Wednesday, October 10

Collapsing Common Sense

It was terrible news at the Grand Canyon; just before noon yesterday a 4 year old girl fell four hundred feet to her death near Mather's Point. Witnesses said her mother was yelling for her not to move seconds before she slipped over the edge.

Now we hear park officials and media bites urgently reminding us to be careful around the canyon rim, and for parents to keep young children "in sight" or "within arm's reach". ~ Duh.

Accidents happen. I feel sorry for this family vacation come to a tragic end. But seriously, are you kidding? This incident reflects a generalized lack of parental common sense. Anyone who has ever approached the rim of the Grand Canyon can see it is big, it is deep, it is hazardous.

I cringe every time I see young mothers walking 10 feet in front or behind their toddler who is wandering absent-mindedly only inches from 45mph city traffic. People are not holding hands with children at street corners or other public places. One aspect of this problem appears to be cultural - too many young Hispanic mothers are not using a stroller for infants - they carry babes in arms and leave the other little children exposed to trouble en route.

A thrift store umbrella stroller is all of $5.00. A firm hand-hold costs nothing but the forethought to execute it. My mom used to have a tandem harness for my little brothers with a long leash attached! At the very least, parents can teach children to hold onto them if mom's hands are occupied. My kids can remember holding onto my skirt with a killer-grip. They righteously feared consequences if they let go even for a second.

Asia pointed out to me this weekend a happy come-back of the kid leash concept which for 30 years was much too offensive for White, upwardly mobile parents to consider ~ here is one example how to reign in your child while looking cute and fashionable:

While we do not know how many children were with the family in question, I am guessing they did not have more than what they could hold on to (including older siblings assigned to younger ones) especially if one was in a stroller.

We all wish this trip had a happy ending. A little common sense and safety instincts go a very long way.


cynthia said...

I have had nightmares about accidents like that. Mostly I have had nightmares after we have returned home from our trip and I realize the real danger that we had been standing next to with our small children. (btw,. . . they had no circulation in their hand or arm while we had hold of them.)

Anonymous said...

Early in our marriage David was hired to guide a tour bus full of Japanese students from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon. You know the stereotypical camera-happy Asian tourist? They were scary. Once we arrived at the 1st look out point - the Japanese kids bolted for the edge of the abyss laughing and jostling for a position at the railing.

When I saw them balancing on the rail, "airplaning" (only their stomachs contacting the rail) with head and torsos gleefully extended over a ghastly sheer drop so their friends could get a picture - I ran back to the bus crying and covering my eyes. I was certain someone was going over any minute! They were idiots.

Fortunately the tour returned to Phoenix with everyone intact.

Bandanamom said...

When I worked in West Yellowstone Montana, we constantly heard of incidents in the park of this type (dumb tourist moves). People letting their dogs drink from the hot water, children bending over to touch the water (resulting in loss of all their fingers), a kid jumping in the hot water after his dog and subsequently dying like his dog, getting gored by buffalo because you want to get up close and personal, attacked by a bear for the same reason, gored by an elk for the same reason, and the list goes on. I had grown up around bear and buffalo and moose and elk and I knew you DEFINITELY did not want to get to close. If anything we were always overly cautious. Tourists and especially it seemed for some reason, tourists from Europe or Asia were TERRIBLE about those kinds of things.

FYI, I used one of those kid leashes on Brennan when he was little because I just did not trust that kid to not run to the edge of the grand canyon and keep going.

Of course, I also lost my 2 year old Brennan when he wandered out onto 16th street and attempted to get on the city that more closely resembles the parenting in the earlier Cindi blog about the little boy in the street. He was brought home by a quite irate woman who got off the bus to rescue the lost little boy and had to wander around an apartment complex to find the mother or call the police. Said mother was busy running to the pool of the apartment complex as that was his usual bolt. She proceeded to invite herself into my house and check the lock on my door since I insisted he had just learned how to open it and please do not call the police.

I installed a chain bolt on the top of the door later that day and avoided any future incidents involving random strangers, traffic and my 2 year old.

Heidi said...

That totally scares me. I don't know what I'll do when Marley out grows her baby bjorn.

two forks said...

maybe those baby carriers aren't big in arizona but they are all the rage in washington dc, virginia, maryland, washington state and utah. all of my friends for the past 5 years have strapped on the little baby carrying cases (or some even strap their babies in mexico style with a sarape)