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Kids are a lot safer now than they were when I was a kid. I don’t have any numbers to back up my assertion (because that would require research) but I do have anecdotal memories. My sister and my friends and I never wore a seatbelt (as long as we were in the backseat which apparently was base in a car), there were no bicycle helmets, we shared the road with cars as we rode our bikes everywhere, we lived in houses covered with lead paint and used mercury thermometers. We played with bb guns and lawn jarts. We shot fireworks with glee in our backyards and we rode in the back of pickup trucks. And let’s not forget the playgrounds.
Remember the old-fashioned see-saws? You could destroy your friend's spine just by jumping off this thing at the right time. No springs underneath to absorb the shock. (And no 12-inch deep pile of mulch underneath either).
And how about this:
And don’t forget this:
Finally, remember the swing sets and monkey bars that were set in cement? A lot of teeth and bones were broken on playgrounds in those days.
I love all the improvements there have been in child safety equipment. I am all for it. It helps me sleep better at night. My kids ride in car seats, have bicycle helmets, receive all their vaccinations, drink filtered water, etc. But I use some discretion. If they’re riding their bikes only in our driveway I don’t always require the bicycle helmets. If we go outside in early morning or late afternoon I’ll forgo the sunscreen. I let them lick the bowl when I make cookies or brownies. And (I confess) I often forget to have them wash their hands when they come in for lunch. However, I always, always insist that the kids wear bicycle helmets when we play lawn jarts. Safety first.
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