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.
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