Folks! As you have probably figured out by now, I actually LOVE safety. Helmets, car seats, seat belts — all get a thumbs up from me. But when we start re-defining EVERY activity as high-risk and requiring special safety gear (or when the marketplace tries to convince us it does, so it can sell us more stuff), independence starts to seem too daunting. A case in point:
Dear Free-Range Kids: I thought of you just now because I was driving through Watertown, Mass., a more hip and urban suburb than mine, and saw a mom with 3-4 preschool kids waiting at a crosswalk for the light to change. At first I thought the kids were dressed in Halloween costumes as construction workers. Then I realized they were wearing child-sized, neon safety vests for visibility. You know, the kind that flag-men water on road projects? That was a first for me. The world is so dangerous that your child needs a safety vest just to walk down the street. – C.F.
Hello, big, scary world that requires ever more $afety gear just to get up in the morning!