Monday, April 21, 2008

Parent Warning

I was originally going to post about parents that enroll their children in programs run by volunteers and how most won't get involved themselves even though they know that their help is needed. However, after today at the Aquarium I have to post about parents who DON'T THINK.

Now, for me it seems a pretty obvious thing that you don't take your child and hold them over a barrier that's meant for protection. Whether that barrier is against an immediate danger or against something that they may regret later, the barrier is there for a reason. In this case, it's an acrylic wall that's 6ft high to keep alligators IN and visitors OUT.

I've seen parents do this at Sea World. They lift their child up so that they can see whatever animal they are looking at. Sea Lions, whales, etc. I've also heard of children falling in and getting bitten (meer kats that bit a child that a parent dangled). So, WHY after all that's published out there do parents insist on doing it over and over?

I had a parent today help a 3-4 year old climb the acrylic wall in front of the alligators. Now, true, they're small gators. Only about 3 feet long. Only the same size as the child in question. The fall from that height into the exhibit would have hurt the child to begin with (the water is 3 feet deep, concrete & logs on the bottom). Add into that 7 small alligators and that child would have been hurt even worse.

The sad thing is that the parent involved, once I got them to put the child down, only looked guilty in that he got caught. Not that what he was doing was STUPID. I rarely use that word, I don't particularly care for it. In this case, though, it's highly appropriate.

I did chat with several visitors today that are very familiar with gators though. I was happy to learn that they KNOW that gators can move very quickly. They were also aware that gators can JUMP. Unlike the foolish father who would apparently rather his child be gator food.

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