Monday, November 26, 2012

Scare Tactics

My friend Heather tweeted this :

I went & read the article, and it talked about how injuries from bounce houses “skyrocketed” between 1995 and 2010. It did NOT  go into how many new bounce house related centers were opened, or how many new bounce houses were made available to rent by rental centers, or anything else to address the relationship between accessibility to the bounce house and injuries, because that might be helpful and even factual, and destroy the scare tactic aspect of the whole thing.

In a time where childhood obesity is at an all-time high, and our kids are difficult to peel away from televisions and video games, does it make sense for us to keep employing scare tactics against physical activities? When the media attempts to take a compilation of data from a scientific article (this one from Pediatrics, the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) and make it into a money-generating news story, are they doing us any favors?

It’s stated, both in the actual journal article and in the LA Times piece, that guidelines for use are needed. This is partnered with a photo in the LA Times piece of someone holding a small child while jumping. The issue here will be that the one sentence in the Times article that talks about improving guidelines is overshadowed by “broken bones” and “one injured child every 46 minutes”. People will read this and think “death trap” instead of “I should make sure that my child(ren) is following the posted rules of use for this activity to reduce the risk of injury!”

Folks? Can I encourage you to encourage your kids to still bounce? To ride their bikes? To play like kids should play? Yes, there is every likelihood that at some point, your child will have an injury that requires medical attention. We all hope not, but it happens. Teach them to follow the rules, but encourage them to play with abandon. A broken arm is easier to heal than the long-term effects of obesity, and frankly, I’d rather have great memories of the bounce house than of a Happy Meal anyway.

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