What’s Black and Blue and Happy All Over? Ask Your Child’s Doctor

Hi Folks — I love this exchange on Facebook about kids and bruises! Wrote one mom:

I brought my 5 year old son to the dentist yesterday and she was amazed to see that he has scratches and bruises. She said she never really sees those kinds of small injuries on kids nowadays because they play inside all day. What is happening to childhood in this country that seeing a scratch or small bruise on a 5 year olds shins is something out of the ordinary? When I was a kid my knees were always scraped and my shins were always bruised because that was just part of playing outside.

Wrote another:

I hate to admit this, making myself look neurotic, but when my son was 2, when he really started getting brave, his little legs were covered in bruises/knots/you name it. He had a few on his arms, but his legs looked (to me) awful, and I obsessed myself into thinking something must be terribly wrong–surely he had some kind of bleeding issue! A blood disorder! I finally got up the nerve to take him to the pediatrician (had to steel myself for the inevitable bad news, of course), and she looked at him, and looked at me, and said, “He has busy little two-year-old boy legs, and if he’s lucky you’re going to let them stay that way.” She also advised that I chill out before I drive us both (all?) crazy. Best advice I’ve ever gotten–and he is, to this day, covered in bruises and scratches and who knows what, because he rides his bike and jumps off everything he sees, and thank goodness he can. – Paula Kiihnl King

Wrote me:

This reminds me of the time I spoke to an advertising exec at Tide and he said kids’ clothes aren’t getting that dirty anymore. Bad for laundry detergent, bad for kids! – L

Remember when “Leapfrog” was an actual game, outside?

Jeff Lewis Comedy: Dad, What’s This Game Called “Tag”?

Hi Readers! After I laughed out loud three times — sorry, “LOL’d” — I had to share this:

Outrage of the Week: “We LOVE Seeing Children Outside (But Not Under Age 16)”

Hi Readers — It’s summer! Time for kids to run around and ride their bikes and play like puppies till the moon shoos them home.

Unless, that is, they’re living in the Eagle Place Townhomes in Lafayette, Colorado. There, no children are allowed to play outside, unsupervised, until age 16.

That’s right. No kids. Outside. Without an adult. Period.

That’s the new, written rule at the 60-home development and can you guess the reason given? Of course you can! You can recite it in your sleep! Quoth the property manager: “We just want them to be safe.”

 This article, in Boulder’s paper, the Daily Camera, details the “ghost town” the development has become. Said one dad, “It feels like prison.” Another said he has received letters from the management company saying his 5 and 8 year old kids can’t ride their scooters OR play on the grass between units OR play on the property’s playground without an adult present. Before this new rule, up to 30 kids would get together and play.

 Playing on a playground? Imagine that.

Eagle Place management even forbid a 15-year-old from reading a book on his porch swing. Talk about proactive danger management. His 12-year-old sister babysits in the complex. Now she is forbidden to take her young wards outside to play.

The impetus for all this seems to be twofold: One, management says that children are vandalizing the property. And two, recently a child got his foot stuck in an air conditioning unit and his parents couldn’t be reached. Instead, 911 was called. For this reason, management wrote in a letter to the residents, “Each time we find a child unattended they will be instructed to go home until an adult can accompany them outside.”

(The letter also said, “Children bring such joy to our lives and we all love seeing them outside playing in their carefree world.” Then comes the “but.”)

As bizarre as all this sounds, it is not the first time I’ve heard of such draconian laws. Other parents at other developments are dealing with them, too – and I’m not talking about retiree developments that specifically want nothing to do with kids. I’m talking plain old, all-American neighborhoods.

What’s terrifying is that this is what “all-American” may become: Neighborhoods so safe – at least from law suits – that the kids are locked inside or shuttled from supervised activity to supervised activity.

Of course, that sounds a lot like what America is becoming even without bylaws like the ones at Eagle Place. So much for our soaring spirit of adventure. The Eagle has, indeed, landed. It’s inside, playing videogames and  eating a Fruit Roll-Up. – Lenore