Wednesday, November 11, 2009

MacLAren: Stroller Recall, Also Saftey Then and Now

Hey you guys! My favorite stroller company, based in the UK, Maclaren is having a massive stroller recall in the US, and you can pick up a repair kit for free. I am assuming at most major retailers where you can buy Maclarens. Here is some info about it...
I have always loved this company, and sorry to hear such an unfortunate engineering mishap has occurred. Such a good product and I am certain that the engineers have already corrected the problem-- and the new strollers will be safer.

Safety Then and Now
I was talking to a more mature, uncle of mine who told me, in the 50's they used to play with mercury from thermometers and rub it all over their fingers. The mercury could would turn pennies into silver. They would play with firecrackers (scary ones) all the time and burn their fingers. Some of his friends even blew their fingers off. But the next day, there they were, playing with with those firecrackers again, minus friend who blew his fingers off, of course. Or in the Philippines they would run behind the DDT truck that was smoking all the mosquitoes out, behind the smoke and laugh and scream...

Now move forward a couple (or three) decades when I was a kid, (between the age of 5 and 8). I was left with my two cousins (about a couple years older than me) to cook our own meals, and pretty much fend for myself until my parents got home from work. I have no recollection of my brother in all of this. Was my mom there? I thought she was working? Hmmm. I would freak out now if a 5 year old was cooking a meal in a microwave. Or, we would just play in the streets, for hours until it got dark. Hello? Molesters? Serial Killers? Getting hit by a car? Accidents? Getting burned? H1N1?
Am I a paranoid mom? Did my parents neglect me? I can't even leave the girls in the car to pay for gas at the counter... this all has to be meticulously planned. Am I just paranoid? Am I making life harder? IS life harder?

I remember wanting to badly ride in the hatchback portion of my cousins station wagon, with blankets and pillows. I remember having so much fun riding on the freeway in the back of a flatbed truck, no seat belts of course. There were no airbags, seat belt laws in cars. No bike helmets, elbow and knee pads. I wasn't a child of the safety recall era. Even car seats were fairly new back then. There weren't little water gauges telling you that you need to tilt the car seat up about 2 degrees, so that your infant can best survive a head on collision that way. And, if you even think about forgetting to put a harness on your dogs, while they ride the car, you are the anti-christ. Knowing everything then, that I know now, would I have died or been seriously maimed before I reached 19?

There was no hip dysplacia, reflux, ADD, or schizophrenia in toddlers. Hell, there wasn't even autism. There was just fussy babies and the croup. Allergies were sort of non-existent, there were kids who could run, and kids who couldn't. Don't even get me talking about breast feeding vs formula nowadays. They finally decided after 20 years of messing with it, the best way to avoid SIDS is the Back to Sleep method. (baby on back.) first it was baby on tummy, then to side, back to tummy and now to back again. Second hand smoke? That kid just has a chronic cough. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? Nah. Remember Fredo in the Godfather?

Today, it's Amber Alerts and Code Adams. The other day someone tweeted (before calling police) that they were involved in a hit and run with the description of the car and they found the person in minutes. There are amber alerts, and sex offender websites and even an application for your iPhone where it will BEEP if a sex offender is within range. Dad is no longer drunk, unemployed and absent. He is now recognized as a an official "deadbeat dad."
Then at about 7 or 8, I want to say Trick or Treating was changed forever. News stories about people putting needles and razor blades in candy had everyone checking out their loot before they could eat it. Even taking their bags to the airport or to the Police Station to get their bags x-rayed. (Now, if you go to the airport with a mask, you will get shot.) If you get X-rayed you need a lead cover. People started chastising the old lady who made homemade popcorn balls for the past 30 years, for not having a pre-packaged seal on her treats.

I'm not saying we were worst back then, or even now for being better. I'm not even saying the old lady who made popcorn balls wasn't a terrorist, and I'm not saying she is. There are these things called studies, and science and polls, and life experience that teach us which things are good, and which things are bad. All in all we don't really know because it's constantly changing. As we speak, there is a new disorder, a new vaccine, a new disease, a new serial killer, a new urban legend...

So, I guess, do what makes you feel safe within reason, or you might go crazy thinking about it like yours truly.


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