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Archive for August 19th, 2006

And paranoia:

Furedi, the British author, points to the ban on small plastic prizes from children’s snacks. “There is no evidence that any child has ever choked to death (on a prize) – but the theoretical possibility that one just might do so one day is undeniable, and that is enough to justify a ban.”

Stearns points to the alleged dangers of Halloween: the idea that within each plastic pumpkin lurks a chocolate bar injected with straight pins or razor blades.

“As far as we can determine, this never happened. But it changed the whole pattern of Halloween.”

Police departments and hospitals now screen kids’ candy; parents tag along for the night.

“Boy, if my parents had come along with me, I would have been furious,” says Stearns. What’s becoming troubling to more folks watching as the years go by: Hand-wringing parents no longer make kids roll their eyes. More kids have come to believe they need the protection. They feel inferior to the task of growing up, of making their own decisions, of trusting their own common sense.

Of ending up victims like those little kids on TV.

Actual odds of dying

In the end, though, numbers don’t lie.

By all accounts, childhood is far less dangerous now than it once was, even back in those mythic, gentler times. In 1930, almost 11 percent of the population died before reaching age 20. For children born in 2000, that number will be 1.3 percent. (Most of those deaths: accidental injuries, and not, for the record, as a result of toys.)

But, as Stearns, the “Anxious Parents” author, says, “we’re addicted to stuff that makes us insecure.

“It’s like being mesmerized by a cobra.”        

This article is reprinted with the permission of the author, Nicole Neal, The Palm Beach Post.

Complete article ” How Dangerous is Childhood

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