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Have We Become Too Concerned With The Safety Of Children?

I sometimes think that many parents, especially mothers, would like to, unwittingly “wrap their children in cotton wool” while most fathers tend to prefer a bit of rough and tumble.

I am not for one moment minimising the dangers out there, they’re very real for sure. I’m referring to a much different kind of danger.

But has this protection gone too far? I feel that in many ways there is too much focus on the safety of children and not enough on just letting them be children, and act naturally, doing what kids have always done, and survived.

Here’s a quite funny tongue in cheek article by a writer who quotes from a newspaper article about the safety of children.

“In our National newspaper I recently read that a Public School had effectively banned cartwheels, hand-stands and somersaults.

Students at the school may still perform these life-threatening acts of reckless acrobatics, but they must do so only in the immediate presence of a trained gymnastics teacher.

Here’s a quite funny tongue in cheek article by the same writer:

AS I was carefully sitting at my desk, avoiding paper-cuts and saturated fats, I read the news that Drummoyne Public School had effectively banned cartwheels, hand-stands and somersaults.

Students at the school may still perform these life-threatening acts of reckless acrobatics, but they must do so only in the immediate presence of a trained gymnastics teacher.

Or a practising chiropractic specialist. Or someone who has recently worked as a circus clown or movie stunt-person. I don’t remember, I wasn’t concentrating.

A quick Google search told me that other things that have been either “banned or suggested for banning in NSW public schools include energy drinks, mayonnaise, kiwi fruit, hugging and the word, Easter”.

Some reckless people might think that these bans or almost-bans are akin to packing children in cotton wool and not letting them just be children, but I disagree.

Public schools are terrifying places filled with perils such as food, drink, and wide open spaces. We must protect future generations from things such as scraped knees, questionable self-esteem, fun and anything else that might help form dangerously well-rounded adults.

In order to ensure that our diminutive darlings are safe when they venture out into the government-sanctioned big wide world for book-learning, I suggest that we also ban, hard crusts.

To minimise bleeding gums which can become dangerously infected leading to death, sandwiches that have crusts any more robust than a wet piece of paper will be banned.

Indeed, let’s just eliminate crusts altogether to be on the safe side. The bonus here is a reduction in curly-haired children, who can make a playground look untidy.

Laughing itself is not particularly dangerous. However, the sharp intake of breath immediately after a typical laugh represents a choking risk, particularly if there are any hard crusts or insects within inhalation range.

It is acknowledged that laughter is a natural, automatic response in some situations and cannot be helped. So students are advised to avoid any situations which may be regarded as “funny”. Anyone attempting to be comical will be suspended immediately.

It’s a scientific fact that people who walk are at a far higher risk of tripping over, walking into walls and going to the shops to buy cigarettes than people who do not walk.

Walking may be permitted in the immediate presence of a suitably qualified doctor or cautious athlete – where it is absolutely necessary.

There’s a saying that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” – it follows, then, that a lot of knowledge would be even more dangerous and therefore by far the safest thing would be to have no knowledge at all.

Not a single war has ever been waged without knowledge (although some boxing matches have) and nobody was ever shot without at least learning where to get their hands on a gun.

One hundred per cent of people who suffocate are known to have been breathing immediately beforehand. The correlation between breathing and suffocation cannot be denied: BANNED.”

I found the article hilarious and while the writer makes it all a bit fanciful, I believe she’s not too far off the mark. Children are much more resilient and intelligent than we give them credit for, including babies.

I decided when I had children that I would not be putting protective pieces of plastic around the corners of tables. Nor safety locks on cupboards. And also teach them how to eat and drink from non plastic food dishes and cups.

My fear for them was plastic. As for those cot bumper pads they were eventually reported to be a most dangerous so-called safety item for babies.

Babies and very young children use their eyes and legs and have enough intelligence to manoeuvre themselves around all these obstacles they find as they delightedly creep and crawl around their homes.

We should not spoil it for them but keep watch while allowing them the pure enjoyment of exploring their home environment.

Despite not having all of these safety measures in place for my babies, they happily explored the rooms of our home without any injuries. None of them opened cupboards and drank poisonous kitchen stuff.

And they also slept perfectly well without safety bumpers surrounding their cots. The world is scary enough as they will learn as they get older. We should not make them scared of table corners and such.

Kay is married with 3 lovely children and 4 delightful grandchild

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