Posts Tagged ‘ child safety ’

Does Being A Good Parent Make You More Judgmental?

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

2 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

For the past two weeks, while riding in the car with me to and from school, you had been asking for a black van.

I have no idea why. It’s not like you saw a cool black van or something.

So with Nonna and Papa (my parents) coming up for Memorial Day weekend, I figured I should let them know in case they could find one of my old childhood toys to suffice.

The plan worked, basically.

Papa found an old Tonka van of mine from circa-1985, but it was silver and red.

So he used a can of black spray paint and made it the right color.

Your “new” black van has snazzy red interior and has these cool “window walls.”

Yes, you were quite impressed.

As for me, however, I jokingly referred to your new toy as a “creeper van.”

It’s just that when I was young, I was taught to never go near big black vans with no windows in the very back… for safety reasons.

Similarly, though I have a nostalgic fascination of ice cream trucks, in reality, I have a distrust for the people who drive them… or big black vans with no windows in the very back.

I don’t want to be prejudiced towards anyone about anything, but if I said that I’m not leery of certain seemingly peculiar people in certain seemingly peculiar situations, then I would be lying.

Just a few days ago I told the story about how I myself creep out other parents when I do pull-ups at the playground on my lunch break; without you there with me.

However, I don’t feel judged by those parents. Actually, I totally get it. I just think it’s funny.

Does being a good parent make someone more judgmental, prejudice, and untrusting of others?

I can only speak for myself; and if I do, then that probably technically makes me prideful because I am assuming I am a good parent.

Somewhat interestingly, I admit I might come across as judgmental, prejudiced, and untrusting of others because of the fact that I see big black vans as “red flags.”

I call it being wisely protective. Others may see it as judgmental… but does that make them judgmental? I don’t know.

Clearly, I don’t have any answers. I’m just asking questions today.





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Raising A Little Boy: Safety Hazard Or Just A Mess To Be Made?

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Saturday morning when it snowed here in Nashville, I snapped a few quick pictures of you discovering the glory of it through the window.

However, those pictures of you didn’t quite turn out as I had hoped.

Instead, they could easily be filed under the categories of “safety hazard” or “a mess to be made.”

Without an explanation, the picture to the right looks like I just let you regularly pretend to strangle yourself with the strings from the window blinds.

In reality, the exact second this picture was shot was the only time you’ve ever put the strings from the window blinds close to your neck.

The main reason you I’ve never let you play with the window blinds is explained in the picture below.

Not only do I not want you to hurt yourself, but I don’t want you to learn that it’s okay to play with something that could easily turn into a big mess, or more importantly, something that could break and be so expensive to fix.

(Those blinds throughout our townhouse costed us a total of $500 for the 3 windows we have, by the time they were installed.)

Trust me, I don’t want to be a stick in the mud parent who is telling you “no” anytime you try to do something new.

I want you to be curious and adventurous. You are a little boy. You’re basically wired to discover fun new things on a regular basis.

But as your dad, I have to constantly be asking myself, “Is this a safety hazard?” and “Will this make a big expensive mess that I’ll have to clean up and pay for?”

Speaking of snow, it reminds me of when I was a kid in school and the Superintendent would have to make the call very early that morning on whether or not school would be cancelled because of snowy or icy weather.

If he cancelled school, and the weather ended up not being as bad as everyone thought it would be, then it could make it look like he jumped the gun and overreacted.

But if he didn’t cancel school, and the weather really was as bad as everyone thought it might be, then he could be seen as unwise and not concerned enough with the safety of the children.

I feel like the Superintendent. You give me enough reasons each day to have continually ask myself whether I should approve or cancel whatever potential hazard or mess you are about to get yourself into.





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“Kid Still In The Car Seat” Awareness

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

20 months.

About 24 hours ago, I published “How Do Parents Leave Their Kids Alone In A Hot Car?!

To summarize it, I basically said that I feel like every time I hear another “parent left their kid alone in the hot car” story, it’s always that the parent was a bit looney to begin with.

I ended it with this:

“But really, I don’t know, do non-crazy parents end up leaving their kids alone in the car? Do they?”

The answer is yes.

Good, normal parents who are respected in their community have unfortunately accidently left their kids alone in a hot car.

The most common way this seems to happen: They simply forgot to drop off their kid, who was quiet in the back seat.

Here are a couple of links to prove it:

As I mentioned in this post’s prequel, I totally see how I could forget my son in the back seat of my car, on a morning when he is really tame on the drive and while I am very preoccupied with 17 random thoughts and 8 that actually are important.

But I want to make sure I never do forget.

I read this statement from the Safe Kids Worldwide CEO, Kate Carr, who had some advice for parents to prevent forgetting their child in the car:

“Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car – a briefcase, your purse, or better yet, your cell phone – that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.”

So, yeah, I’m going to start doing that. Starting today.

Now that I know it’s not just a stereotype of a parent who accidently leaves their kid in the car seat on a hot summer day, I’m ready to spread awareness.

What better way to do that than with another one of my glorious awareness ribbons?

For the record, I think awareness ribbons are annoying by now and are well past the “jumped the shark” point. And for me, that’s why they work. They spread awareness, even if through sheer tackiness like an infomercial.

So as I look at this orange “Kid Still In The Car Seat” Awareness ribbon that took me about 90 seconds to create on, I will be reminded to start leaving my cell phone in the back seat next to my son from now on.

Not to mention, I don’t need the added danger of tempting myself to text my wife while I’m driving.

I want to set good, preventative habits as a parent.

Thanks to those of you who left comments on ”How Do Parents Leave Their Kids Alone In A Hot Car?!”  You led me here and I think I’m a better parent for it.

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Is Your Kid’s Car Seat Installed Properly? New Study Says “Maybe Not”

Monday, February 6th, 2012

14 months.

Despite how much I truly love my son with all my heart, I may be putting him in danger everyday. But how?

Well, it’s just that I’m not completely convinced I installed my son’s car seat properly into my car. I mean, I think I did it right, but now I’m not so sure.

I know I can take my car to any fire station and a firefighter can show me how to correctly strap our son’s car seat into my car. Yet I haven’t got around to it.

To be perfectly honest, I feel kind of ashamed and embarrassed going to the big strong firefighter so he can help out this seemingly pathetic dad who can’t even put his own son’s car seat in the right way.

In other words, I’ve been letting pride get in the way of my son’s safety. Smart trade-off, huh?

Last week, a study was released showing how more than 30% of parents do not enforce the rule of booster seats when their kids are with another driver and that 45% of parents do not require their young kids to use a booster when they’re driving other children who don’t have booster seats.

While I can’t relate to this yet because my son is only 14 months old, I obviously am feeling guilty and responsible about it now. So I finally called the fire station, which is conveniently right around the corner from where I work, and scheduled an appointment with a licensed expert to inspect my work.

Soon, I can be assured that my son is safely strapped in his car seat. Finally, despite my pride.

It turns out, my wife went to high school with Jennifer Rubin, the Public Education Officer and Safe Kids Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor for the Cosumnes Fire Department in Elk Grove, CA.

So I was curious about what she had to say about this topic. Here is the wisdom she has to share with us today:

“A recent study showed 84% of car seats inspected had a critical misuse. I wish car seats were easy, but it is hard for parents to know they are getting the best information.

When people become parents, they often go to their own parents for advice. Grandparents can help you with how to get your baby to sleep, what your toddler should eat, potty training and more, but unfortunately they can’t help you with car seats.

Car seats and car technology have changed so much in recent years that you have to be up to date with the latest technology. Even your friends with school-age children may not have the best information.

Make sure you have the right car seat for your child, for your car and for your family. Take the time to find a local car seat tech to help you at

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3-14 in the United States. Car seat safety is worth your time!”

So I’ve established that I might be a statistic. What about you? Is your child’s car seat properly installed? Do you know for sure?

Image: Safety belt, via Shutterstock.

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