There’s a very blurry line between overprotective and negligent. When you hear stories about parents being arrested because they let their children go to the park by themselves, it’s easy to start thinking the world’s gone mad. After all, many of us grew up just fine without many of the safety precautions that are so common in the world today, right? There are great, forward-thinking playgrounds that improve accessibility, but then there are also thousands of generic, bland playgrounds that do very little to entertain our kids at the expense of safety. In England, the “adventure playground,” a roughshod mess of hand-built tire-swings and piles of debris, is making a comeback, after years of suppression by the government for supposed “danger.”
On the other hand, some parents will barely let their children breathe, let alone play with wild abandon. How often do kids these days get to splash in mud puddles? Or do many things kids used to do? Fears of injury or disease and a predisposition on the children’s side to be totally okay with staying indoors has led to the most sedentary generation in human history. Which is, ironically, terribly unhealthy.
There are some safety precautions, however, that are not only worthwhile but simply vital. For a minor sacrifice, you can prevent severe, even life-threatening injuries. Baby seats, for example, might not be as comforting to an infant as sitting in mom’s lap. The statistics on how many lives they’ve saved make it completely apparent, however, that this small discomfort is completely worth it.
Bicycle helmets are another example and the subject of one mom’s way-too-close call. Her son was out riding his bike and, as all kids do at some point, took a spill. He scraped up his knee but that seemed to be the only pain he was complaining about, so that was that, right? Wrong.
As Tiffany Rivera tells it, “On Monday, March 21, 2016, my 10-year-old son Jaden was riding his bike without a helmet. While riding his bike he fell off scrapping up his elbow and knee. When he was asked if anything else hurt his only complaints where his elbow and knee. He showed no signs of trauma and continued about his day."
"Fast forward to Wednesday morning, March 23, 2016. Jaden woke up complaining of a headache and seemed very lethargic, which was not his normal self at all. All Jaden wanted to do was lay down and didn't want to eat anything. After looking at Jaden, you could see swelling around his right temple. The spot on his temple was not hard, more like really squishy. I decided to take him to the hospital. The moment I had Jaden in the car he started vomiting. Once Jaden arrived at Saint Mary's Children's hospital a CT scan was done. The diagnosis was a right temporal fracture of the skull and right temporal epidural hematoma. The Doctors explained to me that my son needed emergency surgery within the hour to try and save his life. The chances of him making it were a 50/50 chance."
"Jaden underwent surgery and once they were in found the damage to be extensive. They performed a Right frontotemporal craniotomy, removal of the epidural hematoma and had to place a wire mesh cranioplasty on his skull. The surgery was only supposed to take 1 1/2 hours, Jaden was in surgery for 2 1/2 hours. We were told by the surgeon and other doctors that it was a miracle he survived. All other cases the kids never came out of surgery. On April 5, 2016 Jaden turned 11 with almost no permanent damage or disability. My family and I would like to thank the Trauma Surgical Team and PICU at Saint Mary's Children's hospital in West Palm Beach Florida."
"I am telling you this in hopes to raise awareness for all children and adults why you need to wear a helmet. Help others be aware of the dangers of riding without the proper safety equipment. This can happen to anyone! The injuries my son had were equal to those in a motorcycle accident!”
It’s so important to remember that head injuries due to cycling are incredibly common but so very easily preventable. Always make sure your child bikes with a helmet on, even when it doesn’t seem necessary!
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H/T: Tiffany Rivera