For many of us, summer and winter activities in our community include things like riding lawn mowers, four-wheelers, and snowmobiles. We are using them all the time and those of us who are caring for babies and toddlers may be tempted to give them rides as we go about our chores and recreational activities on these motorized adult toys. Along with others of my generation, I see the inherent danger in holding very young children with one arm, while steering, operating the brake, and operating the gas with the other.
I have been riding my father's four-wheeler lately. The steering has no power assist; it takes my two arms to maneuver tight turns. The gas is operated with my right hand and the brake with the left. I shift between forward and reverse with the clumsy use of both hands and the strength of my whole body while negotiating the shift lever with my left foot. Where would I find two more arms to hold a young child? Could I trust the balance of the child on the narrow seat between my knees as I drive? Would I?
Car manufacturers and our laws have come a long way since my own children were babies. I drove blissfully around without car seats and seat belts to protect them. But every once in while, when a deer or cat or bunny, or another car loomed in my path, my heart caught in my throat with the realization that I could have seriously mutilated or killed my own children.
I do not hear of any laws prohibiting operators of recreational vehicles, lawn tractors, or even farm tractors from holding babies and young children in arms while driving. But I when I read about the accidents that happen, I wonder.
Thank-you to Ruth Meszaros for suggesting this timely topic and to Steve Baye for the art in today's fingerplay.
Twinkletime Rhymes to Print