My youngest son recently reminded me how difficult it was to grow up in the home of an emergency physician. All activities were ranked on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being almost no risk of injury, such as finger painting with non toxic paint to 10 being a good chance of injury, such as riding behind a neighbor’s car on a sled. There was always the reminder that high ranking injury activities would bring them into my ED on a stretcher. I was constantly telling them that the leading cause of death in children from 1-18 was unintentional injury and that injuries were not “accidents”.
Before the birth of my first child, I had childproofed the house with plugs in all outlets and no poisons in lower cabinets. I had posted the number for poison control on the refrigerator and removed all toxic houseplants. Bike riding was helmets only and when in a boat life preservers were mandatory. As they reached adolescence we had a driving contract which prohibited driving after dark for the first year. Since I had seen my share of underage drinking in patients, they were not allowed to stay with friends whose parents were not at home.
Did they have injuries…sure. Two anterior cruciate ligament injuries from team sports, a cut tendon from a knife, a smashed thumb caught in a car door ( A Volvo, of course) and an unavoidable auto crash ( in a 1990 Volvo).
So now that they are adults, I hope they remember the 1-10 injury grading scale when they are making their own decisions. We recently went swimming at a quarry with my oldest son and he was remarking how dangerous it was to dive off the rocks. I think he remembered.