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Stamps & Safety?

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Motherlode

A great article by KJ Dell’Antonia on the Motherlode about cartoon stamps, hyper-safety and over-parenting.

“These are the well-meaning attempts of empathetic, concerned, careful, thoughtful adults to protect our children, but it’s striking that, as a culture, we’re working so hard to protect them from exactly the experiences that helped us become adults ourselves. We learn from making mistakes, even big mistakes. We learn from the things that go wrong, that aren’t fun, that leave us thinking hard about how something could be better. A few of us even learned how valuable those helmets and shinguards are by having an accident while not wearing them. If you never learn where your limits are, it’s hard to learn to respect them — or to transcend them.”

Scooters.

imagesWhy I don’t like scooters for children under 5. 

Scooters are fun.  For children under 5 the scooter should be a toy, an activity limited to the confines of an enclosed park, or pedestrian walkway (that isn’t filled with pedestrians.) The scooter should not be used as a means of transportation.  And while most parents wouldn’t admit they use the scooter to get their kid to scoot, just a little faster, that seems to be the only ‘logical’ motivation behind letting your 2 or 3-year-old speed 40 feet ahead of you, down heavily trafficked streets.

I get it 2 and 3-year-olds move slowly, and sometimes it can be frustrating, but the answer should not be, throwing them on a scooter, which, they do not have control over.

Sure, I have a small scar on the back of my heel from a scooter accident, but that’s not what drives my anti-scooter speech.  The real reasons I don’t think scooters are appropriate for children under 5 are listed below:

2-year-olds don’t stop when they see other babies walking directly ahead of them.  They don’t have the dexterity to swerve, gracefully out of the way, or negotiate their special surroundings, and most importantly they don’t fully understand the dangers of moving, motorized vehicles.  2-year-olds are just learning what the “stop” hand, and “go” walking person mean.  But, both symbols are still abstractions to them.  They simply know to stop or go when they see either symbol, and they often get the two mixed up, or forget to look without our cueing them. 2-year-olds don’t necessarily understand, that the “stop” and “go” symbols could be the thing protecting them from being hit by a car. And 2-year-olds do not understand what being hit by a car entails.

Solutions: If you want your 2-year-old to go faster put them on the scooter while you push them, but don’t let them manage it alone, while on heavily trafficked streets.