Monday, June 20, 2011

Risky Business

A very helpful article on yahoo! today informed me of something that I may not have known otherwise: portable pools pose summer risk for kids. It appears that a doctor from Columbus, Ohio, has found that portable pools pose just as much of a risk of drowning as in-ground pools, especially for children and especially during the summer.

The researchers further go on to state that adults must supervise their children very carefully and to not be distracted by either having a couple of drinks while sitting on the sidelines or chatting on their phones. Because nothing, it seems, is safer than a parent hovering directly above their child, within arm's reach, as they play. And, presumably, children are much happier when they're protected by parents rather than having fun on their own- after all, what child doesn't love the hovering parent?

Another helpful tidbit in the article beyond the hover parenting is the suggestion that children be made to wear lifejackets. Yes, because in an inflatable tiny backyard yellow pool filled knee high with water in the middle of a smoking hot day, there's nothing better than the thought of wearing a lifejacket with your parent hovering directly above you.

Why stop there? Why not have the child wear a helmet too? Nothing is safer than a helmet after all. The child could slip out of their knee high water inflatable yellow dinghy and land smack dab on some grass without their parent's helpful arms to catch them directly overhead.

And why not opt out of filling the pool at all? Why not have the child indulge in imaginary water? After all, water is involved in 100% of child-related drowning. Why not take water out of the equation completely and instead have the child play in imaginary water in their inflatable pool with their lifejacket and helmet on, with their parent standing directly overhead in case they fall?

Better yet, why not have the child go inside on a hot day and sit in an air-conditioned room where they can safely spend their summer days reading the Bible?

Growing up, I remember that we had a pool. I was told not to go anywhere near it without a grown up around. And you know what I did? I listened. It taught me to obey my parents because what they were saying probably made common sense and it taught me to be careful. And when my parents watched from a distance while I played in the water, maybe with a drink or chatting with a neighbour, I did what most children my age did. I played safe.

What ever happened to teaching kids how to be safe without safeguarding them like they were made of glass? Whatever happened to kids just taking their parents' word for it that certain things were not a good idea or that other things were entirely forbidden? Back then, the only thing that needed to be expressly hidden was the cookie jar, which was always out of reach somewhere.

There will be a point in a child's life where they will realize that safety is a personal issue and that it requires vigilance and common sense. But how will they learn those things if we're always protecting them, even protecting them from water?

Maybe it's the parents who need a common sense refresher course.

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