What’s Really Dangerous for Kids? Hint: It Has Four Wheels and a Tailpipe.
Now she's making the publicity rounds promoting her book, Free-Range Kids. In a recent interview with Salon, she pointed out that while many American parents are terrified to let their children walk a few blocks or ride public transit, they think nothing of driving them everywhere -- even though car crashes are the leading cause of death for children in the US:
Skenazy: If you don't want to have your child in any kind of danger, you really can't do anything. You certainly couldn't drive them in a car, because that's the No. 1 way kids die, as passengers in car accidents.
Salon: Rationally, why aren't cars the bogeyman instead of stranger abduction?
Skenazy: It would change our entire lifestyle if we couldn't drive our kids in a car, and it's a danger that we just willingly accept without examining it too much, because we know that the chances are very slim that we're going to have a fatal car accident. But the chances are 40 times slimmer that your kid walking to school, whether or not she's the only one, is going to be hurt by a stranger.
Skenazy's answer gets to the heart of why it is so hard for people to accept the many ways in which automobiles hurt everyone in society, perhaps especially children -- through crashes, through polluting the air, through promoting obesity. We can imagine a life in which our children are not allowed to play outdoors, walk to a friend's house or spend any time unsupervised. But we just can't imagine life without cars.
Or can we?