Is Society Overprotective of Children?

Mr. Checks

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Is society overprotective of children? No.

Re: bike helmets: 67,000 head injuries in US per year, but deaths declined 38% since 1975 (as helmet use was mandated and became more common). Number of deaths is approx. 500/year in US, vast majority children. In only 2 to 9% of the deaths was the person wearing a helmet. Studies rate helmets at 50-85% effective in preventing serious head injury.

Re: infant car seats: J-Lib take heart; many of today's parents do not require their children to be in proper car seats, despite the clear benefits. [The court system calls these parents "the next friend of the decedent."]

Re: trusting adults: read the Boston Globe's coverage of the church's sexual abuse scandal and you might think twice about whose supervision you would leave your child under.
Thousands of parents regret the decisions they made in the 1950s and 1960s.

Re: crime: spend a day at your local district court listening to the criminal docket.

Finally, I read with amazement the number of intelligent people here who fail to see the fallacy in the statement "I did it for 20 years and I'm okay" or some variation thereof.

So, no, I don't long for the good old days of rear-facing Ford LTD wagon seats. Things weren't always better way-back-when.
 

Hugh Morrison

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
This is a little off topic but I feel obliged to query this statement:

Studies rate helmets at 50-85% effective in preventing serious head injury.

I assume you're quoting Rivara and Thompson. This study has been the subject of much dispute.





'The casual idea is the triumph of misguided egalitarianism. By playing to the desire to seem non-judgmental, the Slob has succeeded in forcing his tastes on the world at large (because to object to inappropriate dress would be judgmental)'- Patrick07690
 

JBZ

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
As a relatively new parent (our oldest is 2), I am kind of on the fence about this. I don't want to come across as hyper-protective and smothering, but I also don't want to be one of those parents you read about in the newspaper - the ones who have their child injured or killed in some tragic accident which causes you to shake your head and say, "how could these parents be so stupid?"

The trick seems to be finding the balance between being reasonably protective and being over-protective to the point of smothering. I think requiring car seats and bicycle helmets, for example, is being reasonably protective. I think installing toilet seat locks, for example, is being over-protective. As a relatively new parent, I feel more comfortable being closer to over-protective than under-protective, but I also realize that I need to allow my children to grow and to accept to responsibilites as they age. I hope to deal with events such as these in a manner that will adequately ensure my childrens' safety without stifling or hindering them as they grow.

As for the media, I do think it plays a part in the climate of heightened anxiety which exists among parents today (and it's not just real and perceived threats - it's also things like, "I have to get my child into the best preschool or his whole life will be ruined" and "my child has to participate in at least 5 extracurricular activities or no good college will ever look at him"). However, with regard to dangers, they've always been there. Traffic accidents have always happened. Children have always gotten injured or killed while riding bicycles or skateboards. There have always been individuals out there who would do children harm (I'm sure all of us remember the "never talk to strangers" speech we got from both our parents and in school). I do remember often going out to play by myself at a reasonably young age without my parents (although always in the company of other kids). There were times when we were far enough from home that, if something bad were to happen, no adult would have been able to respond to our needs quickly. Were we ever in any real danger? The percentages probably say no but, then again, you never really know, do you?

I guess the point of this ramble is that while there is no doubt that parents are more protective of their children today than in the past, the most horrible thing any parent can imagine is something tragic happening to their child. The goal, it seems to me, is to find the appropriate means to respond to this fear. It's not always easy.
 

Mr. Checks

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
quote:Originally posted by Hugh Morrison

This is a little off topic but I feel obliged to query this statement:

Studies rate helmets at 50-85% effective in preventing serious head injury.

I assume you're quoting Rivara and Thompson. This study has been the subject of much dispute.





'The casual idea is the triumph of misguided egalitarianism. By playing to the desire to seem non-judgmental, the Slob has succeeded in forcing his tastes on the world at large (because to object to inappropriate dress would be judgmental)'- Patrick07690

No, as suggested by the "number of studies" and range of effectiveness, it's not any one study. This was taken from the Insurance Institute website. I've found the every study on any topic has been called into question somewhere in the world.
 

Mr. Checks

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
JBZ: I guess for me it was a peace-of-mind issue. How could I live with myself if I didn't, say, install a lock on a cabinet and it caused an injury? A child who falls in a toilet seat lacks the upper body strength to excise himself. Weigh the cost vs. the risk.
The child would not even know about the lock, and the effort to put it on is minor to me.
Same goes for the little plastic plugs in the power outlets. My in-laws thought that was silly. I thought it was protective. My child was not scarred for life emotionally because I put on safety locks or plastic plugs.
This is really a no-brainer: protect your infants from harm in whatever way you can. When they are old enough to think, let them explore life, but give them the tools to protect themselves.
 

globetrotter

Super Member
I agree with Mr. Checks and JZB completly. one other interesting thing - my nieces, the oldest of which is 13, have never had a filling. my teeth were pretty much a mess by that age, if I remember correctly. this has to be due to all sorts of activites that we are doing now that we didn't do 25 years ago. I can't see a down side to that.

my point being - I have always been very uncomfortable around electricity. I have assumed that it was because at some point in my wise toddlerhood, I stuck something into a socket and got zapped. My son has avoided that, due to my using the same plastic things that mr. checks mentioned. I had a number of concussions and a few minor broken bones as a kid. I am hoping that my son will avoid those, too.

on the other hand, I have to say that I wonder if this will make it harder for him to be prepared for life. this is a very hard call.
 

JBZ

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
quote:Originally posted by Mr. Checks

JBZ: I guess for me it was a peace-of-mind issue. How could I live with myself if I didn't, say, install a lock on a cabinet and it caused an injury? A child who falls in a toilet seat lacks the upper body strength to excise himself. Weigh the cost vs. the risk.
The child would not even know about the lock, and the effort to put it on is minor to me.
Same goes for the little plastic plugs in the power outlets. My in-laws thought that was silly. I thought it was protective. My child was not scarred for life emotionally because I put on safety locks or plastic plugs.
This is really a no-brainer: protect your infants from harm in whatever way you can. When they are old enough to think, let them explore life, but give them the tools to protect themselves.

Mr. Checks - sorry - I didn't mean to single you (or anyone else) out with the toilet seat thing. It was just an example. As I said, everyone's different, and our goal is the same - to take care of and protect our children (for the record, we also have the plastic plugs in all of our outlets, and I'm glad - my 2 year old is fascinated with the vaccuum cleaner and my wife's hair dryer). Of the two of us, I think I'm more protective than my wife. Part of this has to do with my profession (lawyers are generally cautious folks), and part of it has to do with my upbringing (my mother is extremely protective - I see it when she takes care of our children - last night we were at my parents' house for dinner, and it was cold outside - for the ten second walk from their front door to our car, my mother put our two year old in his winter coat (fine) and then proceeded to pull up his hood and attach the velcro strap in the front - a bit much - she also routinely pulls his socks up to his knees for fear that he will be cold).
 

JBZ

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
As an addendum to the above, for whatever reason, it's been difficult to adapt the child proof locks to our cabinet doors. Thus, we have been using rubber bands to keep the doors of some of our kitchen cabinets closed (my son was able to get through the child safety door latches at a very early age). Recently, he's figured out how to get by the rubber bands. Thus, anything we don't want him to get into (particularly household chemicals) are now being moved to higher shelves.
 

jeansguy

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
quote:Originally posted by Mr. Checks

Number of deaths is approx. 500/year in US, vast majority children.

Did you know that in the US penicilin kills between 500 and 1000 people per year?

That 500 danes every year die from stress related to traffic noise?

Or that Salt is blamed for the deaths of 150,000 people every year to high blood pressure?

If it were my child, no statistic would take away the pain of the loss. However, some things do need to stay in perspective I think.

www.thegenuineman.com
 

Grayishhues

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
What I do not understand is that even though people seem to be becoming more and more protective and cautious about the health and safety of children, society seems to be forgetting about morality and the general goodness of todays children. More and more kids today are experimental with drugs, alchohol, and sex(although I have noticed that recent studies show that these statistics are down as of late). I think that it is sad that we live in a world where it is more acceptable to be a homosexual alchoholic 16 yr old, than a 12 yr old helmetless cyclist. Look at television today, you never see an unhelmeted bicycling child, or a kneepadless rollerskater, but watching 2 hours of mtv or an episode of "The O.C" shows that it is acceptable to demoralize women, be scantily clad in public, and attend unsupervised drug and alchohol laden parties. My strong belief is that maybe we need to start being a little less protective of children at innocent play, and become more protective of the moral and mental well being of todays children.

The sound of silence, is deafening.
 

Hugh Morrison

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
quote:Originally posted by jeansguy

quote:Originally posted by Mr. Checks

Number of deaths is approx. 500/year in US, vast majority children.

Did you know that in the US penicilin kills between 500 and 1000 people per year?

That 500 danes every year die from stress related to traffic noise?

Or that Salt is blamed for the deaths of 150,000 people every year to high blood pressure?

If it were my child, no statistic would take away the pain of the loss. However, some things do need to stay in perspective I think.

www.thegenuineman.com

Good point. Remember also the place you're most likely to die in is your own bed - so shouldn't the Government be banning beds?

There are of course lies, damned lies and statistics, and they can always be manipulated to make a good news story or provide justification for pressure groups with their own vested interests.

I think we all have to base our decisions on a weighing up of relative risks after a reasonable an assessment of the facts.

Eg, I choose not to wear a cycle helmet after an analysis of the statistical risk as well as the data on performance testing, I also choose to smoke cigars occasionally after a similar analysis of data.

The problem with society today, I believe, is that governments and pressure groups do not want people to have this free choice but simply want to try to make society 'risk free', which of course is impossible.

'The casual idea is the triumph of misguided egalitarianism. By playing to the desire to seem non-judgmental, the Slob has succeeded in forcing his tastes on the world at large (because to object to inappropriate dress would be judgmental)'- Patrick07690
 

Albert

Super Member
quote:Originally posted by Long Way of Drums
There are real problems. Complaining that the world is coming to an end and society is crumbling because children today now wear helmets, play on clean floors, and ride in safer car seats is quite literally offensive.

???

Expression of opinion offends you? Maybe you use the wrong media. If you don't like to discuss, write in a blog, not a forum.
 

Albert

Super Member
quote:Originally posted by gmac

Sounds to me the same kind of complaints that were offered when 10 year olds were barred from carrying coal in the mines (1840's or so).

Progress will always face these kind of detractors. Best to press on and damn the torpedoes.

What a bizarre statement.

As a matter of fact, a training to act and think independently enables people to perform best. This is at least true for my generation - all the pampered whimps got maneuvred out on or after university.

The real dangers for children, measured in terms of probability, are indeed obesity, television and drug addiction. You will get exactly these results if you don't push your children to think and act as independent persons who are responsible for themselves.

+++++++

"You look like you're ready for bed."

(HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to the President of Nigeria, who was dressed in traditional robes)
 

Mr. Checks

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
quote:Originally posted by jeansguy

quote:Originally posted by Mr. Checks

Number of deaths is approx. 500/year in US, vast majority children.

Did you know that in the US penicilin kills between 500 and 1000 people per year?

That 500 danes every year die from stress related to traffic noise?

Or that Salt is blamed for the deaths of 150,000 people every year to high blood pressure?

If it were my child, no statistic would take away the pain of the loss. However, some things do need to stay in perspective I think.

www.thegenuineman.com

I was trying to offer "perspective" by pointing out to the cost/benefit analysis of, say, putting childproof locks on your cabinets. That's also why I pointed out that my child wasn't emotionally scarred by the plastic plugs in the power outlets. Ditto for the car seat usage. In short, there's no downside, and lots of upside to those simple safety measures. That's perspective.
 

J. Homely

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
quote:Originally posted by Hugh Morrison
The problem with society today, I believe, is that governments and pressure groups do not want people to have this free choice but simply want to try to make society 'risk free', which of course is impossible.
I think most people would agree that it's inappropriate for individuals to have complete freedom of choice about what kind of risk they can subject their minor children to.
 
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