A Word on Safety

On Child Safety: Saved By a Pound of M&Ms

by Zoe McNamara for little-turnips.com.  


Let me start by saying that child safety issues really haven't changed all that much. The unscrupulous are a little bolder and more creative, and there are many more ways for harm to reach your kids. But as always, parents need to have eyes in the backs of their heads.

I grew up in the country. When I was in first grade, and my sister was in third, we felt perfectly safe walking home from school with our friends. We always made a point of passing by Miss Kinch’s, and handing our pennies through her kitchen window in exchange for homemade frozen treats.

My father had a vegetable garden that seemed to stretch on forever, and in the evening, he’d work in the garden, and my sister and I would bring in the animals from grazing. Three years later, we moved to a city where everything was gray and nobody smiled.

One cold afternoon I was waiting outside for my sister to come home from school, and I was approached by two of what I could only categorize as big people, since they were about twice my nine-year-old height. But an audience! And one that was very interested in what I had to say!

They questioned me, chatted me up for a while—then grabbed me. No matter how I tried to convince them that I wasn’t allowed to go beyond the corner where they’d found me, they insisted that I come with them. I began to drag my feet a little, and they only yanked my arms harder. It still didn't occur to me at this point to fear for my safety.

Whether my motivation was my parents' displeasure, or the sight of the lower end of downtown looming in the distance, I suddenly broke away, shouting that wherever we were headed, we simply couldn’t continue without a supply of M&Ms, and ran back to our apartment to get some, hoping they wouldn't be angry with me for delaying our journey.

Of course, when I burst in and shouted breathlessly to my mother that I neeed lots of M&Ms, my Mom pulled me in and locked the door behind me, horrified. I, in turn was horrified at her treatment of my new "friends," and went off to my room in a snit.

Child Safety Products

The lessons for me as a parent are many—listen to my child, so she won’t feel lonely and ignored, like I did. Talk to her, so she won’t feel like she has to seek the attention of potentially harmful strangers.

Check her understanding of safety regularly—don't leave your precise instructions up to the interpretation of unpredictable and often incomprehensible Child Logic. Get to understand her view of the world—it might need adjusting. And for goodness' sake, avoid basing your conclusions about the safety of your child on well-intentioned advice that doesn't take your values into account.