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Car Accident - Franklin Ave & Old Airport Rd
Image by KyleWiTh via Flickr

We’re all a little paranoid when it comes to our children. Not to trivialize it, but worrying about an infant or toddler as a new parent is nothing compared to worrying over an actual, thinking breathing and (often) disagreeing and disobeying child or teenager. Justifiably new parents are worried that their baby is being held properly, being fed properly and the like. I, myself remember the frequent crazed calls to the pediatrician’s office because a cough developed or the baby “just didn’t look right” or “wasn’t acting himself”. We have all done it and undoubtedly new parents will continue to do it.

However, what is even scarier to me (maybe just because it’s that stage in my life) is worrying about my children now. They are all teenagers, one has a permit and all tend to want to go places and do things without us (probably more than they want to go places and do things with us). I can no longer hold their hand when they cross a street or make sure that they don’t drive in a car without a seatbelt. I can only hope that they know enough to make wise decisions and know that no matter what, they can call us anytime, from anywhere.  I cannot watch them every minute of every day and more importantly I cannot control their friends and acquaintances or the circumstances in which they may find themselves when I am not around.

According to NPR’s recent report based upon a study conducted by author Christine Barnes (“The Paranoid Parents Guide”) parents’ top five worries concerning their children are:

  1. Kidnapping
  2. School snipers
  3. Terrorists
  4. Dangerous strangers
  5. Drugs

According to facts however, the top five ways that a child can get hurt veer pretty far from our collective parental anxieties. They are:

  1. Car accidents
  2. Homicide
  3. Abuse
  4. Suicide
  5. Drowning

I don’t know where you personally stand in comparison to the list, but fear of car accidents is definitely up there in my top 5. Far too frequently, especially here in Vermont, we hear about tragic accidents claiming children or teenagers just about the same ages as my boys. It’s scary. Even if they are doing everything right, now you have to worry about other people on the road. Many of my boys’ friends and their friends siblings drive or have their permits or will be driving soon. There will be times, more often than not, in the coming months and years when they will be in a vehicle by themselves or with a friend or sibling. We have a rule in our house that no one (and I mean no one) rides in a vehicle with a person who is not a parent (figuring that eliminates the older sibling or older sibling’s friends issue). Accidents happen, that is why they are called accidents, but I pray that they don’t involve my children or anyone else’s and that they are minor and inconsequential.

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