We can install all the safety gates, bumpers, and locks in the world, learn CPR, and do thousands of other things to try to keep our children safe ... but accidents still happen. Of course, we can also worry ourselves sick if we try to plan for every little what-if, but it's difficult not to at least try when you hear stories like the following two cases.
The first happened in England a couple of years back but is currently in court. It involves a 2-year-old boy, Lee Hardy, who was crushed when a television set fell from a dresser and landed on top of him. One minute he was a curious toddler meandering around his family's home, then next the dresser and television toppled, and he was gone.
The second happened just earlier this week and also involves a television. A 7-year-old California girl was at church with her mom and siblings attempting to move a television. Somehow it fell off the stand, hit her on the head, and killed her. Just like that.
Could these incidents been prevented? Perhaps if the dresser was bolted, or if the TV wasn't on the dresser, or if an adult was helping them move the TV, or a million other what-ifs. But in the end, they were accidents; accidents that can happen to any of us at anytime.
It's one of the most frightening aspects of parenting, and I know if we spend too much time dwelling on it, we will be paralyzed by it. Still I find myself drawn to these stories because as much as they frighten me, they also inform. Sometimes it takes tragedy for us to remember to get out that kit to bolt the dresser to the wall, or that we do need to supervise our children when they're moving heavy objects. Sometimes these stories do prevent similar tragedies in the future.
But once we take those precautions, another horrific headline will come out about someone choking to death on popcorn, or drowning in puddle, or getting killed by a pitch in a Little League game. The simple -- and frightening -- fact is that we can't prevent every accident and we can't beat ourselves up for every one that happens.
I envy parents who at least appear not to worry as much as I do. I question if they're just good at faking it or have really figured out how to relax a bit. I try my best to do the same ... and to try to get at least a little sleep at night.
Do stories like these make you worry more as a parent?
Image via Eli Hodapp/Flickr