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A Family Cycles from the Arctic to Patagonia


Boise, Idaho, USA
August 31
Our family of four (with 13-year-old twin boys) dreamed the impossible dream and reached the unreachable star! On March 21, 2011 we pedaled the final mile to arrive at the end of the world in USHUAIA, Argentina! We spent three years cycling 17,300 miles through 15 countries starting in Alaska to get there.


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APRIL 24, 2012 1:32AM

Helicopter Parenting: What are we teaching kids?

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No parent wants their child to get hurt. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare to hear the wail of their child who has fallen and hurt himself, and even worse yet if there is no wail. We go to great lengths to protect our offspring from injuring themselves, but have we gone too far?

Parents are bombarded with frightening messages every day:

Around 10,000 babies injured each year from falls from cribs, playpens and bassinets


Safety helmets for children may protect our little ones from bumping their heads while learning to walk, but what else are they teaching the kids?

It’s enough to make even the most level-headed parent think twice about what kinds of protection devices they need.  Where there is a perceived need, there will be some entrepreneur ready and willing to make a buck off that paranoia.

Baby protection devices have sprung up, enticing parents to spend ever greater amounts of money to keep their children safe.

  • Learning to walk in a world of hard surfaces can turn a special moment into a heart rendering incident in a flash. Thudguard® takes  protection straight to the infant’s head giving you great peace of mind.
  • With motor skills that are not yet fully developed, what babies need is added protection. The Baby No Bumps Safety Helmet® is designed to protect your baby from harsh bumps on the head while learning to crawl and walk.
  • ‘The Oopsie’ Baby Head Guard was created as head protection to prevent the many bumps and bruises suffered from many falls whilst in the early stages of walking.
  • With proper use and supervision, SOFT TOP offers peace of mind for you & freedom for the young explorer.

Do we really need to wrap our children in bubble wrap to keep them safe? Will that truly work?

Seriously? Babies fall when they are learning to walk. It happens. OK, I’m relatively certain there is some small, infinitesimally minute number of children who are actually permanently injured or killed due to a fall while learning to crawl or walk, but isn’t that the risk we take when we have children?

Do we really need to wrap our kids in bubble wrap and put helmets on their heads to prevent them from getting hurt while learning to walk? Or playing in the sandbox?

Helmets while riding a bike or playing football are good, reasonable precautions to take. Wearing a helmet while learning to walk? Now that’s just ridiculous.

What kind of message do we, as parents, want to send to our children? I know the message parents who use baby helmets want to give is one of love – that they love their child so much they will do whatever it takes to keep their child safe.  But is that really the message the child gets?

Or does the child come away fearing the big bad world out there? Does the bubble wrapped child grow up with the idea that nothing is safe – not even his own home? Is the idea of danger permanently etched in the child’s psyche making him forever  unable to feel safe and secure?

Of course, there are no answers to these questions. The idea of baby helmets to protect our little ones from bumps and scrapes is relatively new and there are no long-term studies done on the effects of them. But still, it leads me to wonder.

The message I want to send to my children is that life is there for the living. It’s meant to be lived. And yes, living means taking some risks. Life doesn’t come with a money-back guarantee. It doesn’t come with an instruction book either. There are inherent risks in this thing we call life.

As I see it, the best preparation for adulthood is childhood. As children, kids learn how to take care of themselves by getting hurt. Little Johnnie touches a hot stove and gets burned – and learns that the stove is hot and to avoid it in the future. Missy cuts herself with a knife and learns to be careful around sharp blades. All kids fall down and hurt themselves. And hurt themselves again. And again. Through it all, they learn about their world and how to prevent those painful episodes.

If we take those opportunities away from children when they are babies, they’ll grow up without those lessons. All of a sudden we have an adult who has no clue how to use a knife, even though he’s got the strength and coordination to seriously injure himself with one. We have adults who don’t know how to safely navigate through their world – they’ve never been given the chance to learn those lessons.

Is that really what we want for our children? Do we want to guarantee them growing up “safe” only to jeopardize their future because they don’t know how to deal with danger?

Or is it  better to walk them through danger step-by-step in their childhood and help them learn coping strategies for dealing with it while they are still young and have their whole lives ahead of them?

As for me – I vote for the latter.

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Helicopter Parenting: What are we teaching kids? is a post from: Family on Bikes. Sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive your free e-book: Bicycle Touring with Children; A Guide to Getting Started.

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