If you could go back 50 years, you would see very few kids wearing helmets as they zoomed around on bikes. Who knows if, 50 years from now, bareheaded kids on the playground circa 2018 might look crazily unprotected. If so, we may have one particular daycare in Canada to thank for igniting the trend. Global News reports:
An Edmonton daycare is defending a policy that may raise a few eyebrows. It has asked parents to bring a helmet to protect children in its playground.
The policy also states it is the parents' responsibility to provide a helmet and to upgrade it in order to fit their children's growing needs. "You feel like you protect the child," daycare owner Mircea Bailesteanu said.
The center's helmet policy is this:
"It is also advisable for young toddlers to wear a helmet while in the playground because they can easily trip and fall."
The fact that toddlers are built to trip and fall—that this is a feature, not a bug, of learning to get around, know their body, test their limits, and practice walking better so that they trip and fall less often—does not occur to anyone looking at the process only through the lens of risk. That lens magnifies the downside of normal childhood activities, and blocks out any upside, including the fact that falling down is the corollary to getting back up.
We are arriving at a point where we define almost any negative activity—a splat, a spat, a boo-boo, a B+, a moment of sadness, fear, or regret—as something no child should be forced to endure. As if they are all as fragile as glass animals. Protecting children from being a child is not protecting them as they grow. It's protecting them from growing.