Saturday, November 9

Now, Just Where in the Bed of My Pickup Truck am I Supposed to Put This?

source: CBS DFW

Safety Institute Suggests

Booster Seats Until Kids

Reach 12

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – The safety message couldn’t be clearer: seat belts save lives. But, experts are reminding parents that seat belts were built for adults, so children may need to stay in booster seats much longer than is legally required. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is suggesting that may be as old as 12.

Read full article

Attempting to make this world a safer place for children (and everyone else) is commendable, but...

...I’m telling you, we lose something in the process.  I’m not even saying that it’s not worth it.  How can you argue with anything that has been proven to reduce the death and injury of children in auto accidents?  I am however, saying that in whatever you do, even if it makes good sense, there is a price to pay.  It’s called opportunity cost, if you do one thing, that necessarily means that you are not doing something else.

Now don’t think that I am encouraging people not to be safe.  I’m not, but when we start to demand that our kids wear helmets while playing monopoly, and requiring them to sit in baby seats until they're old enough to vote, we lose something.  I can’t put my finger on it, but we lose something.  Maybe it’s something worth losing in the name of safety.   I don’t know.  

I can’t justify it, I can’t offer a logical, rational explanation for it, but that’s not how I made my son and stepsons live, and that’s not how my parents made me live.  Maybe my parents and I were bad parents, whatever, but as an adult, I can say that wouldn’t have wanted my childhood to be any other way, and my adult stepsons and my son, who is now approaching adulthood, are in complete agreement with me.  I guess I’ll use their opinions to judge what kind of parent I was.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is this: Life is only worth living, when you risk it, at least occasionally and to some degree.  A prisoner in permanent solitary confinement is in no danger at all, but has probably less value for his life than almost anyone else.  It is a strange paradox, but almost everyone understands that the value of life, increases with risk.  This explains the attraction of “extreme” sports like bungee jumping and sky diving.

My son wanted out of that baby seat for the car, by the time he was three or four, and he was having nothing to do with wearing a faggy helmet while riding his bike.  I understood that it was my responsibility as a parent to keep him safe, but I also understood that even at that age, he could understand the risk/benefit/opportunity cost equation.  He didn’t want to wear a helmet (risk), because he didn’t want to look like a pussy (benefit), and he also didn’t want to miss out on having the bragging rights his older brothers had about never wearing one. (opportunity cost)

Now you might say that I was an irresponsible parent, but the people who I was responsible for, would disagree with you, and that’s all that matters to me.  When my wife and I had to make decisions about whether to allow our children to do certain things, we looked back at our own childhoods and considered if such things added value, and still add value to our lives in terms of fond memories.

As I remember, my childhood, it consisted of two areas. 1) School, an over-regimented prison run by micromanaging, meddling, enjoyment-squelching adults, and 2) everything else, which included, building tree forts, running wild with my friends and my dog while trespassing on private property, riding in the back of pickup trucks, tow trucks, dump trucks, livestock trailers, hay wagons, gravity boxes, etc., riding mini bikes and dirt bikes (with no helmet), driving tractors, cars, trucks, and other equipment before I was even old enough to be in high school, using chainsaws and other power tools, and shooting guns.  Now which of those two areas do you think I remember more fondly?

Sure I could have been injured (and I often was) or killed, but if I was forced to surrender all of the things that I have, the fond memories of my childhood would be among the last things that I would give up.


The Conservative Wife said...

Last night my husband was coming home from the store and he could see ahead in the road all the ambulance, fire truck and police lights. You always know it's going to be a bad one when you see that many. As traffic inched closer he could see that there was a small car, 2 suburbans and 2 semi trucks that had damage. The small car had rolled over completely. There was a guy in handcuffs. As he drove a little further more, he saw a woman on a stretcher with her arm almost severed. Even further was the most horrible. A baby had been thrown from her car seat and the car had rolled over her. Half of her tiny body had been completely crushed. So those seats don't always save a life.

I think a regular seatbelt would be just as effective as a child seat for a 12 year old. Maybe even more so.

Even though we do not know that family, I am asking for everyone to say a prayer for them. That is simply horrifying.

neil schnurr said...

That is indeed a terrible tragedy, and I want to make it clear to everyone that I am not against using safety devices and safe practices to protect children.(and adults) I am saying that there is no way to completely avoid the trade off of risk and reward.

The Conservative Wife said...

Totally agree. And if my kids do the things I did, I'll kill em.

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