Cautiously, Town Lets Ice Cream Trucks Back in — For 1 Month

Wow, folks. This just in. The very, very brave and hard to spell town of Niskayuna, New York is finally allowing ice cream trucks to cruise the streets again (for a month-long trial) after a 34-year hiatus. The trucks were banned for a year back in 1975 after a girl was struck and killed while running to a truck. The next year the town allowed the trucks back IF they played no music and didn’t try to attract kids by driving up and down the street. (Putting good ol’ ice cream telepathy to work, I guess.) They were allowed to park in private driveways, when invited.

Once again, a single, devastating incident — the girl’s death — demanded a “shut the barn door after the cows are out” solution: Ban something that’s normally safe,  but, had it been banned earlier, it would have prevented that one, unusual fatality. It’s the kind of thing that will eventually have us banning chairs, after someone dies falling off of one, and already seems to be happening to hotdogs. Anytime anything bad happens in conjunction with X — be X a merry-go-round, or hug, or recess — we assume that we were foolish  to allow X to happen at all. (Lawyers it “negligence.”)

AGREED — it makes sense to think about safety and take reasonable precautions. BUT — it does not make sense to slash away at that lovely thing called “life” every time something sad happens. — Lenore

Not exactly a hideous menace.

71 Responses

  1. Life causes death. Therefore, we must ban life – for the children, of course.

  2. We have an ice cream van in my town. I even let my son take out his braces, give him money and let him eat an ice cream between meals…! (Radical stuff, huh!)

  3. I’m with Mike. Let’s not forget cellphones (texting or talking while driving or walking have caused more injuries and deaths than someone getting hit by an ice cream truck), cars in general, planes, boats, bicycles, dumb parents who make risky moves when their children are with them (ie. baby in one hand, toddler in the other with bags under the arms and cellphone pinned between her ear and shoulder…yes, I’ve seen this) while j-walking across a busy street, pools, lakes, trees, animals, and the list goes on. I think most get the point of how ridiculous people are who make up these bans.

    Although they mean well, some decisions are illogical and really have no benefits. Again, these are brought about not by rational thinking, but by fear. Plain and simple. The what IF (that’s a big IF) syndrome.

  4. There are tons of lawyer jokes yet we take them serious enough to guide our lives.

    Now I’m off for a nice big bowl of ice cream, I like to mix carrot cake into it since it already is moist and sweet so it blends nicely.

  5. I live in Niskayuna! In fact, I’ve spent the day mentally composing a letter to the editor in response to an infuriating letter that some curmudgeon wrote to the (other) local paper. If anyone has any good ice cream truck statistics, I’d love to hear them.

    My sister told me that I should commission some t-shirts that say “I love Mr. Ding-a-Ling”.

  6. We have several ice-cream trucks in our neighborhood. They seem to come in clusters and then be gone for awhile. One plays “Turkey in the Straw” and another plays the highly inappropriate “La Cucaracha.” But I digress… I love it, even though it’s over-priced and bad for me. Sometimes we get our own ice-cream treats from the freezer when we hear the truck coming, other times we splurge and get the “Sponge-Bob Squarepants” bar with gum ball eyeballs (a choking hazard!)… kids have so few of those kinds of “kid memories” that are pretty much the same as their parents’ “kid memories.” I’m glad to live in a town with several ice-cream trucks.😉

  7. We had a truck come down the street twice in two days😄

    Seriously, everybody should move here. Kids being outside and doing things that are deemed unsafe by paranoid people is the norm here (Heck, when it cools down some, there is usually street hockey at leaset once a week until it gets unbearably hot out)

  8. Why did they only ban ice cream trucks? Shouldn’t they have banned all motor vehicles?

  9. MikeOnBike — or at least any vehicles that make kids happy and excited and possibly incautious, like grandma’s car or Daddy when he gets home. Because obviously, the problem here is that you had a child being excited about something involving a vehicle that was the problem, not that the child or driver wasn’t alert enough.

  10. Niskayuna is hard to spell? Guess it’s a good thing you didn’t grow in in nearby Schenectady like I did😉. Every other place name in that area is hard to spell, between the Dutch and Native American influences.

    Anyhoo, back to ice cream trucks. I REALLY don’t like them and wish they weren’t around but not for safety reasons. The music sure is annoying for starters. If they sold quality ice cream items I might be less annoyed by them, but most of what they sell is frozen cr*p and candy of the lowest possible quality. We already have a 7-Eleven convenience store right around the corner tempting the kids daily with NAFLD-inducing garbage – we don’t need peddlers trolling past our kids as well.

    The ice cream vans show up often in my Southern Cal suburban neighborhood all year long, usually just before our dinnertime. Buying ice creams treats isn’t the budget issue for me that it was for my parents, but I also tell my child NO every single time.

    However, sometimes he’s down the street playing when the truck comes and neighbors can’t say no to their whining kids, so they also treat my child to an ice cream, which torpedoes his appetite for dinner. I realize that is an issue with my neighbor, not with the peddler, but ice cream trucks to me are the same as door-to-door salespeople – intrusive and not conducive to neighborhood peace.

    I know that sounds like such a kill-joy attitude. Believe me, the kids in my neighborhood are hardly deprived of their share of junk food and wouldn’t miss the ice cream truck if it didn’t show up. I sometimes serve homemade ice cream for him and his pals after swimming or sleepovers. We have fresh watermelon, frozen grapes, homemade smoothies, and his favorite homemade popsicles on many a warm summer afternoon, so I seriously doubt his childhood is “spoiled” because I say NO WAY every time the ice cream truck tinkles by.

  11. Pretty much with Anna here. I remember them fondly from childhood, although I rarely got to purchase an ice cream truck treat. As an adult, a parent/grandparent, they irritate the hell out of me. The music drives me nuts, most of the drivers in our area seem to dislike kids and are just desperate for a job, and they do come around dinner time!

    That being said, banning them as a safety concern is, I agree, ridiculous. Banning them as a health concern (the frozen crap aspect) makes much more sense!😉

    On a side but sort of related note, specifically food, has anyone watched Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and seen the 1st graders that can’t identify a single vegetable? I recently met a woman who runs a small subscription organic farm on the east side of the state (Michigan) who told me of taking her new neighbor, with 3 kids, a bag of fresh green beans from the garden. The new neighbor said, “Thanks! Now, what do I do with these? I’ve never had them before.” This was not kholrabi, folks, this was green beans. Perhaps the vegetable truck should drive around playing fun music first, and we can send in the ice cream truck on Saturday afternoon.

  12. I don’t recall there being one when I was a kid, but my kids had the pleasure of buying from one occasionally. It does not come regularly, however. It comesin spring on Monday afternoon (early closing day for the elementary schools) only.

    I’m not generally overprotective, but when the ice cream truck comes around playing Silent Night, it kind of creeps me out.

  13. On Monday I heard an ice cream truck driving around, and realized what a horrible job it must be. Can you imagine having to listen to those tinny eight bars for hours at a time?

  14. How many children are injured or killed chasing after a school bus? We still allow them in our towns.

  15. I hear the ice cream truck every so often during the summer in my area, on my street in fact. As annoying as the music is, I still hear it calling to me, and I have to fight the urge to run out and grab a popsicle. Hey, I’m at least picking the cold treat that’s least bad for you. lol

    There were a couple of times where I did what the older generation did before me. Call out to a couple of kids running to the truck, and ask them to get me a popsicle (I was feeling lazy those days). In return, I gave them enough money to buy themselves something as well. Keep the change. I did keep an eye from my door…to make sure they didn’t scam me. lol

    Hmmm…I wonder if I should consider myself lucky for not having parents knock on my door for doing that.

  16. Anna: The ones here also has some crap, but they also sell some of the good stuff… For $5

    You can get a box with four of them for $8 something

  17. Oh course it’s the trucks fault. Let’s not admit that the child ran into the street, or that her parent’s might not have taught her to cross carefully. Let’s place the blame outside ourselves so we don’t feel bad. Please pass the ice cream sandwich.

  18. I wonder if it might have been my cousin’s child that got killed. Right general era, right general location. Not sure of all the details, though, because she’s never really been part of my life. Anyhoo, I do think it’s silly to ban them on either safety or health concerns. They are peddling ice cream, not liquid death. Like Lenore always says, you can’t control every aspect of your environment to make it 100% safe, and even if you could, who’d want to live like that?

  19. When we were in Missoula, MT last month there was an awesome ice cream truck actually. I heard they just got the truck this year, but it is all natural, handmade ice cream. I had Mexican chocolate, hubby had chai. Kid had some creepy kid flavor like bubblegum. Which I did love back in the day, but now? Ick.

    We had the ice cream on that day as the truck was at the park where we were playing, and the nice guy who was running the truck came over and asked if we’d like a free scoop. One of the medical centers had donated 100 free scoops, to be randomly handed out. Upon accepting the ice cream, we were given some stickers that read, “You have just experienced a random act of community”. Community medical center, where 2 days later I found myself getting emergency hernia repair a couple thousand miles away from home. Very nice people. Actually a lovely experience, bizarre as that may sound. And I got to cross one thing off my summer to-do list.

    Missoula freakin’ rocks, people!

  20. Yeah, let’s ban trees, too. They’re baby killers! And airplanes… Maybe we can go back to transatlantic ocean voyages. Oh, wait. Ships sink. Darn it, let’s just all stay home under the (organic, chemical-free cotton) covers.

  21. A friend of mine suggested on his FB page that if they have ice cream trucks for the kids couldn’t they have a frozen margarita truck for the grown ups? I’d be in favor of that.

  22. Ice Cream Trucks are a menace. We still have them in my city, along with those other implements, constantly enticing children to cross the road – swings. We have a set right in my neighbourhood and one day, mark my word, some kid is going to be lured out of her safe fenced-in yard and cross the street to play on them. God knows what could happen then.

  23. My husband and I call ice cream trucks “the sound of doom”. Not that I’m that worried about them from a safety perspective. I doubt more kids are killed by them then any other motorized vehicle. But I hate the pressure that my child puts on me for money when she see them. There is one that’s parked every afternoon when I pick her up from day camp. And another one that comes by our house in the evening. We really try to make treats treats and not the rule.

  24. We actually have a fresh meat salesmen that uses an old ice cream truck for deliveries in our small rural town, and I feel cheated every time it passes because apparently it won’t run without the music. Cheated and vaguely reminded of Larson’s Far Side with the liver mush truck.

  25. Ha! When I was 15 and playing soccer the coach told us if we could catch the Ice Cream man (who had quite a head start) he would buy, so all 16 of us ran through the neighborhood acting like crazy people. We caught him.

  26. I had to laugh at this🙂. It is so true, this cottonball world of ours. Maybe if we ban lawyers, we can live like normal human beings again. Now there is a risk worth taking……

  27. I walked into a tree when I was young. Ban trees.

  28. Then there’s my friend who, as a kid ,moved from a town with no ice cream trucks to a town WITH ice cream trucks. He asked his Dad–“What is that truck?” His Dad answered, “Why that’s a music truck son! It comes through the neighborhood every evening to play pretty songs for us!” It took several weeks before my friend burst into the house and shouted joyfully, “Guess what everybody! That music truck sells ice cream!!”

  29. How about a compromise? Have the truck play music or ring a loud bell when it’s not moving? You can avoid the accident of the type discussed and still attract the kids like an ice cream truck should.

  30. @bmj2k: I drove my tricycle off a ramp and into a wall when I was younger. Ban walls, ramps and tricycles too. I wonder how we’ll do without walls.

  31. @gramomster: You said: “And I got to cross one thing off my summer to-do list.” I wonder if that hernia was on your list, or if it was the ice cream…

  32. Hello from Niskayuna! Our city council meeting was full of folks saying that trucks filled with fat and sugar are going to be invading our streets. I wish they would give me credit for the ability to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to my kid, and the opportunity to make choices for my own family.

    To all those rolling their eyes at the small town with the ‘unpronouncable’ name, give us some credit. A suburb of Albany, in 1975, our town of 6000 responded to a tragedy. In 2010, we returned to the ideas of Free Range Kids. Live and learn.

    And, it’s Nih-ski-YOO-na, by the by. Just incase you were wondering.

  33. If they are so worried about kids getting hit by trucks, how about, you know a real crazy idea, WATCH YOUR DAMN KIDS! Or at least teach them to never run after cars/trucks/anything with wheels, even transit, you miss it too bad(coming from a woman who lives in a city where people routinely just dart across street, sometimes with strollers, my husband almost hit someone yesterday)

  34. Maybe it is a Canadian thing, but I never saw any ice-cream truck….we had ice-cream carts hooked in front of a bicycle pedaled by a local teenager. No music, just bells. Magical bells. Yummy, sweet, magical bells. The ice cream was and probably still is low quality but kids don’t care about that anyway. Anyway, think of all the current hot button issues this one could cover: no motor vehicle, check; low carbon footprint, check; getting those ne’er-do-well teenagers of the streets and earning money, check

  35. We had (still have?) a related situation in my home town, where the ice cream truck’s worth was question on account of the diesel pollution generated, and the potential health risk involved for kids playing in the park or on the sidewalk. I’m all for clean(er) air for everyone, and yes, I’ve smelled the diesel, and yes, any NEW ice cream trucks produced (in the U.S. or elsewhere) probably should have more efficient and cleaner engines. But banning the ice cream guy? That has its own negative impact. Fortunately, plenty of letters to the editor flowed into the local paper defending the trucks and their operators (one of whom maintains an incredibly clean truck, cleaner than my house by far). Sanity prevails, at least for now–and some parents acknowledge that, far from a “threat,” the ice cream man (or woman) is another set of eyes and ears overseeing the neighborhood.

  36. I grew up in Glenville — next door to Niskayuna… and would regularly ride my bike the 5+ miles to my best friend’s house in Niskayuna.

    SO…. now i know why i grew up thinking ice cream trucks were only something you saw at the shore!

    lucky for me, i now live at the shore…. and just this past weekend my son had his first ice cream truck experience. He’s still talking about the Scooby Doo ice cream!

  37. Ice cream trucks in the neighborhood are fine.

    I only wish – in today’s world of technology – they would play a variety of music scores …

    and not the same mind-numbing jingle,

    over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over … and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over….

  38. We have a Mr. Softee truck here in Beee-utiful Bayonne (NJ) that stays at one of our local, very active parks for most of the day. When he’s finished there he cruises some of the streets, and it’s not unusual for him to show up at 11:00pm. (My wife says he’s selling to the nocturnal Stephen King children.)

    When I was a kid it was the Good Humor man (the most humorless person you’d ever want to meet). These are, for kids, precious icons, and a town banning them because of a single accident galls me. The fact that they’re just barely dipping their toes into the water after so many wasted years makes me want to smack ’em with a Sno Cone.

  39. When I was a kid we didn’t have icecream trucks. We had teenagers riding these three-wheeled bikes with a HUGE dry ice cooler over the two front wheels.

    (like this: http://halifax.bizcaf.ca/cacheimgzoom/20100124/3d330f38fa821893268b81cfd7496eaf/52140/bizcaf.jpg )

    That cooler had to be a hundred pounds, but those kids hauled them up my street (one of the steepest hills in town (it has a grade warning for trucks!) every couple of days.

    They had a set of bells on the handle bars with 5 bells, and the teen jingled the bells when they were selling, or held them quiet when they weren’t.

    Emagine the benefits: Teens employed, and not loitering around! Teens CHOOSING to excersice (because they are paid for it). Teens interacting with children and adults in thier own neighbourhood. Teens handling money and making change!

    But now we have trucks. With recorded music. And a old guy driving it (though he is a very nice old guy, it just isn’t the same as the teen).

    I wonder why😦

  40. Ohmygawd, Jay! I forgot about those. I remember the box was a lot bigger and made of heavy grade aluminum. My cousin pushed one of those for a summer and decided to do better things.

  41. WAIT!!!! What’s happening to hot dogs!??

  42. hot dogs??! don’t you know those are a choking hazard?!! get with it, man… are you trying to kill the kids??

  43. I’m with Steve – I open the local paper every morning during the summer months dreading the inevitable headline (which hasn’t happened yet, to my amazement) “Beserk Nigerian Immigrant Kills 37 While Whistling “Greensleeves.” (Most of the ice cream truck drivers in Houston – pronounced HOU-sten, we don’t give a damn how y’all say it in NYC even tho Chief Big Drunk himself said HOW-sten – are from West Africa.)

    However, we do have a solution to the noise, rolling-hazard, and nutrition issues raised above: Mexican snow-cone vendors on trikes. Every neighborhood in Houston worth living in has those wonderful 2-wheels-in-front yellow trikes with a hard-working immigrant pedaling a cooler full of shaved ice and a dozen or so push-top syrup bottles. Much tastier and cheaper (and fun, ’cause they are made to order!) than the above-mentioned Square Bob (if I ate one of those, I would hope to somehow choke) things. The best ones have plastic bags of these wonderful and extremely nutritional wagon-wheel treats hanging from the sun shade. They are made from flour and fried with lots of salt so they are not only good for Dad, they go well with his beer.

  44. This is such hypocracy. It shows hollow. One accident we ban the ice cream truck. Cars kill everyday but we love our cars more than our children because adults find them convient. Adults don’t use the ice cream truck so we can come off all concerned but in fact we do away with the annoying bell. Makes you want to scream.

  45. First, I think communities grieve and support the families of victims differently. For some reason, this community felt the need to ban ice cream trucks. I’m guessing it was the result of pressure from the community OR just a reaction to the pure horror of what happened. It that were my child, I would probably be cursing the ice cream truck too. Right or wrong – I would.

    I don’t, necessarily, agree with such drastic measures. I do, however, see the danger in the trucks. When kids hear them, they do run, unsupervised directly into the pathway of unsuspecting drivers – probably a good percentage of the time. Granted, kids chase balls into streets and even right in front of my own house, my hubby and kids play lacrosse, street hockey, football (semi-urban street with not much yard) all the time. I do think, though, when you are deliberately in the street, there is always someone elected to yell “car!” – and, certainly, for the most part, kids and adults are more aware.

    With ice cream trucks, kids do not focus on what they are doing – ONLY see the ice cream truck and run accordingly. Is that dangerous? Yes. Do I think something should be done about that? Yes. Flashers – trucks not allowed to play music until parked – whatever.

    Now… I say this while fully allowing my kids their after-dark ghost in the graveyard time, running all over the place – across the street – through backyards, etc. – say it after years myself in gymnastics and many many “could have been worse” type injuries – I say it after letting my little ones play in the front yard, on a city sidewalk as cars do go by, BUT I stand by it. I DO have a problem with trucks blocks away, playing music, enticing kids to race off and run into the path of oncoming cars. Like I said – there should be protocols to avoid accidents.

    I said earlier that I let my preschoolers and kindergartner (and other grade schoolers) play next to the street unsupervised (kinda have to in the city). I do NOT, however, let them play next to the stop sign OR cross the street as I know some parents do. Often, I sit on the steps of my house, stopping whatever I need to do in the house, because I want to watch them and make sure they are safe. This sounds overprotective, I’m sure. We live in a quiet neighborhood, BUT – 80% of the time, people run our stop sign on purpose – often going 35 mph or more. We don’t get many cars, but… when we do, they don’t stop. Am I overprotective? I don’t think so. I trust my kids to look both ways – play safely, etc., but…. no one stops at the stop sign and… ONCE (yes, once), my cousin did cross in front of a car that she thought would stop at her stop sign, and it didn’t and hit her. Does that scare me to this day – many years later? Yes. Did I learn from it? Yes. Just sayin’…… This ice cream truck situation sounds similar.

    And – btw – my five year old did choke on a hot dog last year, but… he still eats them – on the bun – same as always. Do I give my two year old hot dogs that aren’t cut or sliced properly to avoid choking? No. Same thing. Have to decide what’s reasonable for different kids – for different communities.

  46. Oh – and in my community….. 30 some years ago, two kids were hit – one killed – one injured – both running to ice cream trucks – within a couple years of each other. That’s 2X too often in my opinion. Sounds like it might be a common problem, which means….. just MAYBE something needs to change.

  47. “it does not make sense to slash away at that lovely thing called “life” every time something sad happens”–really beautifully written

  48. Let’s just not have kids at all. Then nothing bad can ever happen to them, and we can live our lives free of worry.

  49. @sherri — i think what you’re proposing is actually a great idea, and solves *two* problems with one reasonable solution. Music only when stopped, and flashing lights. Safer for kids, easier for motorists to notice the truck and look for running kids… AND it will save us all from the beserk Nigerians Jim has warned us about. not to mention preserving the sanity of all non-Nigerian adults within hearing range as well!

    I doubt anyone disagrees with your post… it’s just that complete banning of the trucks seems a tad over-reactive. And, since I grew up there, I had to suffer the consequences of a childhood with no ice cream trucks. I’m damaged for life I’m sure

  50. Sherri,

    Two kids being tragically killed of out the countless milllions of kids buying stuff from ice cream trucks isn’t a “common problem”, it’s simply two horribly unfortunate incidents.

  51. @RobC – I think my point was that – if a number of us from very different communities can recount similar stories, it must happen more frequently than what is documented over a 30 year + span by stories like the one referenced. Semantics, btw. It is common, by definition. It is a problem, by definition.

    And @mvb – The reason the truck plays the music anyway is purely for sales and some quick point of purchase PR (i.e.gets the kids to run – gets the parents to pay). It is not to delight the children nor is it to feed them delicious treats – most aren’t that good anyway. And I never said to ban the trucks – wholeheartedly agree – definitely overkill – I clearly say that. I’m guessing from your attempts at sarcasm, however, (the Nigerians – very clever – though there is a big difference between tragedies that can be prevented with safety measures and those that are truly out of our reasonable hands, so to speak) that you do NOT think the lack of music or the flashers are good ideas despite your points to the contrary. Why so opposed to the flashers? Are you also opposed to signs that tell children not to dive into two feet of water when appropriate – or to reserve such activities for the deep end – Are bike helmets absurd as well? Overprotective and paranoid are VERY different than common sense and / or gentle rules meant to prevent accidents and / or educate people to be more careful. And…. are you serious about the childhood with no ice cream trucks damaging you for life? Are you? I really can’t tell. I lived part of my life in Europe, so… no ice cream trucks there either (though – let me disclaim that by saying – at least not in Luxembourg – before someone jumps on that for inaccuracy or semantics)….. I must be damaged for life too. Are you serious?!?! Quick tip: don’t attempt sarcasm to make a point earlier in your post then try it later when your point is ridiculous. It won’t work and will make you sound, at best, confused – at worst, ignorant.

    Why are some of you all so hostile, by the way? The mere suggestion that someone might disagree or have a slightly dis-similar take on a topic seems to drive a number of you mad. Frankly, too, some of you are being a bit flippant about a child being killed – maybe her parents didn’t teach her to cross the street correctly – maybe it was my cousin’s child. @RobC – maybe you’re right – maybe some of you shouldn’t have kids. Seems to be a misinterpretation of the original “free range” premise.

  52. This is the reason my mom wouldn’t let us go to the ice cream man when we were growing up. Seriously. I was always like, “Don’t you trust me to check for traffic before I go running out into the street after a musical truck?”

    Side note, I was talking with my dad today about the sex offender registry and he told me about a time when one of my sisters (who was 16 at the time) had sex with her 18 year-old boyfriend and my mom wanted my dad to press charges, but he refused because it takes 2 to tango and he wasn’t willing to ruin the kid’s life over it. This surprises me because we’re all VERY much “daddy’s girls” and I thought for sure he’d want to protect his little princess. The End.

  53. LOL at the hotdog comment. Yes, it sounds like the American way to me. It might be wise if we just consider stopping childhood in general. I think that’s what we are moving towards.

    Thanks for the post. I hope the kids enjoy the thrill of having ice cream delivered right to their street.

    Have a Nutty Buddy for me:)

  54. I was refereed here by a comment on my own recent blog entry. Not exactly the same subject, but pretty similar in theme – too much law stopping normal, healthy, people from getting on with life.

    I think you would like this TED video : http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/philip_howard.html

    As for me, I have had to go to school board meetings because they cancelled recess…in K-5 grades! Fortunately after that we managed to get a large enough petition together that it was reinstated the following year.

    I’ve also seen that the same kids are not allowed to touch each other during recess. Can you believe that – 6 year old boys that can’t actually touch each other during play time? The world has gone mad.

    Great post – keep it up.

  55. Clarification: Nobody on this board thinks a child being killed or injured under any circumstance is funny. It’s an uncomfortable subject and many people respond to it with gallows humor. Inappropriate? Perhaps, but living with people who engage in this behavior is part of the price of admission to the human race.

    Secondly, comments like “what if it had been your child” only serve to try and shut down discussion. Happily, that doesn’t seem to work here. The simple answer to that question is, “But it wasn’t.” That may sound unfeeling, but it’s another defense mechanism that’s part of the price of admission to the human race.

    Lastly — and I’m a guilty of this as anyone — too many of our discussions end up waxing poetic about “the good old days.” They weren’t as good as we choose to remember, although there are some bright spots that could work in today’s society. We need to integrate these good ideas into the present, rather than retreat into the past.

    Having said that, I’m going to mix some Ovaltine, put on my Roy Rogers pajamas, and watch “Leave It To Beaver.”

  56. I wish we had a rule that the ice cream truck could only play music when at a full and complete stop. Partly because I don’t really trust the kids not to bolt into the road, and partly because $2 Dora ice cream bars are expensive :p .

  57. @sherri – re no ice cream trucks in Luxembourg… but did you have the bakery truck? One of my fondest childhood memories is from visiting my grandmother (who lived in a small town outside of Trier), is when the bakery truck with hot fresh goodies would come down the street and ring the bell. YUMMMM!!!

  58. […] * A town that banned ice cream trucks for decades is finally lifting that ban, sorta. […]

  59. We have fish vans from a little fishing village on the coast nearby, selling fresh fish from the night’s catch. They drive up a street, park at the side of the road, and sound the horn really loudly to let everyone know they’re there. The other day I saw a ten-year-old with two toddlers in tow emerge from a nearby house at the sound of the horn and approach the van – obviously being sent to fetch something for dinner. Good on them!

  60. @Orielwen – Definitely – good for them! I would send my middle schooler with my wee ones (5,4,2) – no prob. Kids helping with dinner – running some errands – fantastic. Out on their own – walking the street – shopping. Fantastic – truly. The truck you describe would be a welcome addition to any neighborhood. In my opinion – a bit different than the ice cream truck that shows up randomly at inopportune times and serves sub-standard treats. I like how you describe the way they stop, honk the horn and wait for the shoppers to show up. You know…. maybe they don’t stop – beep as they arrive – still…. WAY different than the ice cream truck’s tactics.

    @Andy – I don’t think anyone has uttered the phrase “what if it had been your child” at all. I do think people have crossed the line in dismissive language, however. TOTALLY agree with you that the good ideas of the past need to be integrated with the present. the same activities now may require a different approach – “integrate” is the perfect word – great way to put that idea.

    @singlemom – I did not have the bakery truck – though remember very cool Trier well. We lived in a more urban area (Luxembourg City) – a bit outside the busy town proper actually – BUT we did walk to town often – on our own – to get bakery items and more. As you know, in Europe, a lot of kids do walk all over on their own, shop for the family, younger siblings in tow – no one bats an eye, right? As it should be.

  61. @sherri — sorry, but you completely misread / misinterpreted my post. i was actually agreeing with you, not being sarcastic.

  62. Sorry – I had just been jumped on via email (through my blog) by someone who recognized me here (a friend – all good, but… she did agree with you – though disagreed with me – i.e. turned your point to the contrary). I over-reacted – though did say I liked your very good points….. I redeem myself later … though not sure I give you the credit…. Anyway – on the same page – thanks, @mvb. NOW I am not confused my the intended wit🙂.

  63. I find these comments interesting because I live in Rotterdam, NY, a town in the same county which borders Niskayuna in places and which also banned ice cream trucks back around the same time Niskayuna did. However our town has not and is not comtemplating, at this point, lifting the ban. And I have to agree. Niskayuna has a lot of things Rotterdam doesn’t.- sidewalks and houseing developments. At this point in time it does make sense that Niskayuna lift theirr ban- the trucks are still banned on county roads, which cover their major heavy traffic steets. I just don’t see how having someone soliciting children to run to the roadside can be condoned here- yes there are places where it is perfectly safe but then there are places where it is not- it just seems like a total ban is easier than trying to piecemail where they can go and where they can’t. Some have said- well watch your kids. But isn’t FreeRange parenting promoting having kids get out in the neighborhood? My kids are 9 and14, there is a park at the end of our street and I let them go down there alone. My 9 yo has free range to ride and walk in the immediate neighborhood. How am I supposed to watch them around an ice cream truck if the truck comes along when they are in the park or riding around the block? I could see even the 9yo carrying some money with her “just in case”. It seems like some parents here either do not have older children or there is a serious gap in what people consider “Free Range”. My definition is that I try to allow my children the same kind of childhood I had, allowing for the difference between our larger, driver designed town vs the small village I grew up in which was pedestrian oriented. And which by the way, did not have ice cream trucks. I have wonderful childhood memories of being taken to the local soft serve by my parents or walking to the Stewarts( local convenience chain) on a “busy road” to get a cone.
    Also in NYS least a school bus is not analagous to an ice cream truck as it is against the law to pass a stopped school bus and directing children to safely cross is part of driver training. Somehow I’m thinking that the ice cream salesperson is going to be busy selling ice cream and are going to be more concerned with their bottom line than the safety of the kids. Call me cynical but I just don’t see it.
    So, while ice cream trucks might be feasible for some localities, Idon’t think it’s right to judge another localities decision on the issue without seeing how the situation works in person.

  64. Now that you mention it, we used to have an ice cream truck – in fact, I believe at one time we had 2 or 3 of them coming every day – but now we don’t. Which I am very glad about for several reasons. (1) I work at home with the windows open and I do NOT do well with sounds repeated over and over. (2) There are hardly any kids at home during the work day anyway. And they should be having supper and getting ready for bed in the evenings. (3) Kids today expect their parents to buy them the damn ice cream every time they see it. When I was a kid, the ice cream truck came and if we had any money saved from our allowance or chores, we ran out there and bought something. And if our pockets were empty, we watched the truck go by and then went about our business (playing hard in the backyard). With this arrangement, nobody was going to get fat or lose their teeth thanks to the ice cream truck. Now with my kids, I don’t cave to their every desire, but neither do I want to have to say “not today” to them twice a day as the loud, festive music fades in and out over the course of 20 minutes. Because the implication is that everyone else’s mom is buying her kids ice cream. I’m not sorry we don’t have to deal with this in our home. We deal with it enough when we are out & about.

    This reminds me of a childhood memory. The cheapest stuff on the ice cream truck used to cost a dime way back when. I had earned a dime and saved it for days in anticipation of the ice cream truck. Heard the music, went running out, tripped, dropped the dime in the backyard. I searched and searched and searched for that dang dime. Years later, I still couldn’t fight the temptation to search one more time. I went without ice cream that day. And I survived to adulthood with only minor scars. How often do we let kids today suck it up when stuff like that happens? (Assuming they have any responsibility at all when it comes to buying their own stuff.)

  65. “Somehow I’m thinking that the ice cream salesperson is going to be busy selling ice cream and are going to be more concerned with their bottom line than the safety of the kids.”

    It’s pretty expensive to get sued for hitting a kid, and going to jail for involuntary manslaughter REALLY hurts your ability to make money selling ice cream. So I don’t think the profit motive of the ice cream man makes his LESS careful about running kids down.

    And I don’t believe the message was “watch your kids so they don’t get run over” — because watching doesn’t really prevent anything unless they’re within arm’s reach. I know there are some very impulsive kids in the world who need more careful supervision, but most of the kids I’ve known in my life both as a kid and as an adult CAN be taught by the age of seven or so that nothing, not even an ice cream treat, justifies running into the street without looking. And kids younger than that can simply be disallowed from using their own money for ice cream trucks. The problem is not the truck. Free Range is about teaching your kids to make age-appropriate decisions, and not running into the street is one of those things they can, and should, be taught.

  66. […] cream trucks return to Niskayuna, N.Y. 34 years after a panic-occasioned ban [Free-Range Kids, […]

  67. Unfortunately society and a few parents have a tendency to drain the joy out of increasingly few opportunities for innocent childhood fun. Look around in your local parks; the monkey bars, slides, diving boards to name a few, have disappeared and been replaced with “Do Not Run!” signs. These few pleasures for our children have almost become extinct.

    Telling children “no” is a critical responsibility of parents charged with shaping contributing members of society out of these little people. As one commenter stated, Run into the street, Get hit by a car! Common Sense!

    I wholeheartedly agree with Lenore and thank you for your blog!

    Instead of trying to sue away temptation or litigate out of parental duties, we should be focusing on ways to accept personal responsibility and instill these values in our kids.

    Don’t take away the childhood fun for the rest of us!

  68. I drove these trucks for 8 years in Maryland. Had only 1 accident which was a two year old child parking on his tricycle under my front bumper. Since I always took off slowly I heard the metal bending and stopped. He suffered only minor injuries but his mother came out of the house in a rage. My question to her – what was your two year old doing out in the street on a bike unsupervised.

  69. If you wrap kids up in cotton wool they will never learn to keep themselves safe. Also if everytime a child is injured doing something and it gets banned there would be very little left for them to do.

  70. Hey guys – what is the biggest truck in the world? Is it this truck ?

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