I will leash my child. When I cared for my 2 year old strong willed little sister she had a leash too. It is safe, stressfree, and supports your young childs independance while they learn boundaries.
Kaylee had hers on until she was 4(then she just had a "bracelet" with a leash attached to it in large crowded areas), by then she had learned to stay with me, not wander off, if she got too far she learned to yell "SISSY" really loud just to be sure we stayed together. I didnt have to fight her and argue with her, it there was no "I don't want to listen", there was no choice but to listen and stay near me.
I think it enforces the bond you have with your child. Sure in a perfect worl all toddlers would listen to their parents, not throw tantrums and change their own pullups, but not in this lifetime. It takes time to teach a child to stay near you and it takes time for them to understand that the world is dangerous. Until then I would rather not have to scream and yell at my kid, force him to hold my hand and have to constantly worry about him wandering or darting off of a sudden.
And the human dignity thing?? Are you serious?? Grow up. They are little kids, you think they give a crap? If you do not make a big deal out of it, they will not care at all. If they ask if they are a puppy dog, say "No, this is so mommy(sissy, babysitter, ect.) can let you walk like a big kid by yourself and know you are safe". I would choose safety over dignity any day of the week.
Not to mention they are freakin' cute!! Especially the "backpacks" that look like bears and monkeys and pandas!With some the leashes are not detachable, so no worries about them being undone quickly. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.jpg