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The Safety Dance

Being a parent sometimes feels like riding right into the danger zone. And not in a Kenny Loggins type of way.

Fisher Price announced last week a massive toy recall after many products were found to contain lead paint. (If you missed it, you can read the full list of toys included here.)

That comes on the heels of Gerber's recall last month of some of its organic baby cereals because of potential choking hazards.

But the topper for me was spotting this little nugget, courtesy of "Youngest infants at risk of death while seated."

Yes, you read that correctly. Your child could now die ... from SITTING DOWN. Sounds like an Onion headline, but a study, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, suggests that babies younger than one-month-old are at an increased risk of putting their lives in peril while seated. Now, if you read this closely, you'll quickly realize how miniscule the odds are of this actually happening. The study focused on 534 babies who died in Quebec over a nine-year period, and the cause of death for 409 of the children was undetermined.

The upshot, at least according to this article, is that parents should take extra care when dealing with very young infants in car seats or other types of seats. Gee, thanks for the tip, Dr. Spock. Of course we need to take extra care with babies at that age. If you've ever held a newborn, you know they are more fragile than a Hummel figurine (and fortunately, less tacky). It's important to be cautious with them in any situation, whether it's strapping them into their Graco Snugrides or laying them down in their bassinets. I can practically hear my parents commenting on this one: "I don't understand why everyone is so cautious about babies and seats. You didn't even sit in a car seat when you were a baby, we just strapped you to the hood of the car and hoped for the best. And you were just fine!"

All right, so I'm exaggerating a little. I just wonder whether studies like this one really serve a greater good, or just make already freaked-out parents even more frantic. Legitimate safety concerns and recalls like the Fisher Price and Gerber situations aside, are we sometimes overly cautious with our kids? Or is it never possible to be too cautious?

By Jen Chaney |  August 8, 2007; 6:25 AM ET  | Category:  The Debate
Previous: When the Onesies Won't Stop Coming | Next: Baby Einstein = Baby Dumbed-Down?


We're overly cautious about the dangers of things that probably won't happen, and not nearly concerned enough about the dangers of things that already are, like childhood obesity.

Posted by: Ryan | August 8, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I do think that some parents are overcautious, and there's a whole industry whose purpose is to sell things to those people.

Have you ever seen the One Step Ahead catalogue? They sell helmets and kneepads to protect crawling children from chafing and bumps, harnesses that prevent new walkers from falling, and safety devices to block off any possible source of household danger, from oven knobs to swinging doors to regular old doorknobs.

And don't even get me started on the idea that if you have kids more than a year apart, you must buy a brand-new infant seat because they just redesigned them to be infinitismally safer.

I'm all for caution, and the thought of something serious happening to my daughter makes my blood run cold. But I don't honestly see the point in spending hundreds of dollars on products meant to ensure that DD never learns that certain activities will result in a scrape or a bump on the head.

Posted by: NewSAHM | August 8, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I for one will be even more cautious to make sure my daughter has less of a chance to be injured. I was holding out on buying those crocs shoes, but Grandma thought they were the cutest things and since "all the other kids" have them, she bought my daughter a pair. My daughter (age 3) is very impulsive and very active, so I normally only put sneakers on her. Well, my worst fear was realized when my daughter decided to run down the sidewalk to our house (I'm constantly telling her to walk or she could fall) when she tripped in her crocs and hit her face on the pavement. Bloody mouth and to the dentist. Her front teeth are now turning a darker color and the dentist tells me her teeth are dying. So, while I can't protect my daughter every minute of the day, it is the items I purchase (or let others purchase for her) that affect her safety.

Posted by: D_MD | August 8, 2007 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Thank you , NewSAHM.

I mean, really. If you're buying helmets for crawlers, there is no way you should ever put a baby in a car and actually drive somewhere.

Our kid is going to get hurt. She's already stabbed herself in the eye with a baby hanger I let her play with. She's toppled over and missed the pillow. I would bet the dog or cats will get her at some point. That's life.

Don't get me wrong, I'll apply sunscreen and bug spray. I'll put a gate at the stairs. I won't keep chemicals or drugs where she can reach them.

But I also want her to learn NO. If everything she's not supposed to touch is out of temptation's reach, how are you supposed to teach them anything? This means that things will likely get broken or she may get minorly injured. Is that so terrible?

Posted by: atb | August 8, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse


It makes sense that sneakers are a better idea for children than Crocs, for exactly the reason you said.

But, at what age will you allow your daughter to run? If you want "to be even more cautious to make sure [she] has less of a chance to be injured" why permit her to even walk?

Be grateful your child is normally "very active" and that you live in a society where your "worst fear" is your daughter tripping on the sidewalk.

Posted by: Ryan | August 8, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

D_MD - just wait. Her falling on her face will look like a skinned knee once they get a little older. Don't beat yourself up. I think that's why they have baby teeth. She could have fallen just running in the best sneakers you could afford. Or tripping on a toy and falling into teh coffee table. Gravity is the nemesis of all toddlers!

I'm sure we could fill this blog with ways that we failed to accurately forsee how our kids could get injured.

Posted by: Moxiemom | August 8, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

A few bumps and bruises are part of growing up. I'm not saying don't bother with car seats and vaccinations and safe clothes and toys, but....a helmet for your crawling baby? Give me a break. You learn to walk by falling down a few times, and we all lived through it.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

The media hypes these reports because they know anxious parents will read them; the advocacy groups issue these reports because they want to protect everyone from everything. The manufacturers put all those warnings and issue recalls to try and protect themselves from expensive lawsuits if Buffy gets hurt using their product.

I grew up on a farm; I probably had a half dozen scars from mishaps of my own actions by the time I was 5. My parents just patched me up and told me "well, be more careful next time". The obviously dangerous actions they prevented from the start, but everything else they figured I'd learn not to try again after one try at it. They were right.

Posted by: John L | August 8, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

To Ryan, I get your point, but in most cases, running is not permitted due to the possibility of injury (like the lifeguard blowing the whistle at children who are running at the pool). I know my daughter is clumsy, so I have only allowed sneakers up to this point (and this was a requirement at a previous daycare, but her current daycare does not have this rule). In fact, my daughter got injured at daycare while wearing her sneakers, but another child who had sandels on fell into my daughter and knocked her over, so my daughter isn't safe around other kids who do not wear proper footwear either, lol).

Posted by: D_MD | August 8, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

D_MD, you're assuming that it was absolutely caused by the crocs. Again, this is a big problem with overanxious parents -- they assume that SOMETHING ELSE is the cause of an accident, when it really could be just that the kid tripped. No biggie. Things like that happen all the time. However, if you really think your daughter does better in sneakers, you're just going to have make sure that's all she wears. Just don't freak out if she wears something else, as if she's going to die.

Posted by: Ryan2 | August 8, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Wow. The methodology of that study is sketchy. The sample size is small, the number of incidents actually described as so few... heck, you could practically justify anything with these kind of statistics.

The line between safe and paranoid can be pretty thin, but I don't think that comes all that close. Definately paranoid.

Posted by: David S | August 8, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Who are all these "freaked out parents"? Are they really out there? Some parents have naturally high anxiety levels (mine springs to mind) but I suspect many start to tune out more and more of these safety messages. I think most parents try to filter through them and discern which are worth heeding. Helicopter parenting carries its own, rather substantial risks.

Posted by: Floomby | August 8, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

"so my daughter isn't safe around other kids who do not wear proper footwear either"

I've gotta say this - since when are sandals improper footwear? Honestly, falling is pretty common at that age and will continue to be a frequent occurrence as they try to develop new physical skills. My daughter was so bruised up at her 3 year old well visit that I was explaining it all to the doctor. He looked at me and said that a 3 year old who isn't a little bruised isn't being active enough.

Posted by: Moxiemom | August 8, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I tell my kids scrapes and bruises are evidence of an interesting life. They're still pretty young, so mostly they just look at me oddly, but the 7 starting to get it.

Posted by: madhatter | August 8, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

That'd be "the 7 year old is starting to get it."


Posted by: madhatter | August 8, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

"so my daughter isn't safe around other kids who do not wear proper footwear either"

this is really funny. Are you talking about a group of 3-year olds? Here is a newsflash: all three-year-olds are clumsy and will fall down more than one time during the day no matter what footware they are wearing. Why are sandals not on your 'appropriate footware' list? In the summer time when it's hot outside, I actually think it's cruel to make a child wear tennis shoes with socks instead of sandals.

Posted by: Elle | August 8, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I read that study with a grain of salt, but I'm still interested in hearing that kind of study. It would make me think twice about taking a new-born baby on a long car or airplane trip, for instance, and might make me more inclined to let them rest in the bassinet instead of upright in a swing or infant seat. So it won't make me paranoid, but it's just one more piece of information to consider.
But even I consider the helmets for crawling babies to be overkill. (although maybe if I had a really spastic baby, i would really want that helmet!)

Posted by: Mom | August 8, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of safety, DH and I had a debate recently about whether to get my preteen ADHD son a skateboard for his birthday. I won out eventually, on the premise that he agree to wear protective gear. He needs some kind of outlet for his physical energy, and he rejects organized sports (a dislike that I heartily share). Furthermore I think that active kids, esp. boys though I don't want to be sexist, need therapeutic amounts of danger--by which I mean, something that is a little challenging and scary, otherwise they might seek a truly dangerous and stupid activity, like my nephew's teenaged friend who had a few and leapt to his death off a bridge. It was a low bridge, and nobody thinks he was trying to commit suicide. The consensus among everybody was that he was trying to liven up his stutifying suburban existence, and happened to make a momentary and monumentally bad choice. My point being that kids need some kind of outlet and as they grow, a 100% safe environment is in itself toxic.

Posted by: Floomby | August 8, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Chalk it up to can't sell $$$ of safety products until you convince parents that our kids are in danger every minute. Just a look at the "parenting" magazines should make that clear. They have some articles but basically exist to sell product. There are products that make real sense: bike helmets, sunscreen, vaccinations and car seats come to mind. But when you have products that only sell by scaring parents, scaring parents is going to be a marketing priority.

Posted by: Angela | August 8, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

As far as the unsafe sandals, I think the ones that are open toe are the worst. We were at a park with another family and their daughter fell with open toe sandals and her toes got bloody. I think the feet should be protected, and my daughter will wear sneakers with socks (socks help prevent blisters or stinky feet/sneakers) regardless of the temp. She also wears water shoes so that she doesn't scrape her feet in the pool. If the protective items are available my daughter will have them.

Posted by: D_MD | August 8, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Floomby - I think you are wise. I think physical activity is good for everyone! I also think the challenge for those of us with boys and active girls is to help them find productive ways to channel their agression and active nature without squelching it. Finding a productive and relatively safe place to find those adrenaline rushes is your best bet. It also doesn't hurt to help them find something that they can practice and get good at. Builds character and self-esteem which are two of the ingredients for a happy adult.

Posted by: Moxiemom | August 8, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

They do make sandals with enclosed toes, and I do think they are better. However, a falling child is more likely to have a bloody knee or elbow. Does it mean we need to make our kids wear knee pads and elbow pads at all times outside?

Posted by: Dura | August 8, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

"like my nephew's teenaged friend who had a few and leapt to his death off a bridge."

"The consensus among everybody was that he was trying to liven up his stutifying suburban existence, and happened to make a momentary and monumentally bad choice"

Darwinism takes its course.....

What is stutifying?

Posted by: newhere | August 8, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Yes, it is possible to be too cautious. Bumps, falls, and bruises are a natural part of growing up, as long as it isn't a fall out of a 4th story window. If yu think Crocs are dangerous, how do you explain those awful wheelie shoes where kids skate around in public places between elderly people who get knocked off balance easily? I think those stupid things should be banned --- the wheelies, not the elderly ;-).

My biggest gripe is food manufacturers who sell sugar water and call it 'fruit juice.'

Posted by: Steamed | August 8, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

My 1-year-old tripped over thin air and got a bloody nose and a fat lip. He was wearing socks and properly fitting sneakers, was not running, and had two parents within three feet of him.

Come to think of it, I recently tripped over thin air while jogging and skinned my knees. When will the safety manufacturers come up with a product to protect kids from the "clumsy gene?"

Posted by: Arlington | August 8, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I agree that we hype up apparent physical dangers, but still feed our kids mcdonalds, chips, sugared snacks and other horrible foods. Bumps and scrapes will heal. Bad food choices will hurt your child for life.

Posted by: Elle | August 8, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Elle--"Bad food choices will hurt your child for life." I agree. So will screaming at them to stop: running, jumping, climbing, yelling, spinning, staggering goofily (a weirdly toddler obsession), doing somersaults. Especially if they're girls. I notice that boys are STILL in this day and age more allowed to be bruised and scraped.

For the mom of the clumsy child: have you considered working on the clumsiness, rather than putting your child in a "don't move faster than a snail's crawl" box? How about ballet or martial arts? Or gymnastics? Or some sort of track sports? Sorry about the teeth. Hope there's no problem with the adult teeth. Same thing happened to my sister, and she now has a beautiful smile!

Teaching rather than restricting would be a much better way of dealing with safety issues. Cuz you can't restrict everything.

Posted by: Erika | August 8, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I saw a grown man (around 40 years old) waring roller blades, a helmet, knee pads, shin guards, and elbow pads at a park the other day. And he wasn't a novice skater either-- he was skating circles (literally) around the person he was talking to. It made me wonder, didn't he ever learn how to be careful?

Posted by: Regan | August 8, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

In our attempt to cure childhood diseases like polio, curb killer accidents (In my grandmother's rural street all of the kids I knew died by age 30- they're all gone), and keep kids physically "perfect" at age 18 (I knew a girl who lost a finger in a bike accident) we have created a weird world where danger and adventure don't exist for kids like they did for my father (danger and adventure were gone for me in the 1970s). Add into that our financial realities- I must have the kids in daycare to afford to pay our mortgage or else move to a house 60 minutes away from work. Daycare is fun, but not so adventurous. I live in a neighborhood with small backyards with little adventure space. It's 10 degrees hotter in August than I remember as a kid and my boys hate to go outside. One family down the block with a kid my son's age has a public drinking and police problem and visible potleaf tshirts- he's not allowed to visit their house and they definitely can't wander the neighborhood. I myself spent 3 miserable years (grades 6-8) teased, beaten up, and harassed by school kids outside my neighborhood and it took me a long time to get over it.

I think we are reacting to what we saw happen as kids. I feel powerless to be less protective than I am. I don't think we know what kind of society we're building with this level of security until the kids are 15-16 years old.

Posted by: DCer | August 8, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I am the mother of a clumsy child. She falls in crocs, tennis shoes, bare feet, boots, etc. She trips over thin air and walks into chairs, etc. I am not concerned in the least. She will grow out of it.

What I am concerned about is the ever increasing dangerous products from China.

Posted by: Irish girl | August 8, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Who are all these "freaked out parents"? Are they really out there? Some parents have naturally high anxiety levels (mine springs to mind) but I suspect many start to tune out more and more of these safety messages.

Oh god, I know one of these parents. In the daycare I am friends with two of them. The first one was a single Mom who was constantly afraid that she wasn't doing the right thing. She was always weirdy apologetic about everything and very self-conscious. I presume she had no one to bounce ideas off of.

The second freaked out parent is just one of those 110 lb women who is in a constant shaking nervous fit. Like Shelley Duvall after three lattes. She constantly asks about her child's height and weight. My gosh, do ya think lady that someone as small as you is going to have the smallest baby in the room? She constantly asks about all the the worst and most obscure horror stories of lead, plastics, email chain letters as if they're real news stories.

I can't say what prompts this behavior, but I kparents who are really uncomfortable as parents and very nervous about everyday issues.

Posted by: DCer | August 8, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I have thought about classes such as ballet in order to help her with her coordination, and I would like to try this starting the fall. With her impulsiveness and outburst behavior that I am unable to control, she has a very short attention span and may not follow direction in the class. My concern is ADHD even though she is still a toddler, I do not know any other children that acts the way she does (does not sit to play with a toy) and her impulsive behavior that has been observed by specialists, that I feel the need to protect her. I have not gone as far and putting a leash on her, but I also don't like to yell at her to walk when she pulls away from my hand, I don't think this is appropriate either. There are still times that I will put her in a stroller if I know that we are going to be in a situation where it is dangerouse for a child like this, but I also want her to get plenty of exercise and i like the playgrounds in the area that have the soft surfaces. And, she has never eaten at McDonald's, but she has had pizza. So, please don't jump on me about the ADHD comment, I have battled myself over this on my own, and I try not to listen to the experts, but just want my child to be able to function in a normal class/play setting, so we try to teach her acceptable behavior and direct her to behavior that will prevent her from hurting herself. I do hope that a ballet class (sorry, i think the martial arts class will be too dangerous for her) will provide what we're looking for.

Posted by: D_MD | August 8, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

D_MD--I've got no problem with the leash if you have experience with her running away from you in crowded public spaces. I very nearly used one with my son for the same reason. Especially after I had to have the employees of a large store block the doors so we could find the kid somewhere in the store without worrying about him wandering off The ONLY time I took him shopping, something I hate doing myself.

And it sounds like you are certainly trying to balance being cautious with letting her being herself.

But I would like to question one particular assumption you are making about martial arts for kids. I've trained for two decades at two different schools. Most schools don't take 3yos, but those which take 4 or 5yos should not be allowing them to fight each other (if anyone). Little kids should only be matched up with adult purple or black belts who can be trusted to care for the safety of the child over their own safety. And, in fact, safety of the partner should ALWAYS be the prime concern or I would NOT consider the school.

Martial arts are frequently extremely helpful in dealing with clumsiness. Even in adults. You learn control and use muscles which don't get addressed by ballet until much further into training.

I'm just saying, don't count it out without a little more research.

Posted by: Erika | August 8, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

There's an episode of the Simpsons (maybe more than one) where Marge is reading "Fretful Mother" magazine and quoting the articles about the dangers in absurdly normal things, like breathing.

As usual, the Simpsons nailed it. The previous poster was right - it's about selling product.

Reasonable precautions are just that, reasonable. It's hard to learn, much less have fun, when you're sealed in bubblewrap.

Posted by: Lee | August 8, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

D_MD - have you considered sending her to a Montessori school? I have seen great changes in kids. It is very free yet structured environment with specific appropriate social expectations that tend to be reinforced through positive peer pressure. I think she's too young for martial arts but I think lots of physical activity would certainly help to calm her.

Posted by: Moxiemom | August 8, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Montessori was not recommended for her (by her Early Steps evaluator). It was felt that she needed more structure, that if she was free to do what she wanted, she would not focus on ANYTHING. We have to direct her to an activity that she will enjoy (took us a while to determine what these were) and 5 seconds later she wants to get up and on to the next thing. But we remind her that she is doing her current activity and bring her back to it for a little while longer, and then clean up/put away before the next activity. She does pretty well at following direction at her daycare, but they also let her wonder off to do her own thing since they do not want to disrupt the activity by constantly calling her to come back. Again, our goal is for her to be able to attend school and pay attention and not disrupt other kids.

Posted by: to Moxiemom | August 8, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that martial arts training was dangerous in itself, but that it is too dangerous for our 3 year old daughter who is not capable of determining when/when not appropriate to do an activity. I don't think she is mature enough to understand this and to provide her with ideas of actions without her understanding the concept would be putting her in a dangerous situation where she could hurt herself. This does not mean that I wouldn't consider this when she is older if I felt the trainer could handle her.

Posted by: to Erica | August 8, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

This crap now starts while the little one is in utero-go to any pregnancy message board and you will see all the scared pregnant women fretting about lunch meat and caffeine in chocolate. It drove me crazy and I just decided to stop listening and do what felt right to me.

I think the internet and other media has helped to increase parenting hysteria. I definitely know some of these freaked out parents-I try like heck not to be one of them!

My husband and I do our best to protect our kid, but she still falls just out of arms reach and dents her head (luckily, NOT permanent) and gets into the cat food every once in a while. It happens, it's part of growing up. I just don't want to live in a waorld where I am fearful of everything outside of my house-she needs to live a little, too!

Posted by: Hilsmom | August 8, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

by Erika at August 8, 2007 01:13 PM

"Martial arts are frequently extremely helpful in dealing with clumsiness. Even in adults. You learn control and use muscles which don't get addressed by ballet until much further into training."

Speaking as a long time Martial Arts student, there are definately stregnths to both dance and Martial Arts in terms of addressing issues of balance, flexibility, and motor control. The same can also be said for yoga, NIA, and many other exercise routines.

Ultimately, I think it is about the program within these disciplines that is important. D_MD's Early Steps evaluator may be able to suggest a program. I am not too familiar with Early Steps (outside of it's role in IDEA), but the people involved in such programs are often well connected and informed inside communities.

Obviously, since I don't know D_MD's daughter, I can't say much about ADHD or any other disability. Some ADHD behavior is similar to Autism, but are also similar to the behavior of active children. A question then to D_MD: Was your daughter diagnosed by anyone? Early diagnosis is probably the most effective tool in dealing with a disability.

Posted by: David S | August 8, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

My partner and I are extremely clumsy- but not only do we survive, but we somehow managed to survive together. We both consider this to be something of a miracle on some days, but we're happy.

I agree that physical external dangers are the EASY ones to deal with. Diseases, emotional and mental dangers are much harder.

Posted by: Liz D | August 8, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I have no idea if they offer Tai Chi classes for little kids, but it's a very slow motion martial art involving no violence and it's all about control.

And not to freak you out some more, but my father who is a doctor never let me take ballet lessons when I was a kid. He said it'd mess up my bones. Perhaps tapdancing?

Posted by: Kea | August 8, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I've been kind of thinking about this during my day and I wonder if some of this phenomenon stems from the fact that so few of us live close to our families and therefore are not proximal to the "experts" that our parents looked to (i.e. grandparents, aunts, uncles and other extended family). Have we started looking to "experts" to teach us things that in the past was simply passed down? I know that my parents are far away and I often consult books or peers for info. that I might have asked my mother if she were close.

Posted by: Moxiemom | August 8, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure that physical training classes (dance, martial art, etc) will really help with clumsiness. I did dance classes for a few years as a kid - and I've always loved to dance; if there's music, I'm moving to it - and it didn't make the slightest bit of difference in my coordination, or lack of it.

I was a clumsy kid, and I'm a clumsy adult. But since so many people seem to feel it does help, maybe I'm merely an exception to the rule.

Posted by: Sue | August 8, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Oops, on-topic this time.

My husband and I try not to worry or interfere too much with the boys. If we see them doing something that's risky, we may point out the risks, but not necessarily make them stop.

We find that the natural consequences are often the best way for a kid to learn.

Of course, this isn't what we do when the consequences are *serious*. The kids always put on seat belts in the car for example, because learning the consequences of not wearing them by getting into an accident is just too dangerous.

Posted by: Sue | August 8, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I like my Hummel figurines

Posted by: Jean | August 8, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

by Moxiemom at August 8, 2007 03:14 PM

"I've been kind of thinking about this during my day and I wonder if some of this phenomenon stems from the fact that so few of us live close to our families and therefore are not proximal to the "experts" that our parents looked to (i.e. grandparents, aunts, uncles and other extended family). Have we started looking to "experts" to teach us things that in the past was simply passed down? I know that my parents are far away and I often consult books or peers for info. that I might have asked my mother if she were close."

There is probably a certain amount of this going on, though child rearing style still tends to be very strongly hereditary (though not necessarily passed through genes).

I would also add to the phenomenon an increase of knowledge about things our parents or grandparents might have ascribed to intuition or superstition. Also, since child morbidity rates are lower, certain aspects of child raising (such as raising children with disabilities) are being experienced by a broader section of the population who may not have family wisdom to turn to: hence experts.

Part of me also wants to say that a psuedo-religious faith in science probably plays a role. After all, most supersitions I hear about now try to cloak themselves in science. That is just a gut feeling though.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

The anonymous comment at 3:47 PM was me. Oops.

Posted by: David S | August 8, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

On the ADHD issue:
While I do not personally know your child and I understand that children are much more than can be presented in an on-line post, please keep in mind that 3 year olds do have a lot of energy, are clumsy, and have a much shorter attention span than adults. It is perfectly normal.

If, in a few years, she is still at the same level, then maybe there are issues to address. But at 3, I wouldn't worry too much.

And Ballet is a great idea. Most preschool classes are only 30-45 minutes and are combo classes that cover ballet and tap and proper stretching. The classes should have a small teacher student ratio. Ballet, over time, does teach disclipline. And who knows, maybe it will be interesting enough to your daughter to keep her attention. Doesn't hurt to try.

Posted by: to D_MD | August 8, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

ADHD?ADD is so grossly over diagnosed it has many parents running scared. Be thankful that your child is healthy with 10 fingers and toes. Any disability or problem can be helped with attentive teachers and attentive parents. I grew up with a learning disbaility (I was diagnosed with having auditory processing problems). I went into special education and was mainstreamed into a regualr classroom by the time I was 7. I turned out just fine. I went to college and I have my BA and my MBA now. So in my humble opinion worrying about ADD ADHD is fruitless. There are other things you should be worrying about like quality time with children or if they are happy and safe.
I have worked with small kids before and I feel ebtter knowing they are wearing sneakers than sandels. I'm sorry, but Crocs aren't appropriate for playtime for any age and most schools will tell you this.

Posted by: Good grief | August 8, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

excuse my spelling :)

Posted by: good grief | August 8, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

excuse my spelling :)

Posted by: good grief | August 8, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

ADHD?ADD is so grossly over diagnosed it has many parents running scared. Be thankful that your child is healthy with 10 fingers and toes.

seriously, please don't use 10 fingers as an example, ok? my child doesn't have 10 fingers and I was scanning this board and read that and you know... I don't really like being reminded of it every day.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

To D_MD,

I'm not sure what Early Steps is, but if it is the same thing as Early Intervention here in NY (evaluation and treatment for children 0-3 years old with disabilities), then I have one thing to suggest to you. Of course I don't know your daughter, but my son was found to have sensory integration issues with what sound like somewhat similar symptoms (couldn't focus, falling off chairs, bumping into things).

When I was first told about "sensory integration," I completely did not believe it, much less that my son had any issues with it. I thought, what 2 or 3 year old can sit still? Aren't they all a bit clumsy? But all I can tell you is that since being diagnosed and now treated for a few months, my son is doing so much better. And the "treatment" is fun for him -- spinning around in circles, pushing on walls, etc.

I'm no expert in this area, but just from my personal experience I'd say it's worth checking this out, especially if your daughter really likes being spun around, held upside down, etc. The occupational therapist tells me that my son has trouble orienting his body in space, and that what she does helps him to find out where the boundaries of his body are. Whatever it is, it really works for him.

Books you could look at are The Out-of-Sync Child and The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun, both by Carol Stock Kranowitz. When I first looked at The Out of Sync Child, I thought "But that's not my son at all!" And still, I think that most of it does not apply to him. But the parts that do apply have been very helpful in helping him to have fun at school (which is what they should be doing at this age) and interact with his friends.

Good luck!

Posted by: NY Mom | August 8, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I have a friend who also had a son diagnosed with ADD that later was found to have a sensory integration disorder. She lost a lot of time, but now he is doing very well. Different therapists have different schools of thought. YOu certainly can't go wrong by getting the opinon of an Ocupational Therapist or some other child development professional!

Posted by: Moxiemom | August 8, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I really do not have a very high opinion of occupational therapists. I took my DD in for cranial therapy because she has a mild movement disorder, which her neurologist thinks she'll outgrow. I thought the cranial therapy was probably crap, but it was suggested to me by a friend so I thought I would try it since it couldn't hurt. When my TWO YEAR OLD didn't want to lie still for 30+ minutes, the OT tried to convince me that she had a sensory integration problem and needed therapy (which, of course, she would supply and charge me a lot of money for). Needless to say, I never went back. Personally, I would worry about a two year old who WOULD consent to lie still for half an hour. Sheesh!

Anyway, I'm sure there are good OTs out there, but there are some (like this one, who is very well known) who seems to prey on parents' insecurities to drum up business. She was actually giving me a laundry list of all the things she thought might be wrong with my DD (she also mentioned autism and ADD), because she wouldn't like down on a table and hold still. (I did mention she was 2, right??)

Posted by: reston, va | August 8, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

seriously, please don't use 10 fingers as an example, ok? my child doesn't have 10 fingers and I was scanning this board and read that and you know... I don't really like being reminded of it every day.

Sorry, but I doubt it was personal.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

To the posted who suggested sensory integration issues, I want to thank you (in case you come back to this blog to look for a follow-up). I have read about this and also didn't think it applied to my daughter, but I am certainly going to pursue it with her Special Educator that she sees every other week. This woman spends time observing my daughter in her daycare and spends some time with her to provide tips to me and her caregivers on how to handle her or provide suggestions for activities that will appeal to her. Thank you so much for your suggestion, I am going to look into this and read up more on it (the spinning and hanging upside down were key points in her behavior that I never thought meant anything other than this is something she likes to do).

Posted by: D_MD | August 10, 2007 8:30 AM | Report abuse

it wasn't personal. Basically what I was meaning that thank your blessing that being ADD/ADHD isn't as severe as someone who suffers from any other disability/genetic disorder: Downs Syndrome,Turner Syndrome, etc....

Posted by: Anonymous | August 10, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

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