Being a parent is nerve-wracking. It’s hard to know when to put your foot down and when behaviors are breeching into “helicopter parent” territory. While many things in a child’s life should be looked at on a case by case basis, there are some things that pediatricians agree a child should never do. Here are four things that medical professionals agree are unsafe for people under thirteen years old:
- Riding in the front seat
Excluding young children who make the height and weight requirements to ride in the front seat, children should ride in the backseats of vehicles, in properly fitted seats. This may not be a popular opinion among young children—and you may see some resistance in the enforcement of this rule!—but front seat airbags are sized for adults. With the power at which they go off, they can break a child’s bones.
- Swimming unattended
“Unattended” can mean anything from “going inside to use the bathroom” to “swimming without adults on the property”. The CDC reports that more children between the ages of 1-4 die of drowning than any other issue. Even children who are experienced swimmers should be constantly observed near bodies of water.
- Have more than 2 hours of screen time per day
In 2013, the average 8-year-old had 8 hours of daily screentime. In the age of remote learning and therapy, the number has likely increased dramatically. Regardless, the CDC recommends no more than 2 hours of screentime per day for anyone under 17-years-old.
- Ride anything without a helmet
This might sound like a no-brainer, but kids should have their heads protected on any sort of unenclosed wheels; be it a bicycle, a pair of skis, a snowboard, a sled, or a pair of rollerskates. “Kids have a disproportionately large head compared to their body, so they’re more likely than adults to fall and hit their head,” a pediatrician explained to TODAY.