I’ve seen this status update floating around Facebook recently that irritates me:
How many of you were raised on bologna, biscuits & gravy, fried potatoes & soup beans, played in the dirt, got your butt busted, had 3 TV channels & it quit at ten o’clock, school started with “The Pledge,” had a bedtime, rode in back of pickup trucks, recorded the top 40 from the radio on cassette tapes, drank from a hose, played in the creek, rode your bike all day without a helmet …and you still turned out OK. (emphasis mine)
The portions in bold are the parts I find the most annoying and/or ignorant. Let’s look at those:
“Rode in the back of pickup trucks…”
Seriously? This is, without question, the most ignorant part of this paragraph. Why not also include “didn’t always use car seats or seatbelts” or “were held by our parents in the front seats as infants/children.”? Would the person who wrote this, or those who promote it, permit their child to ride freely in the cab of their car or to ride on someone’s lap in the front seat? Because if the answer is no, either of those options is a whole hell of a lot safer than allowing a child to ride in the cargo area of a pickup truck.
Passengers in the back of a pickup truck are 8x more likely to die than passengers in the cab. The fact that in years past we weren’t aware of the extent of the risks doesn’t mean we should turn a blind eye to them once they are discovered. There is no excuse to not have your child properly restrained in a vehicle.
“drank from a hose…”
On the surface, drinking from a water hose skeeves me out because roaches, birds, rats, mice, etc have probably been in the nozzle looking for a drink and I don’t want my kids putting their mouths on there. On a deeper level, do you know whether or not your hose is made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC)? If it is, you should be aware that PVC is stabilized with lead which, while sitting in your hose, seeps into the water supply and can reach concentrations of 10-100 times the allowable lead levels.
This one is the least of my concerns, really. The fact is, you can get hoses that don’t have PVC and are perfectly safe for drinking from and if you don’t have any personal hangups about the idea of roaches and rodents having sought out water from the end of your hose, then go for it. You really won’t get any judgment from me on that one. I was just sayin’…
“rode your bike all day without a helmet…”
Again, when we know better, we do better. If a bike helmet significantly decreases your child’s risk of sustaining a head injury, which could even be fatal, why wouldn’t you strap one on his/her head?
Here is the deal: No one is suggesting you have to put your kid in a bubble. Totally disregarding minimum standards of safety is just negligent, though. Driving down the interstate with young children in the back of your pickup truck should be considered reckless endangerment. It is like playing Russian roulette with your child’s life. Putting a helmet on your child just shouldn’t be considered such a hassle! Seriously. Stick the helmet on their damn head! If it cuts the risk of any degree of injury, much less decreases the risk of a potentially fatal head injury, why would you brush it off?
Keeping your children safe shouldn’t be viewed as a burden. As a parent, your child’s safety should be a top priority.