Friday, January 14, 2011

Public Service Announcement - For The Safety Of The Children

I'm fully aware that today's style of parenting is quite different from how it was "way back" {eye roll} in our day. I know, parents try to give children more "freedom" and less discipline than we did, but if we're going to call a spade a spade, sometimes this "freedom" is just an excuse for parents to shirk the responsibility of watching their children every moment and under some circumstances, it can lead to great danger.
I witnessed something very disturbing at a bris this week. During the speeches and the subsequent benching, many of the children were running/crawling around unattended (forget the fact that I actually had to lift a (one year old?) tyke out of a mud soaked puddle that somebody's boots had tracked in and hold her up for claiming by her mother who was deep in conversation with a friend and had no idea (or care) that her child was at the other end of the hall). What frightened me enough to warrant this post was that most of these children were congregating around the coffee and tea table. There were lots of sugar packets and spoons to play with. Unfortunately, there was also one of those old fashioned coffee urns - the kind with HOT SIDES and absolutely no safety on the spigot - perched precariously at the edge of this table. And NOBODY SEEMED TO CARE OR NOTICE.
Boruch Hashem, nobody got hurt, but that was an accident just WAITING to happen. Burns from hot water urns are no laughing matter. Parents need to SUPERVISE their children at simchas where child safety is not the caterer's main priority. If it's too difficult to do this - hire a babysitter and keep the child home. Who is getting anything out of a child's presence at such a simcha? Certainly not the child! But whatever you choose, please know where your children are at all times and remove them from unsafe environments, EVEN IF YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF BENTCHING. I'm sure Hashem will understand.......


Staying Afloat said...

THANK YOU. We often just don't go places when I know I won't be able to watch my kids well enough.

The day of my brother-in-law's wedding, there was a buffet lunch in the kallah's house that was really crowded, My oldest daughter S., then age nine and pretty responsible, was walking by the drink table when someone who had just filled a cup from the hot water urn turned around and bumped into her.

The water from the cup splashed onto her shoulder and upper chest, through her shirt. You could hear her screaming all through the house. She ended up in an urgent care center with first and second degree burns that were already blistering and peeling, and a thick bandage that almost wouldn't let her wear her gown. It took over a month to finish healing.

So again, thank you, and an additional reminder to have urns at the back of tables and counters with no exposed cords.

Yekke Wannabe said...

The same applies to Shul with little children running around, I heard that Rav Breuer was very strict about kids shouldn't come to Shul until they know how to sit quietly.

ProfK said...

Thank you for this. The question of children running hefker aside, the hot water urn situation is not a joke, neither at simchas nor in our own homes. ALL urn accidents are preventable if people would only use some common sense.

I once returned a four-year-old who was running wild at a simcha to his mom, explaining that he was going to get hurt or in trouble. Her answer? "My son is a very responsible person." Right, responsible and 4-year-old in the same sentence.

Yehudah said...

Talking about old-school parenting, I thought you might enjoy this (if you haven't already seen it):

G6 said...

Yehuda -
I had read it, thank you.
While I am not arguing that this form of parenting may be extreme, I will say that there are some points worth considering for Western parents, such as the value of aiming for excellence, instilling an appropriate work ethic and requiring more than lip service to Kibbud Av V'em.
But then one could argue that Chinese parents are themselves willing (and able) to put more work into parenting than today's Western parents.

Mystery Woman said...

The lady at the hot water urn making sure kids don't come near...that's me. But I wish those kids' parents would do the job for me.

wolfman said...

i think there is a LOT more smothering today than in the past and that parents allowing a little freedom to their children are more likely doing just that and giving them some reign rather than "shirking their responsibility". Really, now, what a jaundiced eye you must have if when discovering this hazzard, which I'm sure is no worse than the hazzards we allfaced growing up ( car beds, metal sharp edged toys etc), your first conclusion is that there must be bad parents around. Come on. Do parents have to bring their own outlet covers and cabinet closures to every public event to avoid being labelled irresponsible and lazy and to be accused of shirking their duty? Of course the caterer or baal simcha should take care that the urn not be in a precarious or dangerous place but let kids be kids

G6 said...

Wolfman -
There is nothing "Jaundiced" about the view that the PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY for a child rests with the PARENTS.
While I agree with you that the situation itself was unsafe, I also must tell you that I witnessed parents blatantly NOT supervising their children.
I'm sorry that you felt the need to respond in such a snide manner about such a serious topic. Nowhere did I mention outlet covers or cabinet locks. Rather a little good old fashioned parental attention and responsibility. I'm sorry if I may have hit a nerve.

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear G6!
Faith in the KBH and belief in hashgacha pratis are wonderful, admirable things, but Venishmarten Meod Lenafshosechem is as much a mitzvas asseh as Shamor es yom hashabbos. The lackadiasical attitude that so many otherwise frum people have towards safety in general and children's safety in particular boggles the mind. Why should the KBH keep you safe if you don't bother taking precautions yourself? Ein somchin al hanes.

There is something about being with other adults that switches off many people's "parent mode". The minute there is another adult on the premises they surrender all parental responsibility under the gleeful impression that the other adults will magically keep an eye on their little ones and they themselves can kick back and relax.

wolfman, bringing outlet covers to a simcha would not be necessary if parents would do what they should be doing, which is keeping their eyes on their children at all times. If you can't or aren't willing do this, DON'T BRING THE KIDS TO THE SIMCHA. Poshut. Reward some teen's entrepreneurial spirit and hire a sitter, or else stay home.