solis. "I know why I do it."