Good parents drive their kids to school

kid-biking-obesity-abduction

Good parents drive their kids to school … or do they? Lets look at facts rather than sensationalized nationwide news broadcasts that like to whip everyone into a fear-frenzy because its good for ratings.

Child abductions and obesity

All modern parents have had it drummed into them that its dangerous for kids to be outside by themselves because of the danger of abduction. A parent that allowed their child to go by themselves to the corner store or bike to school would most likely get a lecture from a neighbor about “responsible parenting”.  What is the actual risk of a childhood abduction?  Glad you asked!  Fewer than 100 are kidnapped each year in the stereotypical stranger abductions you hear about in the news and this is according to the Polly Klaas foundation which is one of the most reputable child safety organizations..

Good parents drive their kids to school!

Well, certainly 100 kids kidnapped each year is 100 too many so good parents drive their kids to school, right?  Not so fast – sometimes the cure is worse than the disease!  Childhood obesity is at epidemic levels and one of the main contributors to this is that kids are getting more sedentary every year.  Drive to school instead of walking or biking.  After school sports programs cancelled to save money.  Video games and smart phones instead of playing in the street.  All this takes a toll on kids.  Depending on how you count, there are between 100,000 and 400,000 obesity related deaths every year in America and obese kids grow up to die as obese adults!  Even by conservative calculations your child is 1000X more likely to die from obesity than they are to be abducted!  Now explain to me again why good parents drive their kids to school because I dont understand!

 

Child abduction statistics

99.8% of the children who go missing do come home.

  • Nearly 90% of missing children have simply misunderstood directions or miscommunicated their plans, are lost, or have run away.
  • 9% are kidnapped by a family member in a custody dispute.
  • 3% are abducted by non-family members, usually during the commission of a crime such as robbery or sexual assault. The kidnapper is often someone the child knows.
  • Only about 100 children (a fraction of 1%) are kidnapped each year in the stereotypical stranger abductions you hear about in the news.
  • About half of these 100 children come home.

This is a direct quote from the Polly Klaas Foundation website.

kid-biking-obesity-abduction

3 thoughts on “Good parents drive their kids to school”

  1. Scooby I’m not sure if you have children but no many how many zeros are put before the .01% Parents should still pick safer options for their kids.

    Instead of advising they shouldn’t drive their kids to school, advise that if they do choose this safer and smarter option, they need to make sure to take time to replace that loss of activity in the child’s life.

    Write articles about how parents can get their child active and not articles that seem to question their choice to keep their child safer. You said it yourself 100 is 100 to many.

    It should be noted that I feel you do have a valid point in loss of activity and as a long time fan I appreciate respect this website greatly.

    1. If I understand your line of thought correctly, Ryan, you’re saying that because there is ANY risk whatsoever of a child abduction, you believe the responsible choice is to drive the child to school.

      It’s awesome to see parents like you (I assume?) who are so concerned for their children, and your kids (I assume?) are lucky to have you. I would, however, point out two things in response.

      First, there is an assumption here that, if there is any risk of child abduction, then the child walking alone is the more dangerous option. I challenge this assumption. There is risk involved in driving your child to school as well, and you don’t even need to consider what Scooby is talking about. How many kids die in traffic accidents each year on their way to school? I’m not going to look the number up, but I bet it’s more than ‘0.’

      Second, life involves taking risks. Achieving things in life involves taking greater risks than are strictly necessary to survive. In the situation we contemplate, sending the child to school at all involves risk to the child whether you drive them or not. How many kids die in school shootings? Accidents? (“no matter how many zeros are put before the .01%, Parents [sic] should still pick safer options for their kids.”) Should you keep the kid at home? Home school ’em as best you can and never let them leave the house? Of course not! The mere existence of risk does not preclude an action! You have to weigh the risk against the benefit of the action and make the rational choice. Going back to the question of kids dying in traffic accidents, do you refuse to take your kids anywhere? Do you tell them they are safer just staying at home all the time? Of course not, they need to get out into the world to learn and grow.

      Of course, when you weigh the risks vs benefits of the kid walking to school in your case, you may find that your kid gets plenty of exercise anyway and it’s no problem for you to drive the kid to school. Maybe there’s no benefit to you at all, and so it’s not worth even the negligible risk we contemplate. Or maybe you live in a dangerous area that presents an exceptionally high risk to your child. But even if that’s true for you, it isn’t the norm.

      1. A few things….

        “First, there is an assumption here that, if there is any risk of child abduction, then the child walking alone is the more dangerous option. I challenge this assumption.”

        No. A child walking is a parent actively picking a less secure option this isn’t a matter of debate, it is not an assumption. You can walk with the child, or you can drive the child, but having them go it without a trusted adult or yourself is strictly and undeniably more dangerous.

        “There is risk involved in driving your child to school as well”

        There is risk, but it is risk that is outside the control of the parent.

        “and you don’t even need to consider what Scooby is talking about.”

        Yes I did, I told him the overall message seems to be child inactivity and it would be great to see him focus on articles about how a parent can get more involved, help them understand these choices do lower activity and what things they can do to replace that loss.

        “Second, the mere fact that an action involves risk does not mean it is rational,…etc etc…”

        This entire paragraph and is you going on about what if’s. There is risk, and their is undue risk, actively telling parents to take undue risk in allowing their child to walk to school should not be the message of the article.

        The overall message in my original comment is “don’t tell people what is the right or wrong choice on the matter of safety if the underlying issue is inactivity in a child’s life. Instead discuss how to increase activity in a child’s life if a parent takes the safer option.”

        I feel you have dived in sword and shield shining in the sunlight to defend this article. You read a comment you believed to be an attack on it and wrote a book in response without critically thinking why it was written or what it meant.

        I’ll end this message again with a nod of respect and appreciation to this website and Scooby. I’d love to see articles of ways parents can get more involved with their children.

        This wasn’t meant to incite an argument of who is right or wrong. It was a message to the writer that although the article had good intentions I felt it might have missed the original point which was the “inactivity of children and how parents, without knowing, increase that inactivity with these choices.”

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