Let’s not forget that kids are allowed to be kids

Several cities in North America have placed restrictions on tobogganing, deeming it to be too dangerous. Aren't kids supposed to be kids?

The War on Tobogganing.

Come on, is that really a thing? According to a recent article in the National Post, absolutely. Several cities in the United States have recently banned one of my favourite childhood activities because it is deemed to be too dangerous. But that’s just the U.S., they don’t appreciate that glorious winter pastime like we do up here, right?

Not exactly.

Hamilton, Ont. has restricted sledding for almost 15 years, while a bylaw in Toronto has pushed kids off the slopes of a hill that was determined to be too dangerous. Edmonton and other cities have issued warnings when conditions are particularly icy.

Now, within reason, I don’t hate the idea of restricting tobogganing because it inherently does pose some risks. Certainly I wouldn’t advocate using a non-caloric, silicon-based kitchen lubricant on the bottom of your flying saucer. Clark Griswold showed us the dangers with that.

But to ban it outright? Isn’t a big part of being a kid to be able to discover some of the risks yourself? A few scrapes and cuts, even a broken bone or two, are all part of growing up in one sense, aren’t they?

When I was six or seven years old I was dared to jump off the top of a jungle gym while attending a summer camp. Instead of landing on my feet, I landed directly on my left arm. My arm was broken and I was subjected to a cast from my shoulder to my wrist for the rest of the summer. No more soccer, no more swimming, and certainly no more jungle gym acrobatics. Bummer.

But you know what? I learned a few things from that incident. For one, gravity is real and it is very powerful. I also learned that falling sucks, and that I was not indestructible, that I could actually get hurt. A kid will sometimes touch a hot stove, but just once and never again.

Later in life I worked at a summer day camp in Mississauga, Ont. When the temperature reached above 30 degrees, we weren’t allowed to take the children outside, supposedly because it posed too big of a health risk. Instead of walking 10 minutes to the swimming pool, as was the norm, we’d get in vans and drive there and back. Instead of playing on the playground outside, the kids would stay indoors and colour or play with Lego. At a summer camp, we were frequently banned from the outdoors because it was “too hot.”

Meanwhile, new housing developments are going up all across Canada with postage-sized backyards and gigantic swathes of indoor space, which is only compounding the problem of obesity in today’s children. Video games are now what road hockey used to be. But hey, no one’s ever taken a slash to the hand or a tennis ball to the groin while playing Mario Kart, right?

Being protective of children is great, but there is a fine line. Kids still need to be allowed to make the occasional mistake, take a bump on the head once in a while, and most importantly, be kids. Unfortunately over-protection is happening in playgrounds, day camps, and even on toboggan hills all over our country. Being a kid is supposed to be a time of education and learning, but especially a time of fun.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Your Columbia River Revelstoke candidates; Nicole Cherlet (NDP); Samson Boyer (Green) and Doug Clovechok (BC Liberal). The polls are closed and ballots being counted. (File photo)
BC VOTES: Clovechok preliminary winner with 52 per cent of the vote

35 of 77 polls have reported and The Canadian Press is calling Clovechok winner

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

Kelowna Secondary School. (SD23 photo)
One case of COVID-19 identified at Kelowna Secondary School

Interior Health will follow up directly with those who may have been exposed to the virus

BC NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu offered praise to her team of volunteers (pictured Oct. 21), following a too-close race with BC Liberal and incumbent Eric Foster in the 2020 provincial election Oct. 24. The outcome will be dependent on the final count from mail-in ballots expected in three weeks. (Facebook)
‘Every vote counts’ in tight Vernon-Monashee race: NDP Harwinder Sandhu

Incumbent BC Liberal Eric Foster finishes election night with slim lead

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO)
UPDATE: One dead after Highway 97A crash near Armstrong, police watchdog investigating

The crash happened as RCMP attempted to stop an alleged stolen vehicle

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

Most Read