September 19, 2010
Free-Range Kids

Here’s something for all you helicopter moms and dads to think about. Not that you will.

If history is any guide, we seem to veer between overreaction and underreaction — all while defining our own response as “moderate.” There is an inherent hypocrisy in our attempts to control our odds — putting the organic veggies (there is no actual data proving that organic foods increase longevity) in the trunk of our car (researchers tell us there is “evidence” but not “proof” that car emissions accelerate heart disease), then checking our e-mail on our cellphone at the next red light (2,600 traffic deaths a year are caused by drivers using cellphones, according to a Harvard study).

And while we certainly make constant (mis)calculations in our adult lives, we seem all the more determined yet befuddled when it comes to the safety of our children. For instance, the five things most likely to cause injury to children up to age 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are: car accidents, homicide (usually at the hands of someone they know), child abuse, suicide or drowning. And what are the five things that parents are most worried about (according to surveys by the Mayo Clinic)? Kidnapping, school snipers, terrorists, dangerous strangers and drugs…

“The least safe thing you can do with your child, statistically, is drive them somewhere,” said Lenore Skenazy, author of “Free-Range Kids,” a manifesto preaching a return to the day when children were allowed to roam on their own. “Yet every time we put them in the car we don’t think, ‘Oh God, maybe I should take public transportation instead, because if something happened to my kid on the way to the orthodontist I could never forgive myself.’ ”


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at September 19, 2010 12:46 PM
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Every morning of the working week serves me with a parade of mothers and fathers defiling to school by car with their children. I can watch the glut of cars just from my kitchen window; from time to time there is even real traffic jams.
Beeing concerned about the many dangers of modern motorized traffic, those parents are causing the problem by themselves while they try to avoid it.
If they could overcome their fears and tried to let their children walk to school, a significant part of the problem would simply vanish. The children would have the chance to learn something about themselves and the world by simply exploring it by foot, not by beeing driven past it.
But I fear, the poor children will be carried around by car up until their seventeenth birthday, without ever having set a foot on the ground.
They will simply change the car,- hop off mamas car over to their own one, giving new meaning to the words rock and roll...

Posted by: otherguy overby on September 20, 2010 3:11 AM
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