Do you bubble-wrap your children?

>> Friday, 10 February 2012

Well, do you?

I'm asking because, whilst I try not to, sometimes I wonder if I should. A couple of weekends ago Boy #1 had a nasty accident on a sledging hill. He was knocked into the path of an oncoming sledge and ended up with a deep cut that needed 5 stitches, just above one eye. And when I say 'just above one eye' I mean, just above one eye. As it was, he's just been left with a scar and a story and no lasting damage, but a centimeter further south and he might have lost his eye. It doesn't bear thinking about.

But that's just it.

Should I think about it?

Accidents like this happen to kids all the time. They're part of growing up, those broken bones and scars, aren't they? And yet, if the worst had happened, how could I live with myself that I hadn't made him wear some kind of a helmet?

It seems molly-coddling in the extreme of course, to suggest that an 8 year old boy should wear a helmet when he goes sledging, and yet it was icy - which I knew - and we live in Russia where emergency care, whilst excellent in this instance, is not as easily obtainable as back in the UK - which I also knew. So was I being neglectful by allowing him to be out there without wearing a helmet which, for all I know, may have made no difference in this instance?

Or was I simply allowing him to be an 8 year old boy and do the things that 8 year boys do, picking up the injuries that 8 year old boys acquire in the process?

In my saner moments, I know it's the latter. But sometimes, I still wonder; should I bubble wrap my children?


MsCaroline 10 February 2012 at 07:00  

No bubble wrap here, but there were many times I would have liked to! Sounds to me like you're striking a good balance, although I have to say it doesn't get any easier as they get older...wait until they start driving.

dulwich divorcee 10 February 2012 at 12:28  

Even if he'd been wearing a helmet, he still would have got the cut, no? So difficult, isn't it? I hate watching mine doing anything the least bit risky, but luckily they are total couch potatoes and only (occasionally) in danger of falling off the sofa. Where do they get it from? x

Iota 10 February 2012 at 13:39  

I have to sign a form at the beginning of every sports season to say I have read the attached list of symptoms of concussion, and understand the risks. That really makes you want to wrap them in bubble wrap. Almost everything is a symptom, including "acting unusually".

I don't know the answer. Common sense seems to have been replaced by anxiety, in a parent's world.

The time my child had his worst injury so far (broken collar bone from falling off bike), I was trying so hard not to be over-protective that I think I made some wrong decisions (fuelled by the gung-ho outdoorsy parents we were with, who were giving us the vibe the whole time that we were totally wimpy and had become Americanised and far too careful). But he used to be very daredevil, and is now a little more sensible, so was it actually a good learning experience? Better a broken collar bone age 9 than ... (fill in the missing words). I dunno.

nappy valley girl 10 February 2012 at 14:23  

As someone whose son had his second trip in under a year to the ER yesterday, and currently has a staple in his head, I can safely say my kids are definitely not bubble-wrapped....

(Having said that, since moving to the US I do make them wear helmets to ride their scooters - something nobody did in London. Everyone here does, and looks askance at you if your child is un-helmeted.)

Potty Mummy 10 February 2012 at 16:56  

MsC, well obviously MY sons will NEVER be allowed to drive... (cue hollow laugh)

DD, it's likely he would still have got the cut yes, but who knows? Just one more thing to beat myself up about, I guess!

Iota, there's no easy answer. All I know is that if it had been worse, I'm not sure I would have been able to forgive myself. Thank god it didn't come to that.

NVG, you're right; far more helmeted scooter riders amongst North Americans than amongst the British expats here. It's such a fine line...

Sarah@Mum's gone 2 Aus 11 February 2012 at 10:28  

We're in Australia and our kids wear helmets whenever they're on wheels - scooter, bike, skate boards etc. When they first started at the skate park we also enforced knee and elbow pads. But once they've got their gear on we let them take risks...go down the highest hill, try a new ramp etc. If they think they can do it I let them go and close my eyes - we've had a few nasty accidents but no broken bones (yet)!

Chantal Marie Bourgonje 13 February 2012 at 08:43  

please don't bubble wrap children! We were not bubble wrapped and did alright. Yes, I had my arm broken once, have big scar on my knee and my hand from playing as a kid. But hey, guess whatJ: it all heals! That is the nice thing about our bodies and modern medicine.
It is so sad how many wonderful sensations, like the wind through your hair when cycling, sledging etc. kids now a days miss out on. And when you listen to some teenagers today, a lot of them seem so worried and scared about things and experiencing things. What a shame!
So pleased to read you did not bubble wrap your boy!!! And hope his wound healed well.

Muddling Along 14 February 2012 at 15:25  

It's a really difficult balance - we try and not bubble-wrap ours but there are times when you can see danger around every corner

Most of the time they are fine and it is a tiny chance of something bad, trouble is when something bad happens it is 100% for you then and there

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