Take Your Kid on the Bus Day

September 22nd, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized

NYC busOK, so that’s not an actual day, unlike yesterday’s Take Your Kid to School Day. But it should be.

We are late to Lisa Belkin’s fine NY Times piece from this weekend, about how parents worry about the wrong things. But I wanted to highlight the money section, as far as I’m concerned:

“The least safe thing you can do with your child, statistically, is drive them somewhere,” said Lenore Skenazy, author of “Free-Range Kids,” a manifesto preaching a return to the day when children were allowed to roam on their own. “Yet every time we put them in the car we don’t think, ‘Oh God, maybe I should take public transportation instead, because if something happened to my kid on the way to the orthodontist I could never forgive myself.’ ”

So we put them in that car and we drive — to the orthodontist, to school, to their friend’s house two blocks away — because “if I let them walk and they were abducted I would never forgive myself.” This despite the fact that the British writer Warwick Cairns, author of “How to Live Dangerously,” has calculated that if you wanted to guarantee that your child would be snatched off the street, he or she would have to stand outside alone for 750,000 hours. And while we are busy inflating some risks, we tend not to focus on others — like the obesity and diabetes that result when children are driven someplace when they could walk, or when they play video games inside instead of playing in the park.

We spend a lot of time on this blog rethinking the benefits of living a fecal-smelling metropolis when we could, for less money, live in the world of sweet smelling Kentucky bluegrass lawns. Sometimes we defend our Gotham a little too eagerly, other times we’re just beat down by it. But on this subject, New York has them all beat.  So much of raising kids in the U.S. involves hurtling down the highway with them at 70 m.p.h., and that’s even before they become teenagers whose peasized lizard brains tell them to get behind the wheel and text or have sex while driving on the freeway.

If there’s one thing I’m learning from my ongoing servitude to jury duty (only four more days left!), it’s that this city is awash in dime bags of heroin and loaded firearms. But at least we don’t have minivans.

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