Safe Kids, Unicorns and Other Mythical Creatures

In honor of Safe Kids Week, and in support of the upcoming Safe Kids Facebook webcast on sports injury prevention, I agreed to write a post about preventing injuries in children. Because I am the World's Leading Authority on Sports Related Injury Prevention.

My husband is an athlete and aspires to have little athlete minions running around our home so I do the best that I can to keep our kids active and and athletic even though I am incapable of standing upright for more than five minutes without falling over sideways because I have all the balance of an egg and as much coordination as cooked pasta. But I write a mean line of code. Shut up.

However, in my now thirteen ohmygodkillmenow years of raising children, I have learned that there is one universal, undeniable truth...everything will break your children. Everything. There is nothing safe. All you can do is bubble wrap your kids and hope for the best.

Bubble Wrap

*Bubble wrap the outside, people. OUTSIDE.

Don't believe me? Let's walk through a few different types of sports and see what we find:

Swimming: I started the children in swimming at a young age because my husband was a swimmer, so naturally, he wants his kids to be swimmers but naturally, he doesn't want them to know that he wants it because men are confusing and I give up.

So we gave our kids the gift of water and this what water gave us back.
Yes, my son cracked his head open on water.
Yes, my child cracked his head open on water. It's a gift. We also got a hematoma on the frontal lobe of a skull and a toe with a disconcerting amount of skin that just refuses to ever grow back for our effort. Pool: 3 Us: 0

Gymnastics: They call it Tumbling to lure you into some false sense of security, like it's sweet and polka dotted and made of unicorns and Jujubes when really it is lurking in a dark alley waiting to jump you with a crow bar and rubber cement.

*You're welcome for not showing you the pre-stitches picture with the brain matter hanging out of the side of his head.

And if the gym doesn't succeed at poking holes in their heads, it'll just attempt to rip those cute little heads clean off. Gym: 2 Us: 0

Playgrounds: Get your kids outside! Go to the park! Slide down the slide! Break an EYESOCKET.

And if that doesn't do it for you, you could just walk around the slide, smack your foot against the side of it and break that, instead. The playground gods giveth; the playground gods taketh away.

Broken Foot

Or you could just let gravity take care of everything for you and spend several hours catching vomit after they fall from the 'mom, look how HIGH I climbed' part of the jungle gym. Because that's good family fun for everyone. Playgrounds: 3 Us: 0

Gravity in General: With every step you take you are snubbing your nose at 9.80665 m/s2 of gravitational pressure. That's, like, a lot. And eventually, gravity is going to snub you back. It'll probably be when your neighbor decides to play that 'toss your kid in the air and catch' him game, except he's only really good at one part. Or maybe when you take your kid out to play and he rips half his face off because his Buzz Lightyear costume broke after he jumped off a giant embankment, so even though he pushed the ba-woo button, he no fa-wy. Nature: ∞ Us: 0

Playing with balls:


And that's all I'm going to say about that. Balls: 3 Us: Depends greatly on whom you ask.

So I guess my point is this: If you can't keep them safe, learn to use a camera. If you can't use a camera, learn to keep them safe. If you want to learn to keep them safe, you can visit Safe Kids or join in their sports injury webcast on May 2nd, on Facebook. It'll be hosted by:

  • Dr. Angela Mickalide, CHES, Director of Research and Programs, Safe Kids Worldwide

  • Dr. Douglas Casa, Director of Athletic Training Education, University of Connecticut

  • Dr. Gerard Gioia, Chief, Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology and Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program at Children's National Medical Center

  • Steve Young, former NFL Star Quarterback and On-air Talent ESPN

They'll be talking about preparation through pre-participation exams, the importance of hydration, concussion awareness (possession-style vomit is your first clue) and acute and overuse injury prevention (which, sadly, I learned about the hard way.)

If I Link To Them Enough Times, Do You Think They'll Notice?

This Christmas, my boys received a very cool gift from their very cool Auntie.

This, friends, is a RipStick. A Ripstick is a two-wheeled skateboard, on casters. You can zoom down hills, take radically sharp turns, and once you've watched the instructional DVD, you can actually ride it uphill, from a dead stop.

PS: Chris, if you're reading this, go away, because this is what you're getting for your 30th birthday next month. Go on, scoot.

At Christmas time, these were only available through the website and Sharper Image. Auntie sent us one all the way from the US of A, and 2of3, well, he's got his daddy's perfect skin and his momma's coordination. For those of you who have never seen me try to take more than 3 steps, that would be none. In fact, I have fallen over while propped up against something, dead sober and standing perfectly still. Someday, if you're very nice, I'll tell you that story.

So, the Ripstick, by default and the laws of gravity, came to be solely 1of3's possession. Every sunny day, or, I should say, both sunny days since Christmas, he has been outside trying to ride this thing. I'll give the kid credit; he learned fast. He kind of had to, since his old skateboard literally disintigrated in the rain and his bike is, well, um, it's in his godfather's garage still. In DENVER. Because I am the shittest mother alive, that's why.

Needless to say, come summer-time, he was dazzling all the ladiez in the 'hood and scaring all the mommas out of their socks. Last week, he went outside with his Ripstick, and one of the neighborhood kids was all, "OOOOoooh!, Whaaat's thaaaat?" and he was all, "Yeah, whatever, it's my Ripstick. It's pretty much my favorite skateboard." The next day, that kid owned one.

The next day, that kids sister did, too.

The next day, every kid on my block (and there are a fuckload of kids on my block) had a shiny new Ripstick. You're welcome. Every kid, that is, except my little 2of3. But that didn't stop him, oh no. He begged, borrowed and stole and now he too is tearing it up down my street whenever the older kids see fit to share with him (usually right about the time I see fit to bake brownies, coincidentally enough.) Seriously, when they're all whizzing down our road at the same time, it sounds exactly like Armageddon out front on my cobblestone streets. Like a bunch of ziity, short, smelly goth horsemen skating in.

Much to my shock, my boys haven't taken too many diggers on this thing. It's so low to the ground and so swervy that you just just step right off it when you're about to biff it. Unless you don't. 2of3 fell, and fell hard. He came running in the house, SCREAMING, blood shooting out of his elbow.

"MAAAAWM! I-I-I-I-I-I FELL!!!!! *squirt squirt* I start cleaning him up.
" *sniffle sniffle* Mom, Austin totally crashed into me ON PURPOSE and made me fall!" No, no he didn't. He's your friend. "No, it was TOTALLY ON PURPOSE! He doesn't like me because I'm only EIGHT. *sniffle snort* " 2of3, I seriously doubt that. Tell me everything that happened, from the beginning. " *deep breath in* Well, we were on the Ripsticks playing Collision and tha...." *giggle* Um, you were playing Collision? "Y-eh-eh-eh-es. *whimper* " As in, to-crash-into-something Collision? "Uh huh" Dude, um, what did you expect to...oh, nevermind.

He totally tore his elbow wide open. The next day, he fell and caught himself with the same elbow. Brilliant, that one. And then 1of3 took a good fall and scraped up his arm. And then lost it and sprained his wrist.

(No chance Ripstick is going to google this and send me a free one for my kid now, is there? Crap.)

I told you all of that to tell you this: be continued. Yes, I suck, thankyouverymuch.

(Just kidding. Well, I changed my mind, at least. This is why I publish at one in the morning.)

Today, my kids went to Crash Crawly's with the neighbors. Which is, apparently, aptly named:

Impressive, no? Holy Fight Club, Batman. That should be fully swollen by morning, if I'm guessing right. So, to recap, my kids in the past month have sustained:

  • One black eye

  • Two open elbows

  • Several minor scrapes and cuts

  • A broken foot

  • A sprained ankle

The fact that I still maintain full custody of these children is proof alone of the existence of God, and not just that Flying Spaghetti Monster one. Over dinner, once the tears subsided and the stories began, I got the recap:
So, mom, this girl was totally climbing UP the slide even though there is a great big sign that said 'Please Do Not Climb Up the Slides', and it was the really fastest slide, and I was coming down and her elbow was right in the way of my face! Oh, no, did you duck? I tried to, Mawm, but she was right in my way! And then, and then, she tried to LIE her way out of trouble, but she got in trouble anyway. And I got a blue raspberry slushie and a ticket for VALID FREE ADMISSION next time. Fitting. Huh? Well, you got a blue raspberry slushie for a blue and raspberry black eye. *gigglegiggle* You're right! *touches swollen face* Yeah, I really like the design, but it's just so gross!

He really likes the DESIGN of his golf-ball BLACK EYE. He also reads encyclopedias. For fun. He's spent all day estimating rates of swelling vs. ice applied, calculating blood flow at differing pillow elevations, and eating bubble gum.

And we, well, we may never actually leave the house again without full body armour. Unless, of course, we had a new Ripstick to soften the blow.