Let's talk risk today....
I believe risk taking is a very individualized concept. What is acceptable risk for one person may be completely unacceptable to another - And that is absolutely ok, EXCEPT (in my opinion), when it comes to acceptable risk for our children. As an adventurous parent, my kiddos participate in some activities that may make other parents shudder. But their safety is never compromised and is always the top priority.
Recently I came across a post from a fellow outdoor family blogger discussing the "downsides of helmets" and quite honestly I was pissed off. They proceeded to quote studies that supposedly show that without exposing our children to "risky play" they will develop phobias. And I can wholeheartedly agree with that part of it, I'm not an overprotective parent by any means. But risky play does not mean directly putting our children in harms way. Allegedly, if your child is hurt in a fall before the age of 9, they will be less likely to have a fear of heights as a teenager... I'm not a scientist, but my children have no fear of heights despite having never been injured! What a concept - Exposing them to heights in a safe, controlled setting works too.
Flying high (Safely!)
Photo credit: Steve W Weiss
Stepping down from my soapbox (kinda)....
If your children rock climb, they should be wearing a helmet. Plain and simple. Why take the chance when serious injury is so easily prevented? If you take your child whitewater rafting, they wear a PFD. When your child rides their bike, they wear a helmet. It doesn't take anything away from the experience. Adventure can be accomplished safely.
There are all sorts of safety measures out there designed to prevent serious injuries while allowing us to still engage in so called "risky play" and crazy fun adventures. Today I would like to specifically discuss helmets. One helmet in particular. The Petzl Picchu helmet for children. It is the only helmet rated to function as both a climbing and biking helmet. From what I understand, it has the hard shell of a typical climbing helmet to protect from things like rock fall and the impact foam of cycling helmets to protect from side impacts as well. Why do I love this? When kids climb, their small size usually means they have to look for less obvious holds in between the ones we'd normally use. For my kids this often means wandering off route to one side or the other in order to find just the right hold to get them up to the next one. No matter how I set up the top rope, their wandering usually puts them in a position to pendulum if they let go of the rock. The bonus of the cycling impact foam for climbing means, if my kiddos slip from their hold off route and swing sideways into the rock, their noggin is protected.
Safe kids = Happy kids
There are so many dangers that are out of our control while climbing such as rock fall. At more popular crags you could have other climbers above you carelessly knocking down rocks (or carabiners or belay devices or cameras...). If you opt for more remote climbing areas, the culprits could very well be animals knocking rock down onto you. Unless you stick to the climbing gym, this is a very real hazard that could cause serious damage to little heads if you don't come prepared. At the end of the day, I want my children to walk away uninjured and with a smile on their face. I want them to experience the fun and magic of climbing right now, the pain (finger locks, offwidths, alpine...) can all come later if they so choose.
Mom wears her Petzl helmet too!!
This helmet meets my families needs in every possible way. It's easily adjustable so my kids can even share one helmet when climbing. The sizing is specifically designed for children in the 3 to 8 year old range. It comes in either orange or blue and retails for approximately $60 at most outdoor retailers.
And now for the good stuff! You didn't think this was just a rant about helmets and safety did you? Petzl has graciously provided me with an extra Picchu to giveaway to one lucky kiddo! Enter between now and July 19th below using the Rafflecopter widget and one lucky winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be notified by email (so make sure you leave some contact info for me!). Good luck and keep it safe out there!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer - Per my request, Petzl provided me with a helmet for my kids and a helmet to give away.
All opinions expressed are 100% my own.