Our children's world isn't as dangerous as it's made out to be

Cheerleaders up in the air during a game in Texas
Cheerleaders up in the air during a game in Texas

KANSAS CITY, Mo. _ The school year's yet to begin, and Jim Kelly can see the future. It's the kind that, if reason didn't rule, could easily prompt caring parents to hide the backpacks and lock their children away.

"Car crashes," said the Children's Mercy Hospital emergency room doctor. "We're going to see two or three a month with critical injuries to loss of life . . . .

"Concussions. Football. It's going to happen in the junior-high age group and high school . . . .

"We'll see cheerleaders with head injuries and knee injuries," he continued.

"Gunshot wounds. Sporadic. . . . Probably see more than we used to. Worst are the drive-bys. The child is an unintentional victim."

Who can blame adults for being scared?

"My parents still worry all the time," said J.T. Skoch, 16, soon a high school junior. "When I was little, they worried about me running off and talking to strangers.

"Now, it's car accidents, what I'm doing with friends, where I'm going."

It's time for some perspective.

Despite the trepidation that naturally arises when releasing our kids into the big, bad world, statistics show that for the vast majority of American young people, their world isn't as dangerous as it's often made out to be.

Tragedies _ car crashes, serious sports injuries, childhood suicide, water accidents, to name a few _ touch thousands of families every year. There's no diminishing that hurt.

But for most people, in most situations, the odds are good that all will be fine.

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