When Is A Christmas Tree PERFECTLY Safe?

Here’s when. I thought this article was a joke. Then I thought the tree was. Then I remembered: We are living in 2009.

This cone-tree, erected in a public square, has no pine needles to poke an eye out, no branches to clobber anyone, no feature at all to remind us that trees — and people — live in the real world. And maybe come spring  the town will erect a shoe box representing that other great threat to humanity:  the Easter Bunny. — Lenore

CBS Gets It! One Reporter Reforms Her Helicopter Ways!

Wow!! Thank you, CBS Early Show, reporter Kelly Wallace, and producer Joe Long, for this fantastic piece on the end o’ the line for helicopter parents! It even features The Simpsons! (Homer and Bart, that is, not Jessica and Ashlee.) Voila!


A Couple in their 70s Wave at A Kid…And In Swoop the Cops

Hi Readers — Acting like decent, warm-hearted human beings again? Please. Won’t you ever learn? Take a lesson from this story:

A Canadian couple in their 70s were out running errands. Saw a boy on his bike. Waved.

Later, they parked the car to run those errands. Cops arrived — a slew of  them — and hauled them in for questioning.  The charge? Attempted abduction.

Husband and wife were separated, questioned, the husband was searched.  In the end,  “We were satisfied no abduction took place,” said the police.

I think that depends if you mean abduction of a child or abduction of two law-abiding senior citizens crazy enough to wave at a kid. — Lenore

CBS Early Show Friday Morning: The Case Against Overparenting!

Hi Folks! It’s time for more mainstream media examining the idea that maybe our kids don’t need quite as much hovering as the mainstream media had been recommending. The segment will air sometime after 8 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. So if you’re not waiting in line at Toys R Us, tune in! (Or sleep in! I’m sure we’ll find a copy of it somewhere.) — Lenore

What’s Life Like Without the Constant Fear of Predators? Ask Oprah!

Oprah visits  “the happiest people in the world” and finds out.
Guess where their kids nap? (First two minutes of 8 minute vid.)

And meantime: HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Give thanks we live in a time when kids are safer than ever before…even if it’s hard to convince anyone of this fact. — Lenore

Pathetic Plea for Tech Help

Hi. So. Anyone out there who has both cable and TiVO who can figure out how to tape the re-broadcast of the Campbell Brown show on CNN that I was just on and maybe even send me a link, or post it on YouTube, if that is not hidesouly illegal? The show re-airs at 4 a.m. Eastern Time. And if this the FCC reading this, just kidding!

CNN, Tonight. Me.

Hi Folks! I’ll be on CNN tonight at about 8:30 Eastern Time discussing “overparenting.” I feel a little bad for helicopter parents because overnight they’ve been knocked off their perch, even after it was society that hounded them into doing and buying and fretting in the first place.  That darn pop culture! So hard to pin down.  — L.

North Pole Back In Business

Hi Readers — Here’s a happy holiday gift: Santa sanity from the child-overprotecting world. You may recall last week’s story about  the closing of the North Pole Santa effort for fear of pedophiles mailing themselves to unsuspecting tots. (Or whatever the exact, irrational  “rationale” was.) Enjoy this well-written post about how it all turned out, from the blog  Strollerderby. — Lenore

Kids Need Dirt. For Real! For their HEALTH!

Hi Readers — A bunch of you have been digging (har har) this story about how much protection our kids get from DIRT. This explains my philosophy of housekeeping!

Er…I mean: This explains my philosophy of childrearing. Anyway, here’s a bit of the article, by Murrray Wardrop,  in The Telegraph. (For some reason this story got more play in Britain than the U.S.):

Scientists have discovered that bacteria on the surface of the skin play an important role in combating inflammation when we get hurt.

The bugs dampen down overactive immune responses, which can lead to rashes or cause cuts and bruises to become swollen and painful.

The findings support previous research which suggests that exposure to germs during early childhood can prime the immune system to prevent allergies.

The so-called “hygiene hypothesis” has previously been used to explain why increasing numbers of children suffer allergies such as eczema and hay fever in more developed countries.

Parenting groups yesterday welcomed the findings as “a vindication of common sense” and urged parents to allow their children greater freedom to play outdoors.

Experts at the University of California at San Diego made the discovery by studying mice and human cells cultured in their laboratory.

The team, led by dermatologist Professor Richard Gallo, found that common bacteria called staphylococci, can reduce inflammation after injury, when they are present on the skin’s surface.

Prof Gallo said: “These germs are actually good for us.”

Of course, most Free-Rangers and other sensible folk suspected this all along. (And my book discusses it, too, in the chapter, “Germs, Anti-Germs & Shopping Cart Liners.”) But it’s nice when a new study comes along and explains WHY dirt and kids go so well together.

And why I’ve decided to sit here and blog rather than get out the mop. — Lenore

13-Year-Old Boy Survives 11Days on New York Subway

This is a very weird story, but it does prove one thing I’ve been saying for a while: Kids are not snatched willy-nilly from the New York City subways.

On the other hand, they’re not noticed for days and days either.

Hmmm. — Lenore