A dad-of-five has sparked furious debate after sharing a video of himself using a leash to take his five-year-old quintuplets on a walk.
Jordan Driskell, 31, from Kentucky, recently uploaded the clip to Instagram, which showed him walking with his five young kids – Zoey, Dakota, Hollyn, Asher and Gavin – whom he shares with his wife, Briana, 34.
However, the clip quickly sparked major backlash from viewers – many of whom were left up in arms about the fact that the toddlers were all wearing leashes, ensuring that they couldn’t wander off, run away, or get lost.
‘When people judge me for using child leashes,’ he wrote in the video, as the song Vegas by Doja Cat played in the background.
‘You ain’t nothin’ but a dog, player, ah, get it,’ the lyrics read.
The clip showed Jordan holding on to five ropes – which were each connected to a harness that one of his kids wore – as the family all walked calmly together outside of an aquarium.
‘Come walk a mile in my shoes,’ he captioned it.
The Instagram video quickly went viral – gaining more than three million views – and it launched an argument between Instagram users, some of whom ‘respected’ the dad’s decision to use a leash on his kids and others who slammed him for it, pointing out that they’re ‘humans not dogs.’
‘I have nothing but respect for you sir,’ wrote one supportive viewer.
Another added, ‘Better safe than sorry. If I had that many I would do the same. Rock on!’
‘With five kids you need that,’ said someone else. ‘Responsible parenting right here.’
‘Considering my two-year-old tried to bolt into the street, yeah, we use leashes now too,’ read a fourth comment, while a fifth said, ‘Keeping them safe is priority number one. So you’re all good, sir. It’s not hurting them in any way.
‘There’s nothing wrong with this, I think it’s brilliant. I always used baby harness with reigns on my two so they were always by me,’ commented a fellow parent.
‘Not going to lie, some kids really need leashes, nothing wrong with not wanting to lose your child every time you look away,’ agreed someone else.
‘Don’t blame you,’ wrote a different user. ‘Can you imagine no leash? And all running in different directions? Someone could get hurt.’
However, others were not here for child leashes and bashed the dad-of-five for treating his kids like ‘animals.’
Are they rescue?’ asked one user, referring to rescue dogs that come from a shelter.
‘But teachers can look after 30 kids without using leashes,’ someone else pointed out.
Another person added, ‘They are not dogs. How about teaching [them] what to do?’
‘Are you gonna train them to pull a sleigh next? Which one has the red nose? Are any of them rescue?’ read a different comment.
‘Don’t have so many kids,’ quipped one commenter, while someone else said, ‘Those kids are way too old to be walked on a leash like a d**n dog.’
While chatting with the Today show, Jordan explained that his kids love to ‘run off and explore’ due to their ‘curiosity,’ so he and his wife use leashes for their ‘own peace of mind and sanity.’
‘Kids are so curious – they want to run off and explore. For our own peace of mind and sanity, we use a leash,’ he told the outlet.
‘It also allows us to leave the house and do fun stuff as a family without being stressed.’
He explained that they used to push around a five-seat stroller, but that it wasn’t practical since it was so ‘bulky.’
‘It was just too bulky and ridiculous to take anywhere,’ he said. ‘The other thing is, they want to walk when we go somewhere crowded.
‘A leash gives them the opportunity to do that – but we’re still in control. They love it.’
Benjamin Hoffman, a pediatrician who is also chair of the injury prevention council at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), previously told Good Housekeeping that he advices against child leashes due to the risk of falling.
‘As a pediatrician, I’m not happy to see children leashed like pets,’ he said. ‘As the father of three, I am well aware of how quick, impulsive, and unpredictable kids can be.
‘But from an injury standpoint, I would worry about entanglement or choking – we know the risks of other loose cords, like on window blinds.
‘I’ve personally witnessed parents pull back forcefully on a leash, resulting in a fall, often backwards.
‘I worry about injuries to head and limbs in that scenario. As a pediatrician, I would never recommend them. I would rather see a child in a stroller than on a leash.’
However, another doctor, named Deborah Gilboa described the leash as ‘creative problem solving’ while speaking to Today.
‘This isn’t treating kids like animals,’ she insisted. ‘This is creative problem solving. The alternative would be just staying at home.
‘It’s a great system for a parent with a neurodiverse child or a child who hasn’t nailed all their listening skills.
‘99.99 per cent of moms and dads want what’s best for their kids and they’re doing it to solve a problem. Just because you can’t identify the problem, doesn’t mean it’s not there.’
She added that by age eight or nine, your child shouldn’t be using a leash anymore.
‘By that point, you want to have another method in place to keep track of your kids in public,’ she continued. ‘It would be awkward to be on a leash in seventh grade.’
Paige Safyer, Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Arizona State University, told Famly.com that it’s important to let your kid explore so that they can learn about safety.
‘Children need to know that when they’re exploring, they have a safe base to go back to, which is often their primary caregiver or teacher,’ she said.
‘They need to be shown what’s safe and what’s not, and talk through these explanations with an adult. A leash can’t take the place of these conversations.
‘When they’re young, children are able to understand a lot more than they can express, so it’s really important for adults to take the time to explain how things work.
‘Just as you would explain to a child why you hold their hand as you cross a busy street, I think the same information should be given if the child is put on a leash.’