Keeping our Kids Safe in Today’s World

. March 25, 2016.

There are times I’m just amazed I’m still alive.

I try to take care of myself. I lock the doors at night. I wear my seat belt. I do everything an adult is supposed to do to make it to the next day. When I think back on my childhood and young adulthood, I’m surprised I made it this far.

Please wait a moment while I adjust my old-lady hat and set my cane next to my rocking chair. Ah, that’s better. Now, let’s sit a spell and think back on how we all could have easily faced tragedy when we were younger.

Seatbelt? Car Seat? Nah…

When I was growing up, they sold cars without seat belts. And our parents drove them, with us along for the ride. A car seat was where you sat in the car. I remember driving six hours to see my grandparents riding on my mother’s lap in the front seat because my brother and sister didn’t want me in the back seat. Granted, the car was a 1974 Impala which was the size of a small tank, but it was not a move that would pass muster today.

I rode my bike everywhere in my town. I’m not sure I even told my mother where I was going. I just took off to the lake or ceramics class. I would ride my bike behind the high school to hit tennis balls against the side of the building. Did I mention it was very isolated and hidden away from the street? And I went during the summer so there were absolutely no cars in the parking lot?

The Carefree Young Adulthood of Yesteryear

I managed to graduate high school relatively unscathed, and then the fun began. I went from a hometown of 3,000 people to a large urban university where my freshman class had nearly twice that number. The school was, of course, bordered by the worst neighborhoods in the city. Night classes? No problem! Let’s take that shortcut behind the Carrier Dome that takes you out of sight. Let’s go to a frat party where you don’t know anyone. Nothing bad will happen, right?

Now, of course, I know that bad things happen even when you do everything right. Once I had children, I realized they should come with literal and figurative bubble wrap. Car seats, baby gates, fireplace bumpers and government-approved cribs were a given. Once they got older it was toddler-sized playgrounds, training wheels and flotation devices. Make your location invisible on social media, don’t allow any Instagram followers you don’t personally know, and never post a rant that could come back to haunt you. Text me when you get there, and text me when you leave. I will come get you anywhere and anytime, no questions asked.

Welcome to Today’s List of “Don’ts”

The scariest milestone of all will pass soon – my oldest is looking at colleges. We still have some time, but I am already providing warnings. Don’t walk anywhere at night by yourself. Don’t drink anything you didn’t personally see being poured. Never leave anyone behind at a party. Never be the person who stays behind at a party. Always return your mother’s phone call or text.

Before she goes, I have one more thing I need to do. It is just as important as paying for tuition, buying new bedding or picking a meal plan. Maybe more so.

Anyone know where I can buy enough bubble wrap for a teenager?