Listening to the Radio

Readers — This little note serves up a perfect slice of our fear-steeped society! 

Dear Free-Range Kids: I live in NJ so I was listening to the local FM station, 101.5 FM. (Btw, here is the spiel they actually announce as they introduce new segmants:)
“Not New York! Not Philadelphia! ALL New Jersey..!” 
That’s the best they can do??! That’s all they can say about NJ?  That it’s not NY?”  PS- we know that already….
Anyway as I listened I heard the following stories in the span of 3 minutes:
“NJ school in lockdown due to domestic violence incident…”
“More children being poisoned by prescription Rx’s…”
“How to protect kids in summer heat:”
What IS IT with all this fear mongering? So every time a wife throws a frying pan at her husband, the local school goes into nuclear lockdown!?
Are we going to create a law that requires ALL households to have a safe to put medications in? I swear to god, I’m waiting for it….
And do we really have to micromanage our kids during the SUMMER when the sun shines and the temperatures rise in order to prevent them from getting too hot….it’s SUMMER people. sheesh. I can’t take it  :-(     – Bill
Lenore here: Me neither — though  I DO  have a lockbox for our medications. But other than that, I hear you (hearing the radio). -L
Tune in to all fear, all the time! (And isn’t this a gorgeous radio?) 

34 Responses to Listening to the Radio

  1. Ann in L.A. June 5, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    Or require every house to have a safe to put the kids in. After all, you never know what dangers lurk in the hearts of men.

  2. Natalie June 5, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

    101.5, the Jersey Guys, Dennis and Judy…
    Good memories of driving through the tri-state area visiting my parents and back.

  3. April June 5, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

    I grew up in and live in central Texas, so I know a thing or two about heat. Here’s my “article” on how to protect kids from the heat: Tell them to come in and get a drink of water when they get too hot (which they will anyway, so it doesn’t really need to be said.)

  4. Ravana June 5, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    The medication safe made me remember a story a friend once told me about the fist time she brought her toddler to visit his grandparents. The adults were visiting in the living room while the toddler napped upstairs. They heard an odd noise and looked into the hallway in time to see the toddler carefully working his way down the stairs with his grandmother’s bottle of heart medication in one hand and his grandfather’s straight razor in the other.

  5. Natalie June 5, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

    I’ve heard NPR state no less than three times this week that we should open the top half of windows only in order to prevent accidents.

    Actually, I read a really good article today about summer safety that people should take a look at if their kids aren’t great swimmers yet. Actually, it’s good to look at regardless.

    This might be common knowledge to lifeguards or people that work around water and/or on ships, but I had never heard of this before.

    Drowning doesn’t look like drowning.

  6. Emily June 6, 2013 at 12:16 am #

    @Natalie–I saw that article too. However, I’m afraid that people are going to read it and think that the message is “Don’t let kids swim,” when really, the best way to prevent drowning is to TEACH kids to swim.

  7. Donald June 6, 2013 at 12:42 am #

    I often get con mail such as:
    URGENT! You may have won $1,000,000
    It’s obviously crap designed to suck you in.

    I then start thinking about the media and how they do the same with fear mongering. I also wonder about the people that fall for the con and how gullible they are.

  8. C.J. June 6, 2013 at 1:11 am #

    When I had my stroke 4 years ago I couldn’t work a child proof cap. I had small children at the time. I have to take medication twice a day and there wasn’t always someone around to get it for me. My husband couldn’t very well come home from work to give it to me.The kids were taught not to touch medicine long before I had my stroke. My grandmother often had random pills that she dropped under her couch, the kids were taught from the time they could crawl not to eat pills. Of coarse we watched them but kids can be quick.

  9. Warren June 6, 2013 at 1:41 am #

    A lockable medicine cabinet, that is a joke. The kids are not climbing up on the toilet, then onto the sink, and balancing on the edges of the sink while opening the med cabinet. They are getting them off the counter, or nightstand, or coffee table. Or someone gives them the wrong med, by accident or on purpose.

    Just wait, they will lobby for secure cabinets for all meds, cleaners, or whatever they deem a danger. It will happen.

  10. hineata June 6, 2013 at 3:12 am #

    Actually, yes, some kids do climb on the toilet, then onto the sink, and open the cabinet. Or onto the bench top, then up into the cabinets. Sometimes you get two working together to achieve the same. Kids are geniuses for mischief. Therefore it seems safer to teach them to bring interesting pill-like objects to you first for permission before consuming them.

    And to check your kid’s medicine bottles before you feed anything to them yourself. Our chemist has got it wrong a few times…..

  11. hineata June 6, 2013 at 3:16 am #

    Some kids, while balancing atop the toilet, shove other kids off the top of the same toilet, causing them to gash their heads open on the side of the sink, leading to hours in foreign hospitals. In the middle of bizarre e

    Geeze, am so glad to have teenagers now!

  12. hineata June 6, 2013 at 3:17 am #

    e = epidemic. Speaking of meds, think I’m overdue mine :-)

  13. Per June 6, 2013 at 5:55 am #

    That last “story” is actually an ad. Lots of beverages are sold using this kind of fear-based marketing, and as a result many people are drinking way too much water, resulting in kidney- and bladder problems later in life.

  14. Andy June 6, 2013 at 7:17 am #

    @warrent “The kids are not climbing up on the toilet, then onto the sink, and balancing on the edges of the sink while opening the med cabinet.”

    You would be surprised :). Mine do. Yes, I’m proud and bragging right now.

    @Emily That article is not about swimming being dangerous, it is about how to recognize a drowning adult or kid. Linked a video even shows how it look like and it is different then people think. There is no yelling or much splashing, it is mostly silent event.

    Knowing how to swim is not absolute protection against drowning, most adults that drown can swim. They either loose force, are caught in currant or water plants or get hit by something.

  15. M.H. June 6, 2013 at 8:02 am #

    I just have a funny story to share about kids in sinks. When my son was about 12-13 months old and not yet walking he got away from me briefly. When I found him he was sitting in the bathroom sink. He had managed to pull himself up onto the toilet, and from there was able to pull himself into the sink.

    My older son announces everything he does, he is the type of kid who would bring me medicine and ask “mom, whats this, can I eat this…?” My younger son, the one I found in the sink did come close to eating an entire bottle of children’s Tylenol when he was 2.5. The medicine was left in a pocket of my backpack that I almost never use after a vacation and I didn’t know that it was there. My son found it, got it opened and I was dumping it into his mouth when I saw him. I don’t think he actually got any but I called poison control anyway. They said that even if he had eaten all that was missing from the bottle (it was not a new bottle) he would be fine.

    So, locking up dangerous medicine isn’t a bad idea. Teaching kids never to touch medicine with out the permission of a trusted adult is an even better idea.

  16. Shelly Stow June 6, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    Is is really possible to drink too much water? I thought the best hedge against kidney and bladder trouble was drinking a lot of water.

    Some kids are climbers. My daughter at three got to the top of the countertop and was trying to scale the side of the refrigerator to get to the cookies she saw her dad put up there. She fell and broke a collarbone.

    Then at four she used the pull-handles on a large bedroom chest-of-drawers and was well on her way to the top when it started toppling over. She would have been crushed beneath it. Thank God her dad walked into the room at just the right moment and stopped it.

    She is still fearless.

  17. Natalie June 6, 2013 at 8:34 am #

    Hi Shelley,
    I actually talked about this with my doctor when I was pregnant. You absolutely CAN drink too much water and cause kidney damage. But you’d need to drink an absurd amount. A good rule of thumb is to drink when you’re thirsty.
    Drinking lots of water can sometimes prevent kidney stones if you’re prone to them, sometimes it’s not enough and medication is needed. I know a Druze family in Israel that prided themselves on their fresh well water and the father and grandmother would get kidney stones. Except the well water was hard, and kidney stones are made of calcium carbonate (which is in hard water) so in that case, it was the water supply at fault.

    Funny coincidence with the stories. My toddler just got into the medicine cabinet this morning, opened the “childproof” cap to her Tylenol and proudly told me that she took two, her normal dosage. I called poison control just in case she had taken more. Poison control said she would have had to have taken 19 to merit a trip to the emergency room. Crisis averted, and excellent time to tell her that only Imma or Abba gives her medicine. And then I got the puppy dog eyes and pout. She had been so proud!

  18. Natalie June 6, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    Hineata- you’re GLAD to have teenagers? So you’re telling me there’s hope?

  19. BL June 6, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    “Not New York! Not Philadelphia! ALL New Jersey..!”

    Thank goodness they don’t live in rural Pennsylvania, where there are Amish people. You could get kicked by a horse, you know …

  20. Taradlion June 6, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    Acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose causes liver failure in 24 hours with no other symptoms. I know this because my then 3 year old daughter opened the safety top of infant Tylenol (very concentrated) and self administered it (then his the bottle). She clearly knew she shouldn’t take it (this hiding the evidence) and I had no idea she had the fine motor skills to own the bottle. She was ultimately okay, but blood test showed she came close to poisoning her liver. Blood test was best detergent to her ever doing that again.

    Flash forward 4 years when my younger child took his grandpa’s blood pressure pills from one of those M Tu W Th F flip boxes when I was 5 states away. He was absolutely old enough to know better, but the pill box (he’d never seen) “looked like mints”. He became the unofficial spokes person for his preschool on not taking medications not administered by an adult after his having to drink charcoal. My dad felt terrible for leaving the pill box out.

    I didn’t lock up all medications after the Tylenol incident, but I was careful to not leave medication in view (even high up) for my kids, who were often off entertaining themselves, to conduct experiments. The blood pressure medication was an accident and learning experience

  21. Brenna June 6, 2013 at 10:26 am #

    @Warren – I just had to laugh, because just this week my toddler climbed up on the toilet, and was balancing on the edge of the sink, opening the medicine cabinet. He was after his toothpaste, and ignoring the medications, generally. But he is a climber. He figured out how to use the handles of the drawers in the kitchen to get on the counter. He scales over baby gates with abandon.

    I get so sick of the advertisements on how to let your kids have a ‘safe’ summer. How about a fun summer? A fulfilling one? Educational? Relaxing? Exciting? Really, is safe the most we can ask for now? Doesn’t matter if it’s boring as all get out, as long as it’s “safe”.

  22. AlanaM June 6, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    I always thought the advice to stay out of the sun from 10am to 4pm was so crazy. Yes that is when the sun is strongest, it is also most of the day!

    I once saw a 3 yo at the beach completely covered from head to toe with “protective” clothing and he had a life jacket on over it. I could barely see the child. He never strayed more than a foot from mommy either. What is the point?

  23. lollipoplover June 6, 2013 at 11:22 am #

    “Every product in someone’s house should be looked at as a potential poison that could result in a death,” said Marcus.

    Sheesh. Why not just move out? Sure, you try want to prevent accidental poisoning by securing meds. From what I’ve been hearing, more kids are stealing their parent’s prescription pills out of boredom because their trapped inside instead of playing outside. Have to avoid sunlight from 10-4. We are raising a generation of vampires…

  24. Papilio June 6, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    “We are raising a generation of vampires…”
    Well, at least then it’s about someone else’s safety again: parents, make sure you put a lock on your bedroom door!

  25. S June 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    “A lockable medicine cabinet, that is a joke. The kids are not climbing up on the toilet, then onto the sink, and balancing on the edges of the sink while opening the med cabinet.”

    My daughter did precisely this in the 10 – 20 month range. She also figured out how to open childproof caps pretty early. However, climbing, balancing, taking down the medicine, and opening a child proof cap only accounted for one incident. The other two incidents she managed because we were at grandma’s and stuff had not been put up and away.

    The third time I had to call poison control in less than a year, I admit I was scared they’d sick CPS on me. They didn’t sick CPS on me. In fact, they were pretty nonchalant every time I called them. Our first conversation went like this: PC: “Well, how much did she drink?” Me: “I don’t know, maybe a fifth of the bottle?” PC: “Eh, honestly, she probably could have drunk the whole thing and been fine. Just keep an eye on her. If she starts doing X,Y,Z, take her to the ER.” And another conversation went like this – PC: “And she threw up immediately when she swallowed the pills?” Me: “Yes.” PC: “Good, that means she was working it out. Just keep an eye on her. If she starts doing X,Y, or Z, take her to the ER.”

  26. Stephanie June 6, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    Brenna, I agree about the excessive focus on “safe” summers. I’ve been posting summer activity ideas for kids on my site, and safety is up to the parents. I haven’t gotten to some of my favorites yet, such as sending the kids out to find friends to play with, but I like sharing ideas for kids to play that aren’t always indoors (some is fine) or require parental assistance.

    I trust kids to know when its too hot. They’re generally good at it, if a little too picky at times. I’m so relieved that my son finally has a neighborhood friend who comes over very freely – his mom sends him out to play pretty much every day, and that gets my very shy son out playing too. If they want to be indoors due to heat or wanting to play Hot Wheels, it’s usually our house because his mom tells him to stay out until dinner. I love it!

  27. Amanda Matthews June 6, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    You’re not going to damage your kidney and bladder by drinking too much water.

    But you WILL damage them by drinking too much water and then not promptly peeing when the urge strikes.

    So I can see, for example, if kids are outside playing all day and there are no public bathrooms, and they aren’t comfortable asking a neighbor to use their toilet, that drinking an overabundance of water could be bad.

    If you follow what your body tells you/let your kids follow what their body tells them, it will be fine. Being hotter means you will need more water, but you’ll also use more up and therefore if you listen to your body to drink the right amount you will need to pee less but not become dehydrated.

  28. hineata June 6, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

    @Natalie – LOL! Yes, definitely hope! Teenage boys might have smelly feet, and teenage girls be nasty little madams at times, but they get themselves places, can cook for themselves, do the housework, arrange their own school supplies, trips etc…You get glimpses that they might turn into fun and competent adults :-)

    And then, on the other hand, you get home from work/study and find that nothing has been done because they’ve been too busy fighting over who does what, or comforting one over the latest friend saga, or playing the latest, evidentally downloadable version of Minecraft (which is hard to ban because, damn it, the boy has a job and pays for them himself) and you wonder …… :-)

  29. Rachel June 6, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

    I bartend at events and festivals as a side job, and I really worry about the kids sometimes. I can always tell the kids, and adults who will be seen by the medics before the afternoon. They’re the ones sniping at each other for no good reason, rubbing their aching heads, and not stopping to rest and drink water, out of the sun, because they came to have fun dang it, and fun they will have.

    Most people don’t recognize the signs of heat stress/ exhaustion/ stroke in themselves or their children. I iced down over two dozen kids (and several adults) on an especially hot day last summer, and called the EMTs for several kids. Their parents seemed to think that their listless crankyness was just a bad attitude, not recognizing that their red, un-sweating faces were a clear indicator that they were in significant distress.

    While preoccupation with heat related illness is silly, I would really love if everyone familiarized themselves with all the signs and symptoms so that fewer people’s fun summer outings ended in the ER.

  30. Natalie June 7, 2013 at 10:11 am #

    Raising a generation of vampires? Just as long as they don’t sparkle.

  31. Natalie June 7, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    I’d say tell the kids to go behind a bush but then they’d be labelled sex offenders.

  32. Maggie June 8, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    My kids climbed on the toilet and then the sink to reach the medicine cabinet once to get into the liquid children’s pain reliever. I guess they liked the grape flavor.

    I would guess that a school lockdown due to a “domestic violence incident” would be because the spouse of a school employee showed up at the school and caused trouble, or had threatened to do so.

  33. Leesa June 9, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    When I was thirteen, I spent two weeks in the hospital because my doctor thought I was mentally ill– I was actually just really, really hormonal because sometimes that stuff gets out of whack and I’m fine now– but the doctor basically prescribed enough drugs to knock out an elephant for me to take twice a day because I wasn’t “improving” and I was really, really sick for a while. I don’t think it’s that common though because the hospital thought I was a junkie and didn’t believe me until being faxed the dosages by my doctor.

  34. Rachel June 10, 2013 at 2:46 am #

    Makes sense when I was five years old,before swimming lessons started I jumped into the deep end of the pool.
    Started to drown,I remember just laying their in the water and starting to black out. Then was saved by the lifeguard.
    After that I kept taking swimming lessons,went back the next week I believe and became a competent swimmer.

    I do recommend a life guard of adult to watch small children. Ten seems kind of old for a child to drown though,likely didn’t have enough swimming lessons or practice.

    With medicine it depends on the kids. My Mother said me and my sister ignored the medicine in the cabinet,but two boys she had to babysit where obsessed over it.