When it comes to kids, what are we thinking?

For the last three days, it’s been open season on the father who — stupidly — lifted his kid over a barrier at the cougar exhibit at Como Zoo so he could get a picture of the lad. A cougar wounded the boy when it reached through a fence.

The always-entertaining commenters at the Star Tribune Web site did not disappoint:

Another cool picture might be if you put your kid on the highway centerline and the blur of the cars speeding by made neat streaks right next to him. C’mon…what are people thinking when they do things like this? Kids deserve better from adults. Especially their parents.

Boy vs. cougar is an unusual confrontation, and there’s no excusing what the father did here, especially since there were signs warning him not to do it.

But it’s not as if we don’t deliberately put our kids in increased danger from time to time.

Like with these things:


It’s a great invention that allows you to get your exercise while taking kids out for fresh air. But there’s got to be at least some elevated risk of danger to a youngster if a car strays from its lane. According to Parent Guide News, “Bicycle trailers are more often involved in collisions with motor vehicles than bikes with baby seats, leading to serious injuries and death. In addition, the jarring motion from regular riding can lead to injuries similar to “shaken baby syndrome” that might not show up as developmental delays until years later.”

Those things always remind me of the giant yellow pads behind MnDOT trucks that are designed to cushion the impact from another driver not paying attention.

You’ll probably pass more people with bike trailers today than men putting their toddlers near cougars.

Over the weekend, I saw a youngster of about 7 riding on a motorcycle with his, presumably, father. On a per-mile-driven basis, people on motorcycles are 37 times more likely to die in a crash than people in a car. But nobody called the media — or the cops — on the guy for child endangerment.

On the bicycle trails near my home, I see kids all the time who are allowed by mom and dad to ride without a helmet, even though they probably know it’s safer to ride with a helmet than without one. But have you tried getting your kid to keep a helmet on past a certain age? Eventually, parents give up trying.

How do we determine what that point is that putting our kids in increased danger is acceptable? We must be thinking before we do it, because we do it all the time.