Accidents Happen

By Veronica

One day when I was pregnant and feeling helpless, I told my husband that I was glad that he was here to protect the kids. He said, “Thanks, but I can only protect them from so much. I’m not much good against meteors, for instance.”

I laughed, and thereupon absolved him from any meteor-repelling responsibilities.

I carry in my head a collection of statistics, anecdotes, warnings and news reports, each about the death or injury of a child. What might cause cancer, what might fall, who might be out to get her – the mental notes play through my day like the updates running on the bottom of the CNN screen. Is that cupboard locked? Is that buckle buckled? Is that hot enough to burn?

In an effort to keep my children safe, I have bought car seats and childproof locks and outlet covers. The baseline for acceptable risk for children keeps getting more and more conservative. And while our society’s precautions have undoubtedly saved lives, I find myself wondering, do we really believe that we can make a world in which children do not get injured?

I see the news articles about children’s injuries or even deaths and I am shocked at how often commenters rush to blame the parents. The rage seems built on an idea with dangerous implications: the idea that we can make the world completely safe.

While we certainly have the responsibility to reasonably protect our children from danger, a perfectly harmless world is not an attainable goal. As long as we walk on two legs, sometimes we will stumble. As long as there are staircases, someone will fall down them. As long as there are cars, there will be car accidents.

I do not fear a meteor hurtling from the sky to crush my wee babes. But other random events, just as unforeseen, do happen. When they happen to other parents, a silent belief that a good mother would never let that happen robs us of the compassion we should show.

And that is something we can control.

8 Responses to Accidents Happen
  1. Heather Baskin
    March 24, 2009 | 6:31 am

    As a new mom of a week-old infant, this is exactly what I needed to read today. Suddenly the world which I couldn’t wait to share with my daughter, presented so many dangers. Your post helps me relax. Thanks!

  2. edj
    March 24, 2009 | 8:40 am

    YES! I totally agree. Ironically, our children are safer than ever, at least in developed countries, with access to clean drinking water and vitamin-enriched flour so basic that it’s taken for granted; where you can assume a driver will stop for a red light. I think our hypersensitivity is in part a response to that. Our grandparents and great-grandparents expected to lose children to influenza viruses and childbirth. I don’t belittle their losses; I’m sure they were every bit as painful. But because we no longer have to expect it, I think we fear it even more. And event like 9/11 have shown us what was always true–we can’t control the world. I think blaming the victim is a way of distancing ourselves as well–somehow she did something to deserve that, ergo it won’t happen to me since I’m not doing that. I find myself doing this when children turn violent. I read about their family lives; okay I don’t do that, so this won’t happen to me, etc.
    Great post!

  3. candace
    March 24, 2009 | 12:50 pm

    I often fear and overwhelmed by that if something would happen to my son….The world we live in is so big and has so many dangerous things for little ones. I have relaxed some in three years but every now and then my mind will wonder.

  4. Jennifer
    April 10, 2009 | 1:06 pm

    Thanks- your post makes me feel better after my toddler took a tumble head first onto concrete the other day. I was just a few steps too far away and watched it all in slow motion. He’s fine but scared me half to death.

  5. […] Maybe she will never reach fifty. Many people don’t. Although we all have dreams for our children, tragedies happen.  These difficult choices we make in her name to give her a healthy future could be wiped away in one car crash or one unexpected disease. Accidents do happen. […]

  6. cartas de amor
    March 30, 2012 | 1:45 pm

    …. [Trackback]…….

    […]I saw this really nice post today 1. Get more info here.[…]…

  7. animated backgrounds
    April 6, 2012 | 6:21 am

    … [Trackback]…

    […] Informations on that Topic: […]…

  8. Para Ma
    April 14, 2012 | 11:01 am

    Sites we Like……

    […] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose […]……

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL