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Rocka-bye baby

You know, I'm going to disagree with the anti-nanny-staters over at Dr. Helens on their conclusions about this napping babysitter story. The comments are all along the lines of "these things happen" (toddlers escaping from an adult's care and getting injured -- or in this case killed -- before the adult was even aware that they were gone), and that society has become too overprotective about kids, yadda yadda. I agree that society has become too neurotically overprotective about kids, at least about anything they may do that makes grownups feel bad (drug your kids to the eyeballs so you won't have to worry that their poor performance in school and discipline problems are your fault, wrap playgrounds in foam rubber and then keep the kids inside anyway, etc.); I disagree that there was nothing wrong with the babysitter taking a nap while two toddlers were in her care.

It would be one thing if it had been the mother. Mothers of toddlers get a pass because they haven't slept since they've given birth. However, if you aren't the parent of the child you agree to take care of, it is generally understood that you have an extra layer of responsibility -- and that since you don't tend this child 24/7, you should have had enough rest to be able to handle your responsibilities. The news story gives very few details, so we don't know if the girl (who was eighteen, not all that young) had some compelling reason for being tired -- such as she was working other jobs or studying for a test, or the parents of the children had been over-using her services. But that still wouldn't absolve her of the responsibility for the children, and no matter how much she may have needed the money if she was too tired to stay awake she should have called the parents, and if she was already working other jobs etc., she should not have been babysitting in the first place. I don't know what sort of charges should be levelled, but let's not start blatting on in a kneejerk way about "the nanny state" in this case.

(Via a rather misleading post of Instapundit's -- he made it sound as if someone got in trouble for letting some kids take a nap.)

Comments (1)

Jeffro [TypeKey Profile Page]:

I caused my parents untold grief from my wanderings as a tot. I grew up on a farm, so keeping an eye on me was kinda tough on my mother. I can remember hiding in the ditch holding my dog down when my neighbor drove by looking for me.

It all stopped when my father found me, and chased me home with a switch applied firmly to my butt any time I slowed down and cried about it. I was about a half mile from the house, and never strayed without permission after that. Of course, my father was probably abusing me, as I wasn't wearing protective gear.

My sis went missing once for a day - they even had a plane up looking for her. She wandered back that evening, saying she had been with the cows - the only cattle at the time were about two miles away.
She never wandered after that, either.

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Don't worry, he's just chopping broccoli.


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