Child Safety – They Call Me Baby Speed Bump

The government can’t solve all of our problems. If it could, the guy who served me a cold hamburger for lunch would be facing hard time. I mean, after all, it’s not like his oversight is a first offense. He’s served other unsuspecting patrons the same greasy, undercooked lump of cow, and should have to pay with his spatula.

There are some things our state governments should tackle, and one of those is the protection of our children. Hey, I don’t like kids either, but they do grow up eventually, and they make lousy speed bumps, so I think our legislators ought to address this problem. Little kids, I mean the ones under say twelve, shouldn’t be allowed to ride motorcycles.

Yes, I can just hear it. Its like the jokes circulating the Internet where manufacturers advise us we should keep their knives out of children or that using their electric hair dryers in the shower is not a good idea. To most of us, these words of wisdom seem so obvious that we are amazed that anyone would feel it necessary to tell us. But, while there is a limit to human intelligence, human stupidity is boundless. Here is a case in point.

I have a client who hired me to file an emergency petition to keep her former husband from transporting their 3-year-old, 32 pound kid on the back of his Harley. Fortunately, the judge made the right decision, and for the time being, Daddy has to pick the kid up in his truck. But the Welfare department and the police felt helpless to intervene against this behavior because it is not illegal. It’s not???? you might be saying. That’s what I said, and I’m a lawyer. It is true. You can’t drive your kids around in a car, van, or truck without appropriate safety restraints unless you want a ticket. It is, however, perfectly legal in all states for a little kid to be placed on the back of a motorcycle and only be protected by Daddy’s driving ability and the strength of his grip on Daddy’s shirt.

The fact that Junior could fly off the bike if Daddy were to hit one of our many potholes or suddenly have to brake because of traffic conditions has no bearing on whether Daddy is guilty of neglecting his duty. I guess if the kid lets go or loses his grip, its his tough break. After all, it was on his watch, and he sure as heck will know better next time, if there is a next time.

The paramedics who scrape his little body off the road, and the coroner who has to verify the cause of death have no gripe. If the little idiot had just held on like Daddy told him to, he’d possibly still be with us. But, who cares? Dead kids make great news copy.

Maybe I’m being old fashioned. After all, I am a lady of a certain age, and while that age isn’t anything I care to advertise, when I was growing up, my parents had the strange notion that they were supposed to protect me. They didn’t let me do harmless things like roller skate on Highway 52 or take rides home from school with strangers. Neither of them drove a motorcycle, so maybe I’m missing the point.

I ask you, parents of the world, am I wrong? Is there an excellent reason for a little kid to ride on the back of a “hog” that I don’t understand? Would we be denying our youth a right as important as, say, their education if we outlawed this behavior? Would our nursery school students stage a protest in Washington if this exciting and fun form of transportation was universally outlawed for them? What do you think? Tell me. Better yet, check your state laws and tell your legislature if your kids aren’t protected from such stupidity before some unsuspecting toddler is killed or permanently injured.

Copyright (c) 2010 Lucille Uttermohlen

Child Development and Chores

Chores don’t have to be dreadful. Parents can make them fun, foster child development, and boost their child’s self esteem. A child starts to develop their self-image very early in life. The more you set them up for success, the higher opinion they will have of themselves. Teaching them that responsibility can be a fun and rewarding experience is a lesson that can stick with them for the rest of their lives.

The most important thing about teaching a child how to do chores is making sure that they have fun and that the task is not too hard or frustrating. You want them to have a lot of success so that you can lavishly praise them for completing each task. Remember to also praise the effort, even if they are unsuccessful. Teaching them to be proud of the work that they’re doing will help them to understand that everything isn’t always easy, but you can still try.

Work fine motor development activities into your child’s everyday life. Fine motor skills are necessary for children to be able to write, draw, tie shoes, pull zippers, and much, much more. Many parents forget to spend some time each day focusing on fine motor skills, mainly because we don’t want to give our small children choking hazards. Supervise your child in accomplishing tasks with tiny objects. It could be something as simple as helping you clean up the cereal that spilled or making sure that they manipulate smaller knobs and buttons on your activity table. Trying to pick up tiny objects, coloring and stringing beads are all great fine motor skill activities. Work it into the day by letting your child mark things off of a “to do” list, coloring the items you’re looking for on your grocery list, or adding ingredients to your bowl.

Gross motor skills involve the larger muscle groups. Your child needs to develop their muscles to achieve the balance needed for walking, running, climbing and jumping. Make sure that your child is safe at all times. Let them help you clean up large toys or pull towels out of your laundry pile. Build a staircase up to the bed for them to climb. Just use pillows, blankets and other household items. Let your child jump in your lap. If they are capable, they can help you put away pots and pans from the dishwasher. Figure out ways for your child to incorporate gross motor skills into their playtime and chore time.

Your child’s physical heath and development depend on you making sure that they get plenty of practice with these skills daily. The best way to be proactive and make sure that they are practicing their skills every day is to let them help you out around the house. You will be helping their cognitive, social and language skills by explaining to them what you are doing and why. Spending this kind of quality time with your child will be a rewarding experience for both of you.

When you are not hands-on playing with your child, make sure that they have plenty of learning toys around. Preschool toys that can help them include things like a mini play cube, an activity table, and various day care toys designed to foster development. Building their physical, social and emotional skills now will benefit them for their entire lives.