Saturday, June 9, 2012

Safety: How much is too much?

Photo by storyvillegirl on Flickr
I was recently looking through this list of 10 Surprising Safety Hazards on Parents.com & wondering: do we really need to be afraid of all these things? Some were really good tips, like keep your guests' purses & wallets out of baby's reach. We all know how much little kids like to rifle through a new bag & there are likely to be items inside that could pose a choking hazard or cause other injuries. The stats on pet-related injuries were striking as well: "About 100,000 children under age 10 are treated in hospital emergency rooms every year for dog-bite-related injuries, according to the CDCP. The majority of attacks happen in familiar places by a dog that belongs to the victim's family or friend."
However, the second item on the list was latex balloons. I'm not saying they're okay for babies to play with, but the stats quoted don't really make me thing it's a very likely accident: "Since 1973, more than 110 children have choked to death when chewing on or blowing up latex balloons." That works out to two or three kids a year, compared to cited number that up to 900 suffocate in soft bedding annually. On the other hand, the amount of exposure to balloons versus pets or bedding is vastly different.

There are so many sources of fear & guilt about parenting these days, often as a part of marketing a product to help you solve the 'problem' that you didn't know you had. I found it quite overwhelming initially & had to fight the paranoia that books, marketers & even other parents seem to want you to have. When it comes to safety, I'm not going to say I'm against doing any babyproofing, but how much is too much? I've seen ads for padded helmets for children learning to walk or crawl--isn't this too much? What does that do to a child if they're never allowed to take any risks? Do they learn if they're not allowed to make mistakes that result in the occasional bump or bruise?

4 comments:

  1. You have to wonder how we all survived childhood.

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    1. I had more freedom when I was under 12 than most kids do today. As a preschooler, I left the house in my sleeper & took off on my tricycle before my parents woke up in the morning. At five I decided to go to a friend's house after kindergarten let out without telling my mom, then walked home alone, crossing a highway twice. I remember climbing trees, jumping off second storey balconies & going over the handlebars of my bike when I hit a big rock, but I never even broke a bone.

      There are certain things that I think have improved child safety since we were kids: car seats & seatbelts, putting babies to sleep on their backs. However, I doubt that most of this safety paranoia has impacted the child mortality rate since I was running amok in the 70s & 80s.

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  2. Also babies don't drown in toilets. Read the book 'Free Range Kids'. It's pretty sad how little freedom kids have these days

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    Replies
    1. Yes! Free Range Kids is a great book. I read it a few months ago & it really bolstered my resolve to avoid overprotecting Sprout.

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