A Reader Who Believes Men Should NOT Be Allowed to Sit Next to Kids on Planes

Hi Readers! It takes all kinds…even the kind that thinks men are raping random children on planes, I guess. Here’s a note that came in response to my post below this one, about Virgin Air’s policy of not allowing males to sit next to unaccompanied minors:

I agree with the policy. It is too bad that the airline did not arrange the seating ahead of time to avoid an embarrassing moment but as a mother I would not want my child seating next to a strange man on a plane.

The fact is 99% of paedophiles are male. I’m sure this man is a lovely person but the fact is he is 100 times more likely to rape a child than a woman.

Are we now going to sue the insurance companies who charge men more in insurance because men are 100 times more likely to have an accident?

It’s called statistics. It’s called trying to prevent the most horrifying incidence by calculating and diminishing risks.

Why doesn’t this man put his energy into fighting paedophiles, who are from his sex rather than demonizing a society trying to protect itself from a deadly disease within the male.  – Pastiche

Permission Slips to Photograph Your OWN Kid at Sports

Someone at Capri Sun is Thinking Free-Range Thoughts

Hey folks — Let’s not get into a discussion of whether any child NEEDS to be drinking a foil-pouch drink. Let’s just enjoy this ad. I did! – L.

Children: Please Remember, The Library Is No Place for You

Hi Readers! This poster comes to us from Ann Sattley, author of  the book and blog Technically, That’s Illegal. In case you can’t read the fine print, it says, “Please remember that the library, though a fun and entertaining place to be, is a busy public facility and all public places do present hazards for unsupervised children.”

Aside from the extraneous “do” (which I thought was confined to stewardess-speak) and referring to the library as a public facility, which somehow makes it sound like a giant john, this is a bald admission of the mainstream outlook today:  Children should never be any place in public unsupervised, as they are at risk — and you’ve been warned.

It might be “fun” and “exciting” to be at the library, but kids should wait until an adult has scads of free time to be there with them, or just live without library time. Who needs all that reading anyway? Kids might get the wrong idea from books like From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and start having “adventures.” I shudder to think. – L.

Saved from a Fate Worse Than Buttons!

Hi Folks! This jacket was recalled because it is coated in e-coli, contains a colony of venomous spiders in the left pocket, and was woven from the fur of rabid jackals.

Oh, wait…no. It says here on the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website that it was recalled because its elastic waistband has “a toggle that could become snagged or caught in small spaces or doorways, which poses an entrapment hazard to children.”

Nice to know we are being protected from the terrible toggles! – L

Picture of recalled Boys Outerwear Jacket

Daycare Workers Must Check Baby’s Sleep Position EVERY 15 MINUTES!

Hi Readers: In our quest to make childrearing ever more worry-and-labor intensive, I submit the newest wrinkle. – L.
Dear Free-Range Kids: My children go to a wonderful daycare center that is part of a franchise.  While the center is owned by a local couple, they are part of a greater organization and subject to their rules.
Earlier this week, we received a notice that the infants would no longer be allowed any type of blanket (previously, lightweight receiving blankets were allowed), and they would not at all be allowed to sleep in any kind of bouncy seat or swing.  These changes were to better meet the AAP’s guidelines for safe sleep and prevention of SIDS.  They seemed reasonable to me.
Today, when I dropped off my daughter, I noticed several clipboards with charts on them.  I looked a little more closely, and saw 15-minute time increments down the side, and columns listing “back,” “side” and “tummy.”  I asked the teachers about the form, and it’s just what you think it is.  Every fifteen minutes while the babies are asleep, the teachers are mandated to put a check mark next to the baby’s sleep position.  EVERY FIFTEEN MINUTES.
There are so many things about this that are absurd to me.  Primarily, what are the chances my child will die of SIDS while napping at daycare in a crib with no bumper and no blanket?  I’d venture a guess that they are certainly smaller than the chance that I could go buy a winning lottery ticket.  What are the chances that my child will benefit developmentally and physically from more attention from her teacher while a few of her classmates nap?  Certainly way higher than the risk of SIDS.
I can’t imagine the pain in the butt this is going to be for the teachers, given the sleep schedules of children under age 1 (after that, they age out of the charts).  I almost think the center is going to have to hire someone to walk around the room and be the sleep monitor. To me, this certainly falls into the range of being ridiculously overcautious about sleeping babies. — Caring-but-Not-Crazy Mom
Lenore here: This kind of obsessiveness serves one purpose only — “proving” to someone (a worried parent, lurking lawyer, out-for-blood inspector) that the center is doing “all that it can” — as opposed to the sensible “all that is necessary.” More is always better when it comes to overprotection! 

Let's hope one of them is filling out a chart!

More Outrage! 5th Graders Can No Longer Play Outside “Alone”

Hi Readers! The other day my brother-in-law asked me if I ever got really “down” about our culture. I told him that usually I don’t — I get so mad about ridiculous rules and outlandish fears that I just blog in a blind fury and feel better.

But this story, sent by the folks at Kaboom, actually feels like lead in my soul. It’s about how yet another long-standing, joyous tradition — 100 unsupervised fifth graders frolicking outside on Friday afternoons — has suddenly been axed. Why? Oh, the usual, spanking new “safety” concerns. Sort of like the coffee ban discussed in the post below this one. Sort of like when Amtrak suddenly upped the age kids can travel solo from 8 to 13, not because of any incidents, but out of an “abudance of concern.”

If this is concern, I’ll take neglect. – L.

Once upon a time, an elementary school in Davidson, N.C. had a lovely tradition. On Friday afternoons, fifth graders with parental permission left the confines of their classroom to play on the Village Green. And the best part? They did it all by themselves!

But the school has decided to ban on the longtime tradition—even with an OK from mom and dad, students can no longer walk to the Green from school. Instead, they must ride home on the school bus or get picked up by their parents.

Read the rest of it here. And weep wherever you’d like. And then sign this Change.org petition. — L.