All Of That Helicopter Parenting Has Made Kids Safer

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helicopter parentingHelicopter parenting, that crazy overbearing brand of paranoia, gets a really bad rap. We make fun of mothers who obsess over their child’s every move, positive that any experience has the possibility of ruining their kid’s lives.

You know the mom I’m talking about. She always has hand sanitizer. Her child doesn’t just have on a helmet, they have elbow and knee pads on to take a walk around the block. She knows the safety ratings on the various types of socket covers. We’ve rolled our eyes at this mom before, even when we didn’t mean to.

Well it looks like we owe helicopter moms a little bit of an apology.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention just released information showing that the death rate for children from accidents has dropped 30% in the last decade. The New York Times specifies:

“In the wake of those better car seats and new laws slowing the rate at which teenage drivers take the wheel unsupervised, there has been a 41 percent drop in traffic fatalities. Deaths from drowning, falls and fires are down as well, while suffocation rates, especially for infants, are up, suggesting a need to return to the basics of infant sleep: on their backs, on firm surfaces, away from soft bedding.”

I think that there’s a really good point to make here. People weren’t overparenting because they enjoyed hovering on their children’s every move. Most adults don’t enjoy thinking about the worst possible scenario and living in fear that their child will be hurt – or worse. Helicopter parenting gained prevalence because moms and dads wanted to keep their children safe.

And it looks like they’ve succeeded. All that fighting for better consumer safety information, for increased awareness and for stricter product regulation has made life safer for our children. That’s something that every helicopter parent should be proud of.

I think this information can just go to prove that all parenting philosophies have merit when they’re approached with logic and moderation. Helicopter parents aren’t trying to destroy fun and sow fear, they’re trying to make the world a safer place. And guess what? They did just that.

(Photo: Hiawatha Project)


  1. Rachael

    April 29, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Umm, there’s a difference between wanting a proper safety seat and putting a helmet on your kid whenever you leave the house. This isn’t helicopter parenting, it’s common sense.

    • Jen

      April 29, 2012 at 8:25 pm

      Totally agreed! Helicopter parents are the ones who freak out on coaches when their oh so special snowflake is doing tumbles in gym class without help or when they aren’t getting “enough” time on the court (I’ve seen this happen), who will not let their kid play in dirt or pick up a rock and who later in life will call the dean at their child’s college to complain about a professor being “mean”. Keeping up to date on safety guidelines and attempting to keep your household/car up to standards is just called “parenting” as far as I’m aware.

  2. Another Steph

    April 29, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Yeah, what you described isn’t helicopter parenting. I’m a free range parent and I follow car seat and seat belt laws and slept my son on his back. What Rachael said – common sense.

  3. Heather

    April 30, 2012 at 6:39 am

    Just because one thing exists and a second thing happens does not mean that 1 causes 2. Hello, logical reasoning, look into it!

  4. Shannon

    May 1, 2012 at 1:01 am

    This is so silly. What this article is referring to is not helicopter parenting, but general parenting. Don’t most of us parents put our little ones in car seats and try to prevent them from burning themselves or falling in swimming pools? This article makes he assumption that if you aren’t a helicopter parent, you must be a negligent one, failing to account for anything in between. The author also makes the common but erroneous assumption that correlation equals causation.

    In addition, there are numerous consequences to helicopter parenting that are extremely difficult to measure. In general, these kids grow into adults who are ill- equipped to handle the real world, since they have grown accustomed to someone shielding them from life’s atrocities from the time they we’re born. This lack of resiliency has huge ramifications for these individuals in college, the work place, relationships, etc…ramifications that don’t necessarily show up on the Center of Disease Control’s most recent statistics.

    Jean Twenge’s “Generation Me” is an excellent book on this topic. She has done a wonderful job at identifying many of the maladaptive outcomes of this “hovering” parenting mentality.

    • Kate

      May 1, 2012 at 8:54 am

      Very well said Shannon (and the rest of the comments as well). I totally agree.

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