The owner of the Canadian day care center said to have its kids wearing helmets on the playground is saying the Global News misunderstood him.
Mircea Bailesteanu, owner Edmonton's Cambridge Daycare, was just interviewed on The Linda Steele Show. She asked if kids really had to wear helmets on the playground so they wouldn't trip and hurt themselves, and Bailesteanu said no -- only when they are riding on equipment, such as trikes. And, he added, sounding slightly beleaguered, "I didn’t invent this policy." In fact, he knows that the toddlers on trikes are low and slow enough that they don't really need helmets yet. But he thinks requiring them is good for habit-building, so kids grow up routinely donning headgear before they hop on a bike.
Then he added that, well, actually some kids, when they are toddlers, are particularly clumsy. "Not every toddler, but some." And for them, "it’s a good idea" to wear a helmet, even when not on a trike. One of his pupils currently does, because the parents requested it.
So we can see where the Global reporter got the wrong idea -- but also sort of got it right. It seems to be the parents, though, who think that bumbling is too dangerous for a toddler to deal with. Perhaps the kid has some issues, perhaps not.
Mostly, Bailensteanu sounds like a guy oppressed by pages of regulations that insist that, for instance, that the center also be equipped with elbow pad and knee pads (though no word on who must wear them, or when). Daycare workers are also supposed to make sure the yard is always free of hazards -- as if grenades may have rained down the night before. And it sounds as if there isn't a whole of play equipment either -- "We don’t have climbing structures," said Bailensteanu. The grounds is covered with rubber matting.Probably all because of regulations.
Now, considering kids have been climbing trees, riding animals, chasing animals, building forts and sometimes bumping into things since time began, the regulations sound over the top. A few weeks ago when we were in California, speaking at a convention of after-school program providers, many attendees told us they are not allowed to have any branches low enough for children to grab and start climbing.
So perhaps the Global newspaper got the story garbled. But it sure sounds like the basic premise remains true: This is a culture loathe to let its kids experience anything presenting the slightest whisper of risk, even tricycling with the wind in their hair. - L