Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Toy Inspection - Keeping Our Children Safe

“there's no harm in hoping for the best as long as you're prepared for the worst.” 
 - Stephen King, Different Seasons

   We purchased a used swing set about two years ago, and hoped for the best in fun times. Since then it's been a wonderful escape for our little ones. The clubhouse has been a tall castle. The slide a long ride to another world. We even decorated it with Christmas lights last year for fun. I remember being meticulous about tightening every bolt when I put it together. Within the first few days, one of the swing seats was tearing through the plastic, so we took it off and replaced it. Quite the responsible parents, aren't we? 

......aaaaaaaand that's where it ended. 

   I tightened the bolts one more time at the end of the first year, but really hadn't been up close to the swing set since then. The Wife and I are all about keeping our children safe. Our toy inspection policy has been rigid with the birth of out third. As she turned 1 recently, we're all over the inside stuff. The outside stuff, only on occasion. So when the day came that I heard screaming coming from the backyard, I had no idea what might have caused it. A bee sting? A sliver? Someone walked in front of another as the swing was coming back down perhaps? NOPE! It was a broken finger. (you can read a short account of the experience is in The Friday Dump #2) All my attention was on her injury. Urgent care that night, primary care the next morning, followed by the bone being reset at the orthopedic surgeon. I had no idea what might have caused the swing to look the way it did (pictured above). Little did I know the guilt I would feel upon further inspection. If I had only been a little more responsible along the way, there wouldn't have been a broken bone cause by neglect. 
   A day or two after the incident. I headed out back to take a look at the offending play toy. There is sat, dangling in two pieces at the end of each chain like some torture device. Upon closer inspection, my heart sank. My wee ones should NEVER have been allowed to place their precious tushies on those seats. The dry weather and sun had caused cracking that made an incident inevitable. If I had paid more attention to the condition of ALL the toys my kiddies play with, I may have cut down the chance of an injury a bit more. It goes without saying that I thought that my first broken bone might be from my tornado of a son. Yet it came from my first born daughter. NOT because she's the most rowdy of the bunch, but because her father didn't pay more close attention to the wear and tear of her toys. 

   The lesson becomes to take a few extra minutes to open your eyes. Get outside the norm and give more attention to the things you take for granted, or have ignored for some time. I'm will be vacuuming out the sliding back door's track, as their are several dead flies in there, and the baby is all about putting anything on the ground in her mouth. It's about paying more attention, and after our first broken bone, I will be trying to be more attentive,.....for sure.


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