Thursday, June 26, 2014

Avoid Fun

Summer has officially rolled around and so we’re getting the usual fluff pieces with advice on how your kids can fun and stay safe, with a special emphasis on the latter. Lenore Skenazy reviews one such list of summer safety tips:

Now's the time for summer fun...warnings. New Jersey's Star Ledger lists "46 ways to have a safer NJ summer." That's right, almost 50 helpful precautions to digest before the children of the Garden State are faced with the horror of the great outdoors.

The tips range from the helpful ("If you're caught in a rip current...swim parallel to the shore") to the blindingly obvious ("Use insect repellent") to the stunningly, blindingly, in case you just arrived from Alpha Centauri obvious ("If you see a bear while out hiking, do not feed or approach it"). Really? Not even if it's a cute cub out with its mama?

While it's not a bad idea to learn how to take a bee stinger out (although the words "venom sac" do give pause), it is truly a terrible idea to plan for an afternoon outside as if it's the invasion of Normandy.

Some of these tips almost guarantee you and/or your kids will cower inside all day with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare instead of heading out to enjoy the warm weather.

For instance:

"Avoid forests"

Swear to God, the list says to avoid God's gift. After all, you could get ticks.

"Soak in the sun...for five to 10 minutes a day."

If you go out for any longer than that unslathered in sunscreen, you might as well call Sloan-Kettering right now.

"Talk to the lifeguards"

That is, distract them from looking out for drowning folks while you grill them about "water conditions and the existence of dangerous currents."

"Don't dig too deep"

Because once, in 2012, a child smothered in a sand tunnel, you should worry about every hole your kids dig from now on.

And my favorite:

"Supervise children on playgrounds. Adults should always [boldface, mine] be nearby when children are on playgrounds. When kids are playing on the equipment, they can sometimes stumble or become off balance for a moment....If parents are nearby, they can catch the child before they fall and possibly injure themselves."

So put down that peach, stop talking to the other moms, and stand, arms outstretched, under the jungle gym. After all, your kid could "become off balance for a moment." No children have ever been known to survive that condition.

Be prepared.

And remember, have fun.