Childhood Danger

Bombala's (perpendicular) back-in parking style.

Image via Wikipedia: My parking lot kinda looks like this. Only, you know, less backwards.

I think I’ve gotten to the point where I can start writing again–while the post-a-day is too much, I’m going to aim for a post a week. Maybe, once I get back into the swing of things, I’ll start writing more.

Yesterday, during Max and Lulu’s afternoon walk, I observed one of my neighbors in some questionable activity. It’s not what you think. (Although, I HAVE seen what you’re thinking, on various other walks. I’m not looking for it, people just don’t close their blinds.)

This woman left her apartment with a car seat and her about four-year-old son.  She headed to her covered parking spot, while her son waited patiently in the row of cars closest to the building. Upon getting the car seat into the car, she sprinted the 30 feet or so separating  her from her son, and picked him up. The kid quite literally starts kicking and screaming at this point, and from the way she held him at arms length, this was a normal thing.

So, holding the kid at arms length, she once again runs the 30 feet back to her car, and a few minutes later, leaves.

Grand total of vehicles entering the parking lot during this event? 0.  And even if there were, she was parked after the storm drain/speed bump/giant pot hole (or possibly other storm drain; either way, it was filled with water, and I’m really careful when I drive over it) gauntlet that WILL damage any vehicle whose driver isn’t paying attention.

I watched this in a bit of disbelief. The way I see it, the mother’s method of getting a perfectly mobile child to her car put him in more danger than letting him walk himself the 30 feet to the car. The chances of her tripping seemed infinitely greater than him getting hit by a car. Heck, while I was watching this, Max and Lulu were running around off leash (which I know is a stupid thing to do, but they get more exercise that way) and the kid had a good 3 feet of height on them.

Yes, a kid is different from a dog, but her kid was well-trained enough to wait in the comparative safety of a row of cars for his mother to come and pick him up and risk his life. How much better off would he be if she taught him to look both ways, and carefully walk across while she’s putting the car seat in? Or, if that’s too “dangerous”, (hint: It’s not) than holding his hand and walking across the parking lot with him–you know, while teaching him to look both ways and proceed with caution.

While I was watching this, I was thinking about a post written over at Free Range Kids; click here for the actual post, and here will get you the video Lenore is talking about.

I’m not a parent. I don’t know what it’s like to worry about my child’s safety–but I firmly believe that “protecting” kids from every bump or bruise or overly hyped “Stranger-danger” is, in the long run, harmful to a kid that one day will be expected to grow into a fully functioning adult.

 

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