One More Terrifying Reason Not to Let Toddlers Play Outside Alone

coyoteI don't know how it is that any of us survived childhood, let alone the generation before us. To hear my mother tell it, when she was growing up, kids were unceremoniously shoved out into the backyard as soon as they could walk. The closest thing to survival instructions our grandparents gave? "Go play. Be back before dark."

Can you imagine what would happen if we did that now? If recent news is any indication, our kids would be abducted/drown/get hit by a car/choke within five minutes, tops.

Or, of course, attacked by a rabid animal.


Like the 2-year-old girl in Weymouth, Massachusetts, who was bitten by a wild coyote on Wednesday. 

Sigh. Why, why, why??

Miraculously, the toddler is okay! She's receiving rabies shots as a preventative measure, even though authorities weren't sure if the coyote was rabid or not (its odd behavior indicated as much).

So this isn't as tragic a tale as some of the other stories from the past few months responsible for giving me and countless other moms nightmares. Still, it's just one more reminder of how vulnerable little kids are to the big, wide world.

But it wasn't always this way, was it? Or maybe this kind of thing has been commonplace for centuries, but years ago news didn't travel quite so fast and far and wide as it does today. In which case, was ignorance bliss? I feel like our grandparents and parents weren't nearly as angst-ridden as we are raising our kids now. On the other hand, maybe it's a good thing that we're more careful.

The perfect parenting balance to strike, I think, would be to have the relaxed, confident "kids are resilient" attitude of our grandparents combined with our current commitment to caution. All the safety measures, none of the paranoia.

Do you think it's possible to have it both ways?

Image via Jeremy Vandel/Flickr

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