Childhood Obesity on the Rise.
Too Much Screen Time.
Tobogganing Banned on Hill
Skating on Pond Banned
Parents Ordered to Remove Skating Rink From Front Yard.
Snow Fort to be Moved On Order from Municipality.
Do you see the contradiction in these headlines? Have insurance companies gone too far? Are Municipalities too afraid of being sued?
It seems that while one group is encouraging adults to get the kids outside to be active another group is terrified of huge lawsuits. Where do we draw the line? No one wants to see children exposed to unnecessary danger but it seems that safety is the excuse but lawsuits are the reason.
Lawsuits aside some of the headlines were triggered by complaints to police. Are neighbours so petty that they want to deprive children from skating on ponds or front yard rinks?
Near my home there is a neighbourhood rink, built and maintained by neighbours. I make a habit of driving home past the rink to see the people skating or playing hockey there. This is a Canadian past-time and all children should have the opportunity to partake. This evening I witnessed a Dad teaching his little one to skate on the outdoor rink. I hope that this is creating special memories for both.
When growing up my public school was near a shallow creek and the students, with letters of permission from parents would walk down the road to spend the lunch break skating. This same creek was the site of evening skating parties. Piles of old tires; another no-no for good reason, would be set afire on the shore. We would return home with our coats covered in soot and dirty faces but so energized from an evening of skating and time with friends. Our choice of fire starter was not good but the exercise could not be disputed.
Safety of our children is paramount but when does common sense come into play? The pond in question in a Toronto neighbourhood is checked for ice thickness before the kids can skate but it is now posted “No Skating” and recently, after a complaint, police issued fines to skaters. Tobogganing can be dangerous but by the same standard so is skate boarding. Many communities have built skate board bowls. Will these too be closed?
The sun is getting warmer and the daylight hours longer. It is a perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy some winter activities and hope bans, read lawsuits, don’t drive us back indoors to sit in front of the television and reach for the potatoes chips.