Before I became a dad, I assumed that parents carried out one main function - raising their children to be productive members of society. This sacred duty, I thought, probably involved spending time with your kids, passing on important life lessons and occasionally motivating my kids to achieve more.
Oh, naive, base fool!
I now understand that my primary parenting job is to watch television and have the crap scared out of me by parenting experts. Oh, I'm still responsible for turning my kids into efficient cogs in the societal machine, but really there's not much time for that.
Right now, for instance, I'm confronting the twin terrors of deadly, unstoppable staph infections and the deadly, lurking dangers of lead-painted toys. And these are relatively new terrors. I was already juggling trans fats, childhood obesity, attention-deficit syndrome, Internet predators, child safety seats, toy magnets, stranger danger and video game violence.
I'm pretty busy just being terrified.
I'm on top of it, though. I'm slowly but surely removing all potential sources of danger from my children's lives. I've decided to share my list of the top four actions concerned parents can take to danger-proof their children's lives.
- The Outside is Bad - Circumvent the child safety seat problem and the stranger danger problem by forcing your children to remain in their rooms when they're not at school. If you must expose your children to the outside in order to get them to school, remember to apply huge amounts of sunscreen to their exposed surfaces. Also, don't forget the bug spray or you're just begging for lyme disease, West Nile and Malaria. Anyone is potentially a predator, so teach your children to avoid speaking with anyone. In fact, my experience shows that teaching children to talk at all just invites problems.
- Friends are Bad, Too - Generally speaking, I'd love for my kids to have friends. Unfortunately, friends are major vectors of infection, teen pregnancy and a love of hip-hop. Studies show that kids are 87% less likely to bow to peer pressure if they don't actually have any peers.
- Danger Proof Your Home - Over 85% of homes are built almost entirely out of sharp, 90 degree angles. Corners are dangerous. As a child, I once got my head stuck in a corner for well over three hours with permanent consequences. Only my special haircut hides the sharp indentation down the center of my forehead. I recommend puttying over the corners in your house. While you're at it, remove the furniture and replace the beds with fire-retardant blankets securely fastened to the floor.
- Remove the Media - Get rid of the televisions and video games. Burn that copy of Catcher in the Rye. Deny your kids access to most of the Internet because it's chock full of predators and, even worse, dangerous friends. Do allow them access to blogs because blogs are the best source of accurate lists of potentially dangerous stuff.
Well, that's my list. Use it well. I'm heading to the kitchen now so that I can throw out anything with corn syrup, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or sugar. It's tough work, but I'm doing it for my kids. Sure, they're pale, mute, friendless, illiterate and afraid of right angles - but at least they're safe.