previous entry :: next entry

the hazzard of living

A friend came over my house this week and was completely aghast that I was letting Harvey play with some soy crayon rocks: non-toxic drawing tools about the size of a cherry and twice as long. So fearful for the life of my child was she that she contacted the manufacture and forwarded me the email, prefacing it with:

I felt I really needed to check out those rock crayons.  Even if they are non-poisonous, to my eye they looked like a choking hazard. I emailed the manufacturer and asked.  They say these crayons are for ages 3 and up.

That's funny, because I've met some 3 year olds and they don't need easy-to-hold won't-break-apart-in-your-mouth crayon substitutes. They just play with crayons.

Lenore Skenazy says it better in her book, but here's my quick take on the hazards of childhood.

Every year the number of children who chokes to death is in the hundreds. For the year 2000 it was 160 children ages 14 years or younger. I'm too lazy to find a more recent stat the doesn't float to the top of Google, but you get the idea.

The number of children in the US that year was 7.24 million. That puts the risk of your child dying "from an obstruction of the respiratory tract due to inhaled or ingested foreign bodies" at... wait, let me open up microsoft excel... at about one in 45 thousand. On the other hand, Harvey's lifetime risk of dying in a car accident is about 1 in 84.

But what can I do??? I have to get him to baby gymnastics!!!

There is a chance the Harvey could die from many things at many moments. Heck, the same is true for me or Dan or any of us - this life is a terminal condition after all, and none of us gets out alive.

Look, we keep the poisonous cleaners locked under our sink, we use car seats, and there's a gate at the top of the stairs. But we let Harvey play with dogs, sticks, Duplo legos (for ages 1.5 and up) and yes, crayon rocks. Because he's a little boy and what else is he going to friggin play with??? No really, because statistically, we're not likely to alter Harvey's risk profile very much by the sort of constant worrying that shuns inch-long crayons.

And there's another risk of fretting over crayons and hand sanitizer and strangers. We could very likely raise a child who views the world as a dangerous place, who fears people, fears change, fears new experiences. A child not very able to cope with life.

And life's too short for that. I'd rather let my one-year-old draw.

previous entry :: next entry