Sunday, January 22, 2012
The costs and benefits of safety measures seem easy to measure, but we always give up something for actual and sometimes only perceived security. I wear a helmet when I ride, but it is not clear that helmet laws improve the public health. How many parents have spent how many millions of hours and billions of gallons of gasoline schlepping their ever fatter children out of some small risk that something bad will happen if they ride a bike or walk to school? Never mind the dependence, bred in to American children from the very beginning, that now stretches well beyond putative adulthood.
Work on a neurology or neuropsych unit for awhile. The kids who got their heads injured when you were a kid were sent away to special schools and you never saw them again.
That said, it may be that helmets provide no measurable benefit - most of the head-injured folks I work with got their injuries in a variety of ways, including some where no one would consider wearing a helmet. I don't insist on people doing things that look safer just because it makes governments feel they are doing something. But don't be quick to assume you see the reality here, or that the study captures what it says it does. The reality may have been shunted off into closets away from you.
Well, plus the "helicopter mom" thing is a red herring, as it is a problem of the affluent. Low income families can't afford helmets, ride their kids in the cabs of their pickups and other "last generation" parenting approaches.
What a wonderful, carefree picture. It brought back so many glorious memories of my childhood freedoms. The nanny state is pitiful and unimaginable. Use common sense and go for it. I'll never let the state tell me or my loved ones how to live or play. Also, laugh a lot.