Plastic Bubble Syndrome

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Hound dog, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Not long ago I read an article about how playgrounds have become to safe and boring for our children. Developers and cities are so afraid of lawsuits that most playground equipment is so toned down, padded, low slung ect plus all the mulch, sand padding beneath it that they're realized that children are beginning to lack in some fundamental problem solving skills that playgrounds used to help them learn.

    At the time I agreed. But then it made me think of other things we now do in the name of "safety". Bike helmets, knee / elbow pads, padded bikes, new versions of car seats every year, drop sides on cribs banned (removing an infant from one that doesn't when you're short is a hazard by the way)..........on and on.

    I'm not saying being safe is bad per say. But in my opinion we've crossed the line from being "safe" to attempting to wrap our kids in bubbles so no harm ever comes to them.

    Probably most of us parents grew up without ever wearing a bike helmet or knee / elbow pads. I know I was thrown off my bike many a time (my own fault) with goose eggs, scraped knees and elbows. Yes I know the principal is to prevent head injuries. But banging your head, knees, and elbows were generally enough to prevent you from repeating whatever stupid stunt it was that caused you to wreck or be thrown off the bike in the first place. If not, well then there is not much protection against lack of sense. In my entire life I've seen 1 child have an actual head injury from a bike, a nephew doing something stupid because he thought the helmet would prevent him from being hurt. And in my opinion if we're going to go this far how about finding a way to ban the things from being ridden out in front of cars or in traffic? Because I don't know about others but I've nearly killed I dunno how many kids who swear, helmet or not, they can outrun my car. :sigh:

    Cribs? Oh, please. In all my days I've never heard of a child being harmed by the drop side. If it happened it was rare, and most likely the parents faulty assembly. Nichole had a crib that was recalled. Granted, when you assembled it the way the instructions told you to, the side didn't work properly. But the instructions didn't make sense and Nichole was used to putting together the old drop side cribs and had tossed the instructions aside and put it together herself. It worked the way it was supposed to. When she re-sold it she made certain to show the new owner how to put it up right. And like I said before, for anyone 5' tall and under and non drop side crib is a hazard. I had a hellova time getting Connor out of his crib until he learned to pull up on the side. Stupid. You don't ban all drop side cribs. You re-call and fix the ones that don't work properly.

    Carseats. Now I'm anal about carseats for toddlers and infants, and I was from way before it ever became a law. I'm just as anal about seat belts in older children and adults. But this constantly changing the standard and requiring parents to constantly buy new (if they want to meet safety standards) and changing the age / weight limit......has now gone to the extreme. Yes carseats save lives. But they'll never be good enough to insure that your child will not be injured in some way nor will it save every life. In some areas they want to push it so that children under 5' are required to sit in a carseat. Um folks.....I'm under 5'. Seriously? The child is nearly grown at that point, more than apt size for the seat belts to work properly. My children were out of carseats and into seat belts by age 4, with a special attachment to the shoulder belt to keep it safe and off their necks positioned to where it goes.

    And I've seen where evidently drawstrings have been banned? Huh? wth? What next shoe strings? Cuz you know kids trip over those all the time.

    Accidents happen. Kids get hurt. It's awful. It's tragic when injury results in death. But most of these safety things are not out there just to keep a child safe but to prevent lawsuits in our now lawsuit happy country. Actually that is the main reason you now see all this stuff. And some of these "safety" things are not any safer than doing without. Helmets often hinder vision because parents have no clue how to size them. Carseats are only safe if you install them correctly and make sure the belts are fastened and adjusted correctly. Can't tell you how many infants we had rushed to the ER due to circulation being cut off due to too tight straps, or infants thrown out of the seat or shaken around due to the straps being too loose. I want to see what they come up with for the baby who flings themselves over the crib rail to escape, like Travis, Alex, and Aubrey. Will they next have a roof? geez

    I dunno. Maybe it's because I watched generations manage to grow up just fine without all this stuff. My kids only used the car seats. Most playgrounds were not yet so safe as to be basically boring. (I'll never forget how grown up I felt finding the courage to climb the 12 ft ladder to a playground slide and actually slide down lol )

    But I keep thinking kids are missing some valuable natural consequences with parents and society trying to wrap them in bubble wrap. There is safe, and there is over protecting. in my opinion we've long since crossed the line over into over protection.

    Maybe I'm just showing my age.
  2. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I agree entirely, and it's not just with kids. There seems to be the feeling in this country that if we just pass enough laws, improve enough products, educate people the right way, and make things safe (and bland) enough, we'll all be safe forever.

    What people seem to forget is that the world never was and never will be a safe place. Accidents happen. People get hurt; they get maimed; they die. That's life. No matter what we do, that will still be true.

    I don't mean that you should be reckless. I wear my seat belt. I don't drink and drive. I look both ways before I cross the street. But I think we are legislating out some of the pleasures and the learning opportunities of life by always trying to make things "safe."

    I suppose it has something to do with the fact that, as a nation, we seem always ready to place the blame for mishaps on somebody else and sue. I guess that's not new. It was Shakespeare who said, "First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

    It's time we let kids be kids. It's OK to make them wear their bike helmets, but let's don't get bent out of shape when they fall and skin their knees. Let's put soft stuff under the monkey bars, but don't get rid of them. What's the point of living if you always have to be padded, cushioned, restrained, and limited by somebody else's idea of how to keep you safe.

    No matter how safe you are, you're going to die. You might as well enjoy yourself along the way.
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    If you're showing your age, I'm right up there with you.

    in my opinion - this is what happened.

    Some dip sued McDonald's for their coffee being hot. (Err, unless you ask for ICED coffee, it's gonna be HOT.) And won.

    A lot of others, looking for a way to make a quick buck, followed "suit" - pun intended.

    So... Companies are now TERRIFIED. And so is the government. Because if we don't give specific instruction to stupid people (dumbing it down), someone might get KILLED - and then they might get SUED. (FWIW - just because you don't know something doesn't mean you're stupid. It means you haven't been exposed to whatever that is. STUPID is when you have the tools available and flat refuse to consider using them.)

    (Has anyone here ever heard of natural selection, AKA survival of the fittest? Chlorine for the gene pool?)

    I read an article that stated at least 32 infants have been killed by drop-side cribs in the last 9 years. (2001-2010). 32/9=3.5 per year. In 2009, the infant mortality rate was 6.8 per thousand live births.

    So, unless you count a child getting caught in the drop side as SIDS - which by definition is unexplained - it's not even at the top.

    Seatbelts are there so the EMTs don't have to find parts. They're also good for keeping flying children from smacking the driver in the head when a sudden stop is required.

    Helmets are good as a required element in football, but the ones they have for cycling barely cover the top of your head. What's the point? Knee pads and elbow pads are good - less blood for Mama to have to deal with.

    I have a hair dryer that has the requisite warning: Do not attempt to use while showering or bathing. Duh... Defeats the purpose, doncha think?

    Maybe if we let the uncommon virtue called common sense rule instead of warning labels everywhere and OMG you have to have a plastic slide because the old metal ones got HOT and foam or wood chips cause sand and gravel are HARD, Darwin would step in.

    And FWIW - those plastic slides get HOT too, and they're more of a danger because they don't LOOK hot like the metal ones did. AND, I've gotten more splinters from playgrounds since I became an adult than from stacking wood as a child. I fell off the monkey bars and smacked my head once - I never tried to walk on them again. DUH.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member


    And on the other side of the coin...
    - we have a wide-open high-tech world that exposes our kids to all sorts of evils that are far worse than the physical things we protect them from... but "there's no way of controlling technology". (well, ok, some systems allow for some limited stuff for controls, but in reality... they only work until you've got a tech-savy kid who can figure out how to get around it)

    - bullying continues to be an on-going school problem, and it isn't just the kids doing the bullying. (but try and protect the kids from the teachers??)

    - we are moving body-checking and other high-risk moves down into little-kids hockey - risking severe concussions and/or joint damage with life-long consequences (and some kids will die from brain injuries) but this is allowed in the name of "sports development".

    Maybe the bureaucrats understand that they cannot control the real dangers, so they go overboard on the stuff they can control so they can say they are doing everything they can?
  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    We cannot protect kids from everything. Parent involvement helps. Kids will be kids - and kids are not all there, yet. Monitoring is really the best preventative.
    Good point. But - some teachers have always been bullies. I had a few. I just breathed a huge sigh of relief when I moved to the next grade.
    Let's un-develop sports. And FWIW? Peewee football is good from about 4th grade on - but when I see kindergarteners in football uniforms it makes me see red. Give the kid a chance to PLAY, unstructured!!! Ugh. J hated football - because his mommy WANTED him to. Later? He does want to do softball. OK. His choice.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Yeah. I agree, it's with society as a whole too.

    But with kids, they're noticing that it's stunting some of their developmental skills and learning to problem solve and conquer fears. Which is why I focused mainly in that area.

    Other than the carseats and modded down playgrounds, my kids grew up mostly the way I did.

    And mostly as far as helmets go..........and I'm talking motorcycle helmets as well as bike helmets......they're not called "brain buckets" for nothing. Probably 90 times out of 100 they don't work. So if you get a kid that thinks it will prevent them from being hurt........well, they try even stupider stuff than usual.

    I miss those metal slides. Have you ever gotten a piece of fiberglass in your hand from the new versions? THAT is fun, not. I mean one time down that metal slide in the heat of the day and you learned to pull your knees up and go down on your fanny only. lol I miss the merry go rounds. Those were a blast. And we had one at a park that was very small, very well greased, and went lightening fast when you pushed fast you'd find yourself airborne!! and we LOVED it. Did we get thrown off a time or ten? Oh yeah, did we get back on and do it again, HECK YEAH! That was so cool. Actually that is how I got the whole gravity concept. lmao No one played on the large size one because we couldn't get it to go as fast, so it was for "little kids". lol I can't tell you the last time I saw a teeter totter / see saw. Now what the heck was so dangerous about those? I'm actually surprised they've yet to ban swings.

    I just shake my head at the adult versions of the safety bubble. There is a saying "You can't fix stupid".

    In a way I think it shouldn't be surprising that our kids have more issues transitioning into adulthood than ever before.
  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello all--

    I've been sick the last few days...and so have spent an unusual amount of time watching television...

    and I caught a show yesterday that about summed this whole regulation thing up.

    The gentleman said that every company calculates the value of monetary investment vs lives. Sad, but true. And often, to get improvements, there need to be enough deaths to outweigh the cost of regulations, recalls and re-designs.

    So every time you see a law or a warning that should be common sense, it is because enough people died to require it's posting.

    "Supervise Children on Playground Equipment"

    "Do Not Use Electrical Appliances in the Bathtub"

    "Stop for Pedestrians in Crosswalk"

  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Yeah I get the technology thing. But I'm with step, parents need to be supervising.........and just because said technology is available, doesn't mean your child has to use it. My kids rarely used our in home computer and only with me sitting right next to them, and only for homework. I don't believe the computer should be used as a child's entertainment center. Cell phones can be nice for a kid to have, IF you can strictly limit it's use.

    My kids didn't see an in home video game until it was required as part as Travis' physical therapy, if it had not been for that they'd have never owned one. Even with that? It was strictly monitored and they only used it for a hour once or twice a week. TV was also strictly supervised and watching time no more than a hour or two during a day.......they didn't have a clue about prime time tv until the teen years. They played outside or with the toys I spent good money to buy them, or reading.

    Sports..........Don't get me started. Either it's Everyone's a winner (really? what are you teaching them?) or it's over kill.

    Bullying........I had a teacher that sat me in a cardboard box for an entire year.....because my difficult child bro beat him to a pulp the previous year. I had bully teachers. You learned to cope with them. Same with most playground bullies. I don't agree with bullying.....but school's "methods" for dealing with the issue aren't working either. Nor will they. It's the nature of the beast, so to speak, a natural part of socializing. You will never rid society of bullying. And trust me, I was horrifically bullied all through grade school. Travis was bullied. So far I still say the best way to handle a bully is to beat the snot out of 'em. And yeah I know places have the gang thing going on......and that is a whole other level compounded by "they're just children and if we make the punishment fit the deed we'll scar them for life" phht.

    Still. Bullying will never be solved. It's part of our social behavior.

    And like I said, I'm not against's the extreme stuff, it's the safety to the degree you stop letting kids be kids and make mistakes and grow and learn.
  9. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Teeter totters nearly killed me...

    At a friend's, I was standing on one, balancing... Next thing I knew I was on my back, on the concrete, couldn't breathe. Yeah, I flipped myself off of it. Knocked the wind out. Back hurt for days. But ya know what? MY STUPID KID SELF. I didn't blame anyone else.
  10. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I agree. As all the comedians love to point out, our dad's cut the seatbelts out of the ginormous back bench seat on my mom's Impala - we slid around back there whenever mom took a turn - IT WAS FUN. I once took a turn at the corner on my block too fast, skidded on the sandy gravelly dirt there and caught rocks in my knees - bled all over the place, but voila! I was fine, once my mom placed me in a tub to soak the rocks out. I was out riding my bike again in no time! All equipment at the park/playground were made of hard steel metal - slides, swings, merry-go-rounds (which, by the way, were extremely dangerous now that I think of it).

    I think that it has gone way overboard!
  11. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Yes, so true! Our kids have little common sense because everything has been thought out for them - I had a friend whose Grandmother used to say, "To learn you must feel". Whenever one of the kids fell from playing on the stair banister or jumping their bikes over the curb, etc., Grandma would let this line rip. She was right!

    Safety helmets, etc., give people a false sense of security.
  12. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    See, I had the opposite experience... My Dad has a 1960 Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite. It didn't come with seatbelts. He had a friend who had a small Cessna, and when he replaced the seatbelts, he ordered an extra set for Dad, who installed them in the Sprite. Lap only. They're still there, and they still work - probably better than most newer cars.

    ...I always wondered about seatbelts on airplanes... Are they to hold the body in place in case of an accident? Hmm.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Even worse... if you raise your kids in ways that make transitioning into adulthood easier, then THEY (and YOU) are outcasts in the school system. Neither teachers nor their peers can deal with kids who are learning adult-level skills but don't have cell-phone/face-book/computer-games/sports-team-participation etc. Because 95% (I'm being generous... my first number was 99.9!) of parents are just "going with the flow", kids who are "advanced" in life-skills are "behind in social skills because their peers can't relate to them".

    Get this: The fix is to not allow our kids to learn advanced skills faster than their peers.

    HUH? We're supposed to drop the whole world down to the lowest common denominator of non-think just to "fit in"???
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Airplane seatbelts actually have a real purpose. Not for accidents, but for turbulence - which is a routine issue. It keeps people from flying out of their seats when the plane does a sudden altitude drop or goes through a storm. And in this application, it does work. Otherwise, injuries would be routine... from flying bodies hitting others, or flying bodies hitting the ceiling etc.

    Accidents? well... that would be a different situation, I'm guessing,
  15. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I've thought for awhile that hovering parents and an enabling society are the root triggers for so many of our young adults having a sudden onset of mental illness and/or dangerous behavior once they head to college or leave the house. They just can't handle the rigors of real life or behave appropriately without an external force.
  16. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I agree TM! I had some problems adjusting to the real world, but nothing like O is going to have. At least her shock won't be as bad as it might have been.
  17. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    "My Dad has a 1960 Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite. It didn't come with seatbelts."

    OMG, Step! My first ex and I had one of those, only they called it a "Bug-Eye" Sprite! I wish I still had a picture of it! It was kind of an olive green color. Ours not only didn't have seat belts, it didn't have a radio, a heater, or windows that rolled up ... a car for the very young, which we were in those days! We used to drive it to the beach almost every weekend. The windows were little plastic things that came completely out when the top was down. If it started raining when we were driving, we'd park under an overpass, put the windows in, and wrestle with the top to get it up. Very impractical but we had an insane amount of fun in that little car!

    As for the other, I think we are now raising a generation of pampered little woosies (however you spell it)! It's not just on the safety issues either. This isn't universal but it soon will be. They learn how to use a calculator, not to do math. Some games don't keep score because the losers willl feel bad so there are no losers, everyone is a "winner". Nothing to strive for, nothing to work hard for, because you're already a "winner" just because you exist. If they don't do the work in school, if they don't even try and do nothing, they will still pass because to be held back will damage their precious self-esteem! If they do something wrong you should never ever raise your voice because it might make them feel bad about themselves and you will have ruined their whole life! Where did this one come from? That little voice inside that makes you feel bad when you have done something you shouldn't have is the beginnings of a conscience ... why would you want to discourage that? And God forbid you should ever give your kid a little swat on the butt, no matter what they have done, because they will then fear and hate you and they are sure to become violent and then turn in to a serial killer and it will all be YOUR fault! Gimme a break! What total horse hockey!
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011
  18. keista

    keista New Member

    in my opinion this is why our society is getting dumber. We are over protecting the general public, and natural selection is not allowed to run it's course. Stupid ppl keep surviving and passing on their stupid genes. (by the way I don't consider the 'mentally disadvantaged' in this category - generally they learn logic better than most)

    The lawsuit thing just makes me bonkers! A few years ago the EasyBake Oven was redesigned to function without a lightbulb. They added a heating element. It was HUGELY popular since it's really hard finding a 100 non-frosted lightbulb these days. The packaging CLEARLY states that it is for ages 8 and UP and even then ONLY with parental supervision (same warning on the lightbulb models.) Well, a 5 y/o got her hand stuck in there and had to get amputated. So there was a recall. They had a retrofit attachment to reduce the possibility of a hand going in in the first place PLUS more stickers to put on the unit that it was for ages 8 and UP and even then ONLY with parental supervision. So what happened then? A 3y/o got their hand stuck in there and had to get it amputated. That model went to a complete and total recall. SERIOUSLY?????????????? REALLY?????????????????? Because these two kids had IRRESPONSIBLE parents that allowed them to play seemingly unsupervised with an age IN-appropriate toy, the rest of the world misses out? Honestly. If it were me and my kid, I'd be too embarrassed that I screwed up to even complain.:soapbox:
  19. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    My childhood best friend and I had Lite-Brites. Remember those? They got HOT. Duh.

    She also had an Easy-Bake. We played for hours with it. Her parents split when she was 5 and she moved away. But... Gee.
  20. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    There is a lot of "stupid parent syndrome" going around! There was a story in the news a while back about a three or four year old who was seriously burned in his own back yard. The family was grilling in the back yard and the father had also been cutting the grass and left the gas can for the mower where the child could easily reach it. Then all the adults went inside and left the child alone to play in the yard! So it wasn't long before the little boy found the gas can and tried to pour gasoline on the burning charcoal in the barbeque! Of course it flared up into a big fireball and he was severely burned. And of course ...............wait for it! ................the parents sued the manufacturer of the gas can!