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"Bad moms" and child safety

Look, I understand that Britney Spears is an idiot, and I'm perfectly prepared to believe that she's not a model parent, but the media feeding frenzy over her parenting skills has just gotten plain silly. It reached a climax of ridiculousness on Tuesday, when the New York Post ran this story on its front page.

Britney's offense? She was driving a convertible with her baby in the back seat, strapped into a car seat, in the exact same fashion that all conscientious parents strapped in their kids... until recently. Now, of course, you have to strap the poor tike in backwards, or you're an evil mom and you want your kid to die.

You have to keep them in the back seat, facing backwards so they'll get motion sickness, and you can't see their face, and you have no clue as to whether they're sick, or choking, or uncomfortable. Oh, and car seats aren't just for infants anymore. Now you have to remain in them until you start shaving.

Sorry, but the "child safety" mania has gone too far. No activity is ever going to be 100% safe, so we have to strike a meaningful balance between acceptable risks and reasonable precautions. That sense of balance is lost today, and soon kids won't be allowed outside of the house without being encased in bubble-wrap with a GPS locator attached to them.

I don't normally post this type of thing here, but I received one of those e-mail thingies recently that's relevant here. Read it, if you haven't already. It'll remind you that there was once a simpler time, and a time that many of us here lived through and remember.

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank Kool-Aid made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING !

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day.

And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computer! s, no Internet or chat rooms....... WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays,

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

If YOU are one of them . . . CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.



from what I remember with my kiddo, facing a baby backwards in the rear seat is safer because if the car stops suddenly or crashes lurching the infant forward, the seat back, the back of the front seat and the baby's lil' spine will afford it better protection vs. going forward face first.

Now of course, I let my 9 yr old ride on the hood of the car, with the wind in his face, his arm tied to the radio antenna for safety.

Amen is right...the one thing I'll quibble with is about the tuna, because there IS more mercury contamination today.

That said, I find it hilarious that parents will put their kids in body armor before they can get on a bicycle, and then the whole family will go for a ride -- four abreast. A mother will unstrap her kid from the straitjacket -- I mean, car seat -- and then proceed to jaywalk with the kid across a busy street rather than walk the 10 feet to the crosswalk where the sign says that vehicles yield to pedestrians in crosswalk.

My mother smoked while she was pregnant, and I'm perfectly OK. That I'm 4'10" isn't a function of the smoking, but a function of having NO ONE over 5'2" among ANY of my grandparents.

When I was very small, we used to draw steering wheels on the inside of large cartons and pretend they were cars. Today parents will spend $400 on a toy car with realistic sounds.

Parents now won't even let their kids play in their own backyards unless they are outside with them, because the 24 x 7 news cycle has convinced them that every town has a dozen pedophiles just dying to get their hands on their children. So instead the kids are inside on the computer building MySpace sites -- unattended.

What happens to these kids, growing up in a world where "safety" is something they feel entitled to even though LIFE is unsafe.

I guess they become Republicans who think giving up their freedoms to George W. Bush can keep them safe. ;)

I agree totally. And what's with the "germ" thing now? Everything is anti-bacterial. I have a load of pets, horses, I'm always in the dirt or working outdoors. By all reports, I should have bird-flu, infections etc. Nope. Not even a cold. I have asthma but it was controlled as a kid by...playin' outdoors and being physical. Getting sick sometimes is what helps you build your immune system. If people keep shielding kids from germs and, keep them in the house and not make them work thru things then what you have is, basically a weak pathetic pile of jello in a computer chair lurking on MySpace. Sorry, my kids are gonna be out playing in the dirt.

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