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Sep 15

Child protection policy overkill

Posted on Sunday, September 15, 2013 in Family, Jobs, Philosophy, Rantings

I’ll start by going off on a tangent. They made child-proof caps on medicine bottles so that children can’t open them, right? I was on duty recently where an Emergency Medical Technician who is all of 25 years old couldn’t open a bottle of Calpol. My own kid, who is all of 3.5 years old, has no problem with this whatsoever.

Some rules can be very intelligent but not very bright at all.

When children are involved with an organisation and you are in charge of them (i.e. their parents aren’t around) these days you must be very careful. You must not take photographs of them, even though a rare opportunity my present itself where a butterfly suddenly decides to a-light on their baseball cap and you itch to capture a moment of rarity.

You must make sure that if a child is going somewhere, they must be accompanied by two adults of each sex. You cannot drive anywhere with a kid on your own, even if the parent gives you verbal consent. You must not be on your own with a child at any time under any circumstances which is weird for me because I prefer the company of kids. They have a lovely energy. Does that sound creepy or is this over-sensitisation?

This rule presents problems on First Aid duties.

“OMG look! It’s a candy floss stand! I’m there! Can I go?” and.. then… she’s gone.

Is a child on its own in a wilderness of people worse than a child with a responsible adult in a wilderness of people? No, apparently not…but I broke the rules when I ran after her anyway for I had no time to find a random man. I accompanied her to the floss stand, and chastised her for running away, and told her she couldn’t buy floss even if it was with her own money.

How much of a bitch am I?

It’s the skill of putting yourself in their parent’s shoes I guess. Maybe she had a dinner to go home to… either way she was here to work and not enjoy herself, and act responsibly for the sake of the uniform. I wish times were different. I would have acted differently if that were the case, but that’s probably my inner child speaking.

Like, for instance; last month I went on an Emergency First Responder course. Another member from my division went with me, but his eighteenth birthday isn’t until November so he is still very much a minor. I gave him a lift to and from the course which is miles away and definitely not accessible by public transport so his parents were very glad to have me take the ache from their back of having to separately transport him, and gave me a lovely ‘thank-you!’ card to express this.

However, what I did was to break the law entirely according to my company’s policies.


So now, let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a grey-haired man with fuzzy beard and steel-rimmed glasses. He was a quiet man, who loved hard work especially if it was to be carried-on outside. He disliked working with others, those lazy people who loved more than anything to lean on their shovels and speak nasty of others while dragging out days and wasting time. So, he requested every job to be his own, and this was granted to him because he always performed dutifully and put love into every job he did.

One day, this man was pulling weeds from a wilderness beside a playground. He had been working for five hours but he wasn’t tired, he was only just beginning.

The playground in question was a playground frequented by special needs children, from a special needs school just up the road. I know it well, for I bring Laughingboy there sometimes.

A child had wandered.

It had found itself in the adjacent carpark and when its teachers cottoned on to this and raised a fuss, the child locked down. It floored, and would not budge from said floor for love nor money. It lay, and it screamed if anyone should come close.

The gray-haired man with fuzzy beard and steel-rimmed glasses approached said kid with his wheelbarrow.

“Are yeh hopping in, or what?”

The child obliged. It climbed in, and allowed our gardener friend to transport him effortlessly back to the bus. The teachers were thankful. The kid’s friends were thankful. I’m pretty sure that the kid’s parents would have been thankful too, knowing that they couldn’t be there to help and that thankfully there was someone with a bit of brightness to him that helped out on their behalf.

However, what he did broke the law entirely because it wasn’t policy. He could get sacked for it.


There are too many loopholes and scenarios to comprehend. I know that there are monsters out there, and so does ‘the man’… but how far does child protection have to go? Will future babysitters need to babysit in pairs? Will teachers need to teach in pairs even though the school budget doesn’t allow?? I know there’s a happy medium, I fear that we hit that happy medium about ten years ago, but now it’s just gotten silly and I’ve a feeling it’s about to become a whole lot sillier yet.

Please help me to understand?

Bring on the comments

  1. Celine O' Connor says:

    Valid questions. So Granddad broke the law when on the the odd time he collected Rianna from School. Shock horror he even brought her friend home too. What’s the answer? we carry on exactly as we did before the crazy rules were brought in. It’s not like We are going to allow complete strangers in to our homes to mind our babies. I’m glad we are getting on in years and not starting out in the neurotic World with crazy laws.

  2. Celine O' Connor says:

    I would kidnap that wee choo choo train for Grandad.

  3. Ginger Mick says:

    I am firmly of the opinion that the world has gone completely mad. I will be leaving it soon, and good riddence to it!

  4. Ginger Mick says:

    “riddAnce”! Bugger!

  5. Brianf says:

    Overkill was the right word to use. The insurance companies as so paranoid of being sued that they lay down these ridiculous rules to make every possible senario safe from any inuendo of improper behavior. Insuance companies suck and the damn sheeple just go along with all they dish out. It’s for the children!!!

  6. K8 says:

    Celine: Technically at the moment it’s okay for Grandad to collect Puppychild, but only if I give the school notice on the day. Besides, they know him well now after his epic speech and love him even though he won’t divulge the name of his blog. Different rules for different entities.

    Ginger Mick; Why where are you going? Is it nice? Can I come?

    Brianf; The sheeple HAVE to go along with it otherwise they get sued. No messin’ with the man. But, we bend the rules according to what is logical of course… but don’t tell anybody.

  7. Brighid says:

    I refuse to obey the rules that make no sense and can do more harm than good. Being a granny has it’s benefits, no one cares that you fly in the face of draconian laws…

  8. K8 says:

    Agreed! But working in an organisation is difficult. There’s instinct and rules, but the grey line is very thin.

  9. Ginger Mick says:

    K8, I hope to be heading for a happy land far, far away. Nice? I bloody hope so! No, you may not join me for many, many years.

  10. […] of three children, I know her, met her and her parents, and she has been an award willing blogger. K8 tells it how it is. Freedom how are […]

  11. I think – as I think you do too – that if it’s a choice between helping a distressed child and breaking the rule, the rule gets broken.

    Part of the problem is an exaggerated sense of caution that goes beyond the letter of the law. So to some extent it’s perception, rather than the rules themselves, that is faulty.

    And as you said to Celine. these rules tend to apply only to organised or formal roles. So ad hoc arrangements with friends are not covered.

    I witnessed a miracle on Wednesday. TV camera and a horde of kids in the one room for hours. But amazingly the Christmas tree was not knocked over, the windows are still intact, no broken bones, no missing children, just the one smashed bauble and they smiled on cue. A miracle.

    (I came here via GM.)

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