Sunday, 10 March 2013

What price a child's life?


What price a child’s life ?

This is what they always say when they introduce some stupid new law because a child somewhere, died. The latest is a plan to enforce windows that will only open around 10 cms so that children will not use their beds as trampolines and then fall out of the open window. It seems to me that it’s rather foolish to put a bed that close to the window to begin with. The child himself must learn responsibility, not to mention the mother. But no, rather than expecting the parents of children to exercise a little common sense, they’d rather penalise everyone who owns a building with more than one story. The current argument is not whether they should impose this cost on innocent people, but whether it should be on all buildings or only on new buildings. And have they considered that making it more difficult to open a window could make it more difficult to escape a fire? Just another typical knee-jerk reaction.

The laws for swimming pools are the worst, of course. It seems to me that parents of small children should simply not live in houses with swimming pools. It is not the responsibility of anyone but the parents to ensure that your child stays away from my fenced backyard. And is a swimming pool so uniquely dangerous? What about beaches, lakes, rivers, duck-ponds, and fish-ponds?  I think the difference here is that Councils or government would have to pay to fence those off, while it’s fine to target innocent householders with draconian regulations. And besides, it’s a ridiculous thought to fence off every shore-line, every river, every duck-pond or water-hole.  

It is the nature of a child to explore, to play, to play actively and to master his body by active play. It is the only way to learn what he can do and what he cannot do. Modern children though, are not allowed to do what is in their nature.  When I took my pre-schoolers to the primary school for a familiarity session, the waiting mothers casually allowed their children to play on the play equipment. It was what it was for. I was appalled to discover later that the poor school children were only allowed on it when supervised by a teacher, and that was rare. Children these days are not allowed to climb trees, not allowed to wander, not allowed to light bonfires, not allowed to play near water…  And then the poor kids are made to feel bad because they play computer games too much and get too fat.

Children will have accidents. They must not be wrapped in cotton wool. They must be allowed to play and explore, and there is no valid reason why householders should be put to ridiculous trouble and expense to try and keep every child from getting into trouble.  

These school children are being taught to surf.

Active boys are the heroes of my Penwinnard Stories. They have free access to a beach.

This next part is just an ad, so ignore now if you choose.

Look for my Penwinnard Novels
or on Amazon or on other bookselling sites. Available in paperbacks or ebooks.





  1. I agree whole-heartedly. There comes a point when people have to use a bit of common sense. How many children are turned into sickly, obese diabetics with foreshortened life expectancies by their stupid parents shoving sweet sticky, fatty junk down their gullets every time they open their mouths? Surely more than fall into the neighbour's swimming pool.

  2. I could not agree more with what you've written. Yes, kids drown in pools - but they drown in dams, too. I resent having to have my pool fenced. I also resent stupid bicycle helmets, another idiotic rule that undermines people wanting to exercise. Australia is over-governed and over-regulated.

  3. Thank you for your comments, Jane and Greta. I was actually expecting a tirade of comments accusing me of not caring about children, but it seems that a lot of us would be happy for common sense to make a comeback.

  4. So that new law about obliging owners of buildings to secure windows in case of foolish children and more foolish parents has been passed - apparently without any debate or second thoughts. Just one more impost on people for feeble reason.

    I wonder what law they'll pass the next time some stupid mother leaves a child locked in a car to die of heat exhaustion. Compulsory air-conditioning to run whenever a car is parked? Oops, Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

  5. October, 2015.
    A tree branch falls and kills a child in a school yard.
    So now all schools have to have all trees inspected annually.
    How many will simply have all their trees removed?