Friday, June 15, 2007

Motorcycle Tractor...

There is an epidemic in Cecil County- of children riding four wheeled vehicles, without helmets, up and down our streets. Ever since we moved here, when Shannon was 15 months old, I would say to her as one rode past "you're never going to ride one of those." I now say it to both of them.
Kids in elementary and middle school ride these, without helmets, and without regard for traffic on the street. Several months ago, I watched a 9 year old boy (no helmet) come around the corner of his yard so fast, he went up on two wheels. I thought we were all about to witness his death. Turns out he rides like this all the time.
So you can imagine my inner joy when she began a sentence last week by saying "Mom, you know those things I'm never going to ride?" (She has now taken to calling them "motorcycle tractors") She then talked about how dangerous they are for kids, and how kids don't even wear helmets.
I am so enjoying this part of parenting where everything I say is taken to heart without resistance. How long does this last?
Honestly, I just can't understand why parents let their kids ride such things. Look at this kid in the picture... can she even ride a two wheeler?
Fisher Price and other toy companies sell these things! Ugh.
I was browsing the Internet and read again about how dangerous they are. "Currently, riders under the age of sixteen make up 33 percent of ATV deaths, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC)" reads one article. The American Academy of Pediatrics officially recommends that children under 16 be prohibited from riding them. Between 1997 and 2001, in just two states, NC and PA, 70 children under 16 were killed. Apparently, helmets offer less than usual protection for these type of accidents, because very often the ATVs flip on top of persons, crushing them.
I'm trying to imagine being at the funeral for my own child, crushed by an ATV. The thought of my own child's funeral is horrible enough, but to think that I had in any way contributed to their death by failing to protect them would be perhaps more than I could bear.
I don't think of myself as terribly overprotective. I know life is full of risks, and that I cannot protect my children from everything. They need to learn how to live in this risk filled world. But there is a line between allowing them to explore the world with some measure of safety, and allowing them to take unnecessary risks.

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