Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Attention Kids: Fun is now OUTLAWED

News of late has been this big thing about helmets for kids who toboggan. Yes, you read that right, kids who go down hills on plastic carpets/wooden sleds/garbage bags/snow racers/cafeteria trays/cardboard boxes or anything else that slides should be mandated to wear a helmet according to one city councillor in Vaughn.

My coworker and I have been laughing about this lately because this came up in one element of our jobs. We saw all the news coverage and have been finding most of it quite humourous.

You see, I used to be a tobogganist (thanks Andrew Coyne National Post) as a child and the worst you had happen to you was a few cuts or scrapes when you went off track and ended up hitting the fence around the pool beside the hill we went to. No scratch that, the worst that could happen to us was my mother getting angry should she discover that you were indeed going down the side of the hill that ends at the road and upon reaching top speed (not too difficult to do) you ended up in the middle of the road with cars approaching at high speeds. Not that my mother was a child abuser or anything, but it was preferable to have a punishment from her rather than a hit from a car.

But I digress.

This whole matter about requiring kids to wear helmets seems to be a bit out of hand. While I agree that helmets should be mandatory for kids riding bikes, snowboarding, playing hockey, playing any type of sport where head injuries can happen for that matter, and for jumping off of a ski jump and flipping through the air, I do not think helmets should be mandatory for the kids on the hill going down on a magic carpet. I think the worst thing that happened to me as a child enjoying the fun of tobogganing was frost bite on my face. And the aforementioned grounding for ending up in the street.

Really, if we do this? What's next?

No, the best answer to this whole thing is found in Mr. Coyne's article in today's paper. In which he states: "But a sane approach to life understands that some risks are inevitable, and that if there is anything worse than death it is to spend every waking moment consumed with the potential for mischance. Accidents will happen, our parents used to say, as they pushed us out the door to ride our bikes unchaperoned or play shinny till dark. Were they child abusers?" Lock the kids in the basement then, because it's unsafe for man or tobogganist.

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