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Columbus, Ohio
USA

Blog

Why injury? It's this simple: more children die from injuries every year than from the next three leading causes of death combined. Nobody knows this because no one is talking about it. In the U.S., one child dies every hour from an injury that could have been prevented. Around the world, a child dies every 30 seconds as the result of an injury. You don’t need to have a child to know that we can do better.

 

Child-Proofing Never Really Ends

End Injury

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My kids are normal…and it’s absolutely aggravating!

Last summer my 14 year-old daughter asked if she could have a friend sleep over. That’s pretty normal for just about every night in the summer time, especially with three daughters. We really like getting the chance to know our kids’ friends and watch them “let their hair down” both literally and figuratively, so we usually have a house full of teens.

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The kids have never really given me much reason to worry about them – they still ask before they eat junk food, watch tv, go to a friend’s house, and so forth. They get good grades in school, send thank you letters after they get presents (with lots of reminders), say “please” and “thank you”, and only occasionally raise the chaos levels to DefCon 3 or above (with 3 girls, it’s gonna happen sometimes).

So, back to the sleepover – that night, my husband had a hard time sleeping so he was tossing and turning like crazy. He decided to go sleep on the couch so he wouldn’t wake me up. About 2 in the morning, as he was laying there pondering the cobweb in the corner of the ceiling, the 14 year-old and her friend walked right past him on the couch and over to the bar we have in the dining room. He heard the tinkle of bottles and hushed giggles as the girls helped themselves to a couple of lemonade-favored adult malt beverages. Then, they went downstairs into the basement. Husband sneaked down the stairs and heard the girls in the bathroom so he decided to wait them out.  When the girls went back upstairs, he went into the bathroom. Under the sink he found the evidence, two empty bottles, of which the girls immediately denied any knowledge.

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The next 2 hours consisted of tears, begging, more tears, and more begging along with a long talk with the girls about trust, responsibility, alcohol dangers, and the fact that we would be calling the parents of the friend in the morning.

Besides being reminded that my kids are teenagers and are going to test limits, I was also reminded that “child-proofing” didn’t end when my kids learned to safely walk up and down the stairs. Now, all of our liquor is is stored in an attractive trunk that locks and the “beer fridge” has a lock too. It’s a little more inconvenient, but the peace of mind is worth it. Kids are resourceful so they’ve figured out plenty of other ways to push limits, like arguing about curfew and wearing clothes I hate, but those are battles I’d rather have and I can even let them “win” once in a while.

This post is courtesy of reader Kristi.

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