Safe Sound Family’s Weekly Roundup (February 8)

by Erin Raub | Last Updated Feb. 8th, 2013

playgrounds are too safe

Are our playgrounds too safe? They’re getting there!

This week, I’m doling out some food for thought. I hope you’re hungry, because the blogosphere has given us some tough stuff to chew on!

Our Playgrounds are Too Safe

We’ve talked about playgrounds and über-safety before, and it’s back in the news this week. Free Range Kids brings the latest developments to our attention, which centers around a school playground in Fairfax, Virginia and its $35,000 climbing structure that is now wrapped in caution tape. The school purchased the equipment thanks to funds from bake sales and other fundraisers, but now the kids aren’t allowed to use it due to safety concerns. The climbing gym – which, by the way, looks spectacular – meets national and international safety standards. So the question is, what’s the problem? Well, the school is concerned about lawsuits, should children injure themselves on the equipment. (Sounds like liability law, not our playgrounds, is the problem.) But experts say that playgrounds need risk. Our children need risk, so they can learn how to fall and get up again. Sanitizing life and eliminating all possible dangers is not safe and it’s not healthy for our kids’ emotional wellbeing. Cut up that caution tape, Stratford Landing Elementary School!

Awesome Mom: Mary Leakey

Just a super quick tidbit, but I couldn’t resist. This week (February 6) would have marked famed paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey’s 100th birthday. With a degree in anthropology, I have heard so much about Leakey and I have always admired here, but now even more so. An article in the Christian Science Monitor this week details Leakey’s awesome parenting ethos:  She took her three children with her to dig sites, and let them explore and learn for themselves. Says Leakey’s youngest son, Philip, now 64, “Mother gave us every freedom to learn by experience as early as I can remember… This gave me tremendous self-confidence and taught me responsibility at an early age. As I grew I was able to take on more responsibility and in a way it always put us as children ahead of the pack. It encouraged and enhanced leadership skills.” Happy birthday, Ms. Leakey!

happy birthday, Mary Leakey

Happy birthday to an amazing woman and mother!

Mutsy Evo Stroller Recall

If you own the Mutsy Evo, heads up: 340 strollers have been recalled due to strangulation hazard. The space between the seat bottom and grab bar is large enough that a child can slip through, if not harnessed, and strangle. The safety risk was discovered by Consumer Reports in its December 2012 testing, and was immediately reported to the manufacturer and the CPSC. No injuries or deaths have been reported. And speaking of recalls, WeMakeItSafer brings us the most important recalls of 2012. Stay safe, my friends!

The Parental Overshare Epidemic

Well, as a mother and a writer and blogger, this hits close to home. A few weeks ago, The Atlantic published a story about the ethical implications of writing about your kids. The article referred to viral accounts of children’s struggles – such as the post-Newton tragedy piece, I am Adam Lanza’s Mother – and how these “confessions” are actually a violation of minors’ privacy. In fact, journalist Sarah Kendzior went so far as to say, “The greatest threat to children’s privacy online does not come from corporations. It comes from parents.” This, of course, got me thinking about my own son and my career. How much sharing is too much sharing? Can I talk about his future escapades in potty training (“potty learning”), or is that already too much?

Now, to be clear, I don’t think that an online discussion about aiming for Cheerios in the toilet will damage him emotionally. But this article does have me question why? It’s one thing to talk among friends and fellow parents, but do I need to start an online discussion that will live for eternity in the Internet archive? What do you think?

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