Friday, July 24, 2009

Child Proofing, 60's Style

Kids these days are unbelievably over protected. I lived through this with my kids because my wife is a safety psycho. How did this all start? Either a group of like minded safety psychos got together and started spreading the word or a guy who's very rich now saw the potential in scaring mothers into believing their kids were in mortal danger and it was their fault.

Let's take a look at bef0re and after child proofing became a fad:

Present-Electrical outlets are covered by a stupid plastic insert (that I can't believe I didn't think of) that keeps the baby from sticking a coin in the socket.
60's - Give the baby a penny. He'll do it once, but never again. I know this from personal experience. I also touched a cast iron radiator.............once.

Swallowing Coins and marbles
60's - Don't worry about it, they come out the other end. My mom had to check a lot of my poop in the early years.

Learn how to ride a bike
Present- Before attempting to sit on the bike, make sure your helmet strap is fastened, your elbow and knee pads are on and your body armor is snug. Ride, fall, ride, fall, ride, fall.
60's - Put the kid on the bike. Push it to get it going, then let it go downhill so the kid doesn't have to pedal so much. After the first fall, balance increases dramatically. (My daughter will attest to this).

Head Protection
Present - Helmet. Fall off the bike and no bumps or scrapes. Your head just bounces a couple of times and then you get back on the bike and fall off again because you know you're not going to get hurt.
60's - Hair. The thicker your hair, the less likely you are to lacerate your head upon impact. You do end up with a couple of large lumps called "goose eggs" on your head but you consider yourself lucky you didn't get a concussion this time. Instead of getting back on the bike, you walk it home because you can't see straight. The next time you get on the bike, you don't fall off.

Fight after school - you come home with a fat lip and a black eye.
Present - Your mom calls the police, the paramedics, the child psychologist and her lawyer.
60's - Your dad asks you who won and then says "Put some ice on it, you'll be fine." My dad said that no matter what was wrong with me. Bruise, sprain, cut, fever, it didn't matter. We didn't have health insurance back then so we didn't go to the doctor much. Whenever I'd see a doctor with his doctor's bag, I always thought it was full of ice.

Present - All plastic slides, seat belted swings firmly anchored in the ground and plastic monkey bars all on a rubber base.
60's - Slides have wooden steps and a metal slide. Splinters on the way up and a nice friction burn on the way down. That's on top of the 3rd degree burn you got from the metal sitting in the hot sun all day. Swings, monkey bars and everything else were all on a good solid cement base.

Riding in the back seat of a car
Present - Seat belt fastened, child proof door lock on, child proof window rolled up.
60's - Those big cars had plenty of room to stand up in the back and hold on to the door handle to keep your balance. No, I'm not kidding.

In the end it really doesn't matter. I survived, albeit with a few scars. And even though my wife psycho-child-proofed the entire house, (including that stupid thing, that I can't believe I didn't think of, that locks down the toilet seat lid so well that I couldn't get it opened myself a couple of times and had to go in the yard) my son slipped on the driveway and punctured his forehead, he fell out of the tree in the back yard and broke both his arms, broke his wrist skateboarding and dropped a tree trunk on his toe, splitting the big toe bone lengthwise. And that's just what comes to mind at the moment. No matter what you do, kids will always find a way to do dangerous stuff.

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