June 17th, 2008 5:33 pm | by COREY PEIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP, City Hall

Advice From The Portland Nanny State: No Solo Street-Crossing Until Age 10 ... Among Other Suggestions

washing-babyA few days after a Portland City Auditor's report on the directionless Office of Neighborhood Involvement, Bojack has dug up a shockingly paranoid and unintentionally hilarious "Safety in the City" newsletter just released by the $6.5 million bureau.
What's most striking about the document, produced by two staffers in ONI's crime prevention division (salary range $41,000-$54,000 a year), is the level of condescension on display. That is, condescension toward the general public, on the part of the bureaucracy.
Or...are we really this stupid?
Hey Parents:
Did you know that summer is the most dangerous time of the year for kids? Children will be rushed to emergency rooms nearly 3 million times this summer during "trauma season," May – August. Don't let your child be one of them!

So far so good. Safety first and all. It's always fun until someone loses an eye. Etc.
Ride Safe!
I make sure all my kids have their own child seat or safety belt that's appropriate for their age and size, and that they sit in a back seat.

Buckle up. Got it!
I study both my vehicle owner and car seat manuals carefully.

Uhm...yes. Always. In fact, I photocopy every manual in the house and compile them into three-ring binders, one for each family member. We take quizzes every week.
Swim Safe!
I always supervise young children near water, including pools, spas, toilets, bathtubs and buckets.

Toilets? How young are we talking here? And spas? And who takes a toddler to the spa?
Walk Safe!
I never let children under age 10 cross the street alone.

Napoleon Bonaparte was a military cadet at age nine, but Portlanders aren't supposed to cross the street alone until 10. That's the fifth grade. If our children cannot grasp the "look both ways" thing by the fifth grade, then we have much, much bigger problems than traffic safety.
I suppose, though, that if you got pushed around in a freaking stroller until age five, it might take you a little longer to get up to speed. Remember: "Left leg, right leg, left leg, right leg..."
A footnote:
"This list is not comprehensive."

Indeed. What about these common summertime dangers?
• Eating too many hotdogs.
• Eating too many hotdogs, then swimming.
• Water balloons.
• Staring directly into the sun.
It's a scary world out there, parents. And it gets worse. Young children eventually turn into teenagers.
ONI's "Tips for Parents About Teen Parties & Alcohol" deserve to be quoted at length.
For Parents of Teens HOSTING A Party:
• Plan on being present for the entire party. ... Replenish food trays and the drinks often. Your presence will help keep the party running smoothly...

However do not hang around!

Instead, install a home CCTV system.
Remember it is illegal to offer alcohol to guests who are under 21 or to allow guests to use other drugs in your home.

That's right. Those "other drugs" are only for the hosts, thankyouverymuch.
• Educate yourself to the signs of alcohol or drug use by teens.

One sure sign: They want those food and drink trays replenished a little too often. Also: Track marks.
• Guests who try to bring in alcohol or drugs should be asked to leave. Be willing to call police...

But be sure to hide your own stash first.
• Guests should not be allowed to come and go. This will discourage teens from leaving the party.

That's right, kids: Buy the ticket, take the ride.
For Parents of Teens ATTENDING A Party:
• Avoid spontaneous sleep-overs whenever possible.

OK, seriously—Why is the government discouraging "spontaneous sleep-overs"? What possible purpose does this advice serve, except to encourage the kind of timid infantilism that makes people helpless before their masters? What would FDR say?
"This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...spontaneous sleep-overs. My fellow Americans, you must avoid them whenever possible."

More baby do's and don'ts (including the illustrations above) here.
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