Maybe helicopter parents aren’t so bad: Death rate from accidents for kids drops nearly 30 percent this decade

Today’s parents get made fun of for hovering around their kids, but a new report from the Centers for Disease Control says that those five-point harnesses and those bike helmets are keeping this generation of kids safer.

From The New York Times:

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report this week showing that while accidental injuries remain the leading cause of death for children from 0 to 19 years old, the death rate for children from accidents has dropped nearly 30 percent in the last decade.”

“In the wake of those better car seats and new laws slowing the rate at which teenage drivers take the wheel unsupervised, there has been a 41 percent drop in traffic fatalities. Deaths from drowning, falls and fires are down as well, while suffocation rates, especially for infants, are up, suggesting a need to return to the basics of infant sleep: on their backs, on firm surfaces, away from soft bedding.”

“Hovering isn’t the goal, but keeping children safe is. Car seats work only if they’re buckled, and helmets work only if they’re worn: even with dramatic improvements, more than 9,000 families lost a child to a preventable injury in 2009. Parents don’t really want to keep their children in bubble wrap (or maybe they do, but the suffocation risk looms). We want to keep all the fun in childhood, but with a whole lot less mortal danger. And no matter how much our own parents tease, we’re going to do everything we can to see how low those numbers can go.”

So what do you think: Are the helmets, the car seats, the hovering worth it if you can lower children’s death rates from accidents by 30 percent?

27 comments Add your comment

Aunt Shell

April 26th, 2012
11:25 am

Helicopter parenting and the use of bike helmets and car seats are not the same thing.

Jimmy Crack Corn

April 26th, 2012
11:34 am

I didn’t have helicopter parents……Mine were submarine parents because they were always going down on each other.


April 26th, 2012
11:35 am

Aunt Shell has said exactly what I was going to say.Basic safety measures are NOT helicoptering!

K's Mom

April 26th, 2012
11:36 am

Amen Aunt Shell. Protecting your kid with a car seat in a vehicle is far different than going to a job interview with them and making sure they never experience strife in life! I am still not convinced bike helmets are needed, but I guess I will make my kids wear them….


April 26th, 2012
11:44 am

Aunt Shell stated my thoughts exactly.


April 26th, 2012
12:00 pm

Check mark Aunt Shell here too.


April 26th, 2012
12:02 pm

I vote for Aunt Shell. That’s the exact response I had.


April 26th, 2012
12:16 pm

K’s Mom, I know a little girl who is in the hospital this week with a severe concussion after hitting a rough patch in a bike path at the top of a hill, flying over the handle bars, and landing on her head. She was wearing a helmet and is expected to make a full recovery within a few weeks. Without the helmet, she would likely be facing a far more grim prognosis (if she survived). Please do make your children wear helmets while riding.


April 26th, 2012
12:49 pm

Most children are so “hard headed” the use of helmets is a moot point.


April 26th, 2012
12:52 pm

While driving I do not allow my children to wear these so called “safety belts” as I would rather they be thrown clear of the accident scene.

K's Mom

April 26th, 2012
2:09 pm

@HB, I know you are right…I just grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and did less than intelligent things on bikes with no helmet and turned out ok as did my friends. My kids will wear helmets, but I do think some of it is overkill…


April 26th, 2012
2:28 pm

Here is a tip for the less financially affluent parents.

Disgarded halloween Jack-O-lanterns make excellent helmets for kids.

Voice of Reason

April 26th, 2012
2:43 pm

And yet human stupidity is also on the rise. Coincidence? I think not.


April 26th, 2012
2:53 pm

Another vote for Aunt Shell! A helicopter parent is one who does their child’s homework for them because they are “tired”, and runs their forgotten homework up to school because they “forgot”. A bike helmet is basic safety equipment. My husband has two crushed ones that were damaged in bike accidents, as a tangible reminder WHY kids and adults should wear bike helmets. It makes me crazy when I see a kid weaving unsteadily down the street with his helmet popped on his head, unstrapped, and the parent is just cruising along behind them, with NO helmet. Then I remember that they probably know how much their brain is worth . . .


April 26th, 2012
3:12 pm

I have a friend who will not allow her children to chew gum……..she’s afraid they will choke on it….


April 26th, 2012
3:29 pm

ditto about the bike helmets, especially if your child is sharing the road with cars. I get what K’s mom is saying because we lived on our bikes when I was a kid. A bunch of us got scraped up on the hands, knees and elbows but never a head injury. My kids don’t wear them around my house. We have a gravel drive and lots of grass. Still it scares me when they come flying down the one part of our driveway that is concrete without a helmet. I know I will never forgive myself if they ever get hurt doing this. I’ll never forgive myself if they break their necks on the trampoline either. Always said I’d never had one, but they sure do have fun on it. If we lived in a subdivision, my kids would be required to wear helmets. They already wear them if we ride outside of our property.

At what point do you call it helicopter parenting? I once had a friend bring her 2 yr old over and she insisted the kids play on the grass. Didn’t want her daughter anywhere near the driveway “in case she falls I don’t want her to get scratched up”.

There is a difference between not wanting you child to get hurt and not wanting him or her to get “dead”. Bike helmets and seat belts keep them alive.

Another thing , since we are talking about child injuries. In Cobb County in the past 6 weeks or so we have had at least 6 kids fall out of a window or off of a balcony. These kids have fallen anywhere from 10 – 25 feet. Many of them hit concrete or hard dirt. All were toddlers 1-3 yrs. All survived with very few injuries. Please make sure and tell your friends with toddlers to make sure that children don’t have access to open windows or balconies. The main problem is the screens popping out when kids lean into them. Seriously it seems like every day I’m at work one of these calls comes in. I keep thinking there needs to be a public service announcement about this.

Voice of Reason

April 26th, 2012
3:41 pm

We used to hang upside down on the monkey bars that were installed over, YEP, you guessed it, CONCRETE! And yet not one kid ever fell off and died that I can remember.

Do you know what hanging precariously over concrete taught us? TO BE EXTRA CAREFUL!

Shocker, I know….but let’s put a helmet on the kid so they don’t have to think about being careful anymore.

It’s no wonder the kids in other countries are so much smarter than ours….I bet they don’t have to wear helmets to ride a damn bike.


April 26th, 2012
4:21 pm

Hovering and helmets are NOT in the same category…IMHO.

I too hung upside down on the monkey bars over concrete and slid down those tall metal slides stepping onto the concrete. I walked to my bus stop….4 blocks away in Chicago, at age 5…all alone. I also drove a 1966 Ford back and forth to work at Wal Mart on Arkansas country roads in HS….without a seatbelt. I phoned my parents about once a month from college and had a fit when they sent them my grades, even though I had a 3.67, since they contributed nothing to my college education. I got $1000 when I graduated in 1982. I support my kids much more than my parents supported me but they are learning to deal with life on their own. It starts when they are small and then they work their way up. I am there for advice but they need to solve the problems themselves and have mostly done a pretty good job with it.


April 26th, 2012
4:23 pm

My husband survived a bicycle accident without a head injury due to a helmet. He was riding down a path – not on the street – so no cars around. He broke his collar bone, and cracked his helmet. If it hadn’t been the helmet, it would have been his head.
So yes, we should wear helmets.
I do think a lot of the safety stuff is overkill, but that’s the way it goes.
Helicoptering refers more to not trusting yourself to teach your children how to act – so you do everything for them – they don’t have any confidence in themselves and don’t know how to act in the real world.
Totally different from keeping them safe.


April 26th, 2012
6:07 pm

Children should be kept indoors and spoon fed baby cereal until they reach the age of 18. That way no one gets hurt.


April 26th, 2012
10:03 pm

If you put the bike helmet on your kids and let them ride off on their own -then that’s great. If you won’t let your 12 year old leave the driveway on his bike, with or without a helmet -that’s a helicopter parent.


April 27th, 2012
7:27 am

One of my favorite blogs is in India. It’s Jeevan Kuruvilla’s The Learner

His hospital is starting construction on a new Burn Unit. Our regional pediatric hospital eliminated our Burn Unit because the demand was so low. Children, the highest risk demographic, are less commonly victims of the severe burns that require long term inpatient treatment. In Ohio. It’s not because of helicopter parents, because there really aren’t that many of them. It’s because of more regulation, better public awareness and safer products.

In India, this isn’t the case.
(Oddly, what would scare most of us First Worlders about India is the venomous snakes. Sure enough, people get bitten by them – and get antivenin and survive. The really frightening things are TB, tetanus and childbirth.)


April 27th, 2012
3:47 pm

Whenever this issue comes up, a lot of people respond by saying, “Well I did _______ when I was a kid and I turned out okay.”
That’s great for you, glad you survived, but guess what? Not every kid was okay. Your idyllic memories of a ‘free-range’ childhood don’t tell the whole story. Some kids were seriously harmed or even killed by preventable injuries, and the number was high enough that we now take steps to keep it from happening to more kids.


April 27th, 2012
4:12 pm

Unfortunately those same kids now live in fear of everything, are willing to give up even more freedom and liberty when the totalitarian government tells them to (for their safety of course), are unwilling to take risks (and see success), and generally are a bunch of useless bags of flesh that are unprepared to take back this country or lead this country in the right direction.

Kids who get hurt learn from their mistakes. Kids who are never allowed to learn, never learn how to learn. There are unforseen consequences to the babying that these kids are being subjected to.


April 27th, 2012
4:26 pm

Let’s also not forget that parents have become weaker for the changes too. They bolt their kids into safety seats and drive worse than our parents ever would have thought to drive when we were flying all over the car unbuckled. They track their kids with GPS so the kids never learn about independence or growing up. They pad everything, insulate everything, cover everything and then wonder where the reckless behavior of their children comes from (news flash – they never learned that dangerous activities can actually hurt them). They live in constant fear of their inabilities to be good parents and allow every government idiot to convince them to drug their children, label their children, fingerprint their children, track their children, vaccinate their children, and otherwise give up their children’s future liberty and freedom all in hopes of “saving one child.” They have helped lay down the foundation of the crumbling society we now live in.

[...] Maybe helicopter parents aren't so bad: Death rate from accidents for kids … – Atla… [...]


April 30th, 2012
8:44 am

I am just glad that I grew up with the eagles and not the rabbits.
In my own turn, I am raising an eaglet, and all of the indications are that he will fly and climb higher than dad, possibly a truly great adventure awaits him. He is accomplishing it himself, because dad and mom made him believe it is possible…his birthright, so to speak. I hope he climbs K2 or Everest one day, and while dad can still be at base camp. Helicopters don’t fly that high.