August 23, 2005 7:35 PM   Subscribe

Thudguard: proudly creating a generation of children who randomly slam their heads into the ground after not learning the do-not-hurt-head part of growing up.
posted by pivotal (35 comments total)
Why don't we just put them in big plastic balls and let them go wherever they want?
posted by angry modem at 7:38 PM on August 23, 2005

Can we give them those foam jousting things and make them play American Gladiators? Or would that be missing the point?
posted by strikhedonia at 7:51 PM on August 23, 2005

I wouldn't mind having one of these, tho -- wonder if it works? My neighbor's dogs are a lonely, hair-triggered lot.
posted by undule at 7:52 PM on August 23, 2005

Nice idea strikhedonia, I reckon toddler gladiators would be a much better learning experience for my son than wearing a freaking foam helmet around.
posted by pivotal at 8:06 PM on August 23, 2005

Good Lord - Malkin was right?
posted by caddis at 8:08 PM on August 23, 2005

My father would toss me in the air as my grandmother pleaded with him to stop. Then once he dropped me. Grandma completely lost it. I like stories.

Seriously though, when I talk to my friend in Colorado who says his whole family wears a helmet when skiing (and no, they aren't training for the Super G), or when I look across the street and see little tykes on their tricycles with bulbous helmets on, I can't help but wonder what I'll do when I have kids. All the children don't seem to mind, and I'd hate to be the one with the tough kid that can't count down because he wasn't wearing a helmet when we took off the training wheels, but I still have a hard time comming to terms with it.

When do we stop evolving as humans and start evolving as poindexters?
posted by furtive at 8:13 PM on August 23, 2005

furtive, the kids you see riding bikes are what? 5+? The kid with that Thudguard on is ~ 18 months.

I have an 20 month old, and he's constantly stumbling and tripping, but every day he's getting a lot better. He instinctively ducks under the corners of the table after taking a hit once. I'm betting if he were wearing a Thudguard he'd be beaning himself on that table until he grew taller than it.
posted by pivotal at 8:19 PM on August 23, 2005

My kids are going to learn to avoid power outlets and falling. If they get shocked and bruised once or twice, eh, kids heal quickly.
posted by socratic at 8:20 PM on August 23, 2005


Kids heads have survived for eons without helmets. On a bike, OK, but walking around the house? Get a life.
posted by caddis at 8:22 PM on August 23, 2005

My kids will wear helmets when the ask for them.
posted by oddman at 8:24 PM on August 23, 2005

i think it's better to kidproof the house than to put a helmet on a toddler (and they usually hate hats so how would it stay on?).

They make corner guards for furniture, too, so the kid gets hurt but not bloody or concussed or anything.
posted by amberglow at 8:29 PM on August 23, 2005

There's a 10 year old book called Risk by John Adams, which really changed my thinking about the subject.

As pivotal alluded to in his OP, products such as Thudguards and seatbelts may actually increase risk. In Adams book, he notes how after the introduction of seatbelts, there was not a significant decrease in injuries - it turns out people just increase their speed if they feel safer...
posted by fairmettle at 8:31 PM on August 23, 2005

Sheesh, when I was a kid we even played with -- gasp! -- lawn darts!

Good Lord - Malkin was right?

Given enough monkeys sitting at enough typewriters, eventually you'll end up with the works of Shakespeare.
posted by clevershark at 8:45 PM on August 23, 2005

When I was a kid we threw lawn darts overhand. I guess that is why they went away. We also shot each other with BB guns (no shooting above the waist). That pastime seems to have disappeared from the landscape as well. There is no more dodge-ball anymore either. Red Rover is likely right out. Kids don't cross the property line anymore without an adult escort. Perhaps helmets just fit right in to the modern life.
posted by caddis at 9:36 PM on August 23, 2005

You realise, of course, that helmet laws are being written right now.
People used to ride bikes, skateboards and roller skates without helmets all the time.
Now there are laws against kids on bikes without helmets.

It's all part of the Nerfification (tm) of America.

The war really bugs me on the right, but Nerfing America to the lowest common denominator really scares me about the left.
posted by Balisong at 9:56 PM on August 23, 2005

Jungle Gyms used to tower to the sky! Steel bars in concrete over pavement!

Now the playgrounds are plastic. There's even those real live nerf playgrounds at the mall. No nasty bumps possible there! Problem Solved.

God Forbid some kid decides to climb a tree!
posted by Balisong at 10:01 PM on August 23, 2005

What the hell is a tree?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:25 PM on August 23, 2005

Metafilter: Stop evolving as humans and start evolving as poindexters
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:27 PM on August 23, 2005

Fairmettle, you should talk to an (old) ER surgeon sometime.

He'll tell you that the introduction of seatbelts meant he didn't have to spend half his nights picking pieces of glass out of people's eyeballs anymore.

If you look at traffic statistics, you'll find that the number of accidents often stays the same, or even drops, over time, while the total number of kilometers travelled has gone up considerably.

Things like seatbelts and airbags really do save lifes.
posted by Djinh at 11:22 PM on August 23, 2005

And I await legislation from the left that will make mandatory helmets while driving.
And 4 point racing style safety harnesses like Nascar uses.

I bet it'll take 4 years or less.
posted by Balisong at 11:28 PM on August 23, 2005

And I await legislation from the left that will make mandatory helmets while driving.
And 4 point racing style safety harnesses like Nascar uses.

I bet it'll take 4 years or less.

Is the sky blue on your planet?
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:37 PM on August 23, 2005

In his book Mediated, Thomas De Zengotita calls it the "Justin's Helmet Principle": easy to make fun of, but once it's available it seems sensible, even necessary, to use it.
posted by blue shadows at 11:40 PM on August 23, 2005

You know, people could just voulintarialy start making everyone in the car wear a helmet, and voulintarily install Nascar style 4 point racing harnesses, and then there wouldn't need to be the push for a new law.
posted by Balisong at 11:59 PM on August 23, 2005

Anyone remember the Mike Meyers/Nicole Kidman kids-at-the playground skit from SNL?

"I don't love you anymore!"
posted by bardic at 12:46 AM on August 24, 2005

If only Kennedy had been wearing such a helmet on November 22! I think we should have George W. wear one, just for his protection.
posted by maxsparber at 2:08 AM on August 24, 2005

Djinh, they may save lives in the car, but a risk-compensated driver going faster will make a helluva mess of any pedestrian/cyclist they hit.
posted by scruss at 3:37 AM on August 24, 2005

As a coincidence, my Mom just sent me this email, in ridiculously large, colored type. Just one of those things people send to eachother.

1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays,
made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

And YOU are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

and while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

Yeah, goddamn librul lawyers! I lived back then, and look at me now! Well, actually, I only lost one of my eyes, and my polio is quite under control now. And I hardly even remember the name of that priest that molested me when I was eight. So thanks Mom!
posted by fungible at 6:11 AM on August 24, 2005

amberglow, I worked with a primary teacher once who set up indoor climber equipment over a hard concrete floor - I suggested we get the mats piled near by. She said, "No, all's that teaches them is that it's okay to fall." This of course does not absolve teachers and parents from vigilance and teaching children proper skills, but it changed my perception of risk even more than Adams book...
posted by fairmettle at 6:47 AM on August 24, 2005

The thudgard doesn't look very useful to me. But helmets for skiing, bike riding and skateboarding make a great deal of sense. A helmet has saved my kid from a concussion or worse more than once. He still got the road rash to teach him any lesson needed, but his brain was protected.

As far as that annoying email fungible quotes, tell it to the many kids with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. And, yeah, hitchhiking - great plan.
posted by theora55 at 7:42 AM on August 24, 2005

Gosh, I'm glad I grew up in the country. Play in woods, swim in rivers, not a protective surface or usually any adults to be seen. John got cramp in the Leny river once, and we had to drag him out, but that's about the worst of it.

We usually had one road traffic death a year, though.
posted by alasdair at 8:00 AM on August 24, 2005

Actually this is a very old idea. In the 17th century children wore pudding caps:

a stuffed roll placed on a toddler’s head and tied in the back. It was worn for the same reason children today wear helmets — to protect the brain from damage in a fall.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:15 AM on August 24, 2005

There are some special needs kids that have disorders that cause them to incessantly bang their heads on - well, everything. They need to wear helmets to reduce the damage they cause themselves. These obviously aren't being marketed at those parents, but perhaps it can provide them with an alternative to over-sized & ugly hockey helmets.
posted by raedyn at 9:44 AM on August 24, 2005

Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk is a really interesting book about the cultural history of risk assessment in many different arenas (e.g., gambling, travel, money, health). It's the only book I've read containing probability content that didn't totally send me into a math-avoidance freakout.
posted by matildaben at 11:26 AM on August 24, 2005

I remember chicken fighting, yanking each other to the ground from the cold-ass monkey bars with our legs. Then rocks in snowballs, deliberate crashing of bikes, leaping from roofs, etc.

It never happened to a friend, but I am sure somewhere, some kids got severly fucked-up or mortally fucked-up from such behavior, and I wonder what the trade-off is. On some larger scale are these kids sacrificed by chance so that the rest of got to live a little? Take away all risk, all chance of loss and what do we have? No much, not even cars, look at how many of us die from that behavior. And we have so little understanding of stats and the possibility that horrible things just may be our lot that we even attempt to fight it after the fact. Can't stop it with absurd prophylactic measures, alleviate the pain through a lawsuit.

I guess I only ramble to say "shit happens" and we should be glad it does.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 1:08 PM on August 24, 2005

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