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A rally cry for tobogganing

Have you heard that some cities are proposing a ban on tobogganing? This issue has been making headlines lately. It isn't really a new story. The topic has come up each winter for the past few years. But today, Canadian parenting magazine Today's Parent published a story on their website about idea of banning tobogganing, bringing the topic out of the snowbank and onto the screens of people across Canada. And people got mad.

My friend Shana posted the link on my personal Facebook page. Which of course started a conversation amongst my friends and I. Here is what I had to say:

"It is ridiculous on so many levels. I like this quote from the article: "By banning a winter activity like sledding, it takes away from a parent‘s ability to teach kids to assess and manage potential safety risks." Slap a helmet on your kid, GO WITH THEM and teach them to be safe. Will they always be safe? No. They are kids. They will do stupid things. But holy crap.... kids NEED to do stupid things so they will learn. Kids NEED to get outside and do healthy, fun activities."
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"I thought you'd have an appropriate rant for this one!" Shana replied - with a smiley face for added emphasis.

Yes. Yes, I do.  You see, we go tobogganing. And skiing. And sliding down big hills just on our bums. We get outside and experience fresh air and the joy of going fast.  I've even suggested to you, reader friends, to get outside in the winter and go tobogganing.  Of course I've also told you to wear your helmet when you get outside in winter.

I could write a big, long blog post about the importance of getting outside. And I could write another big long post about playing safely. But a whole bunch of people smarter than I am have already written those articles. So instead, I am going to ask you to have conversations with your friends about this. Because what we really need is a lot of people talking and raising awareness of how kids NEED to get outside and how adults NEED to get outside with them to get some exercise, have fun, bond with the kids and teach them how to be safe.  We need to lead by example and show the people who are frightened of "outside" that the rewards.... the joy... of getting out there far outweighs the scariness. We need to make playing outside socially acceptable again. And we need to once again take responsibility for our kids and their actions when they are doing stuff outside the home.

So. My friend Shana started the conversation with me this morning. Then Ramona joined-in. Neither of them agree with banning tobogganing. And then I shared the article on the Sometimes Eventful Facebook Page and started the conversation again. That's when Margaret, David and Kelly had something to say...

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  • Kelly Ward What I read is they don't want them on city property. Likely some lawyer has pointed out a family can sue the city if they get injured. True, helmets help but don't limit the city's liability. I think it sucks and don't agree. Couldn't there be a way you toboggan at your own risk?!
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 2 hours ago
  • The Passionate Paddler What is this world coming to?!? So let me guess. Let's ban cars and driving next, right? Because we know how dangerous that is. Ridiculous. A big thanks to our litigious society. Instead of taking responsibility for ourselves and our loved ones, we are more than eager to blame others. (For money that is.) Sigh.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 5 hours ago
  • Margaret Bourne Gayle, I agree with you 100%. This ban movement is probably being pushed by a few very vocal parents who have banded together... without really thinking the issue through completely using their common sense. They may also be the types who would rather kids go off to play on their own, without, as you point out, the time and effort from the parent to educate and keep an eye on their kid's safety. I remember tobaggoning with both of my parents. They chose the spots that were clear of trees and with a decent but safe hill to go down. I only remember a few tumbles with no bruises or bumps. Also without the helmet. My parents were using their noggins to protect mine.
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · 6 hours ago

I started a conversation on Twitter, too.  But there, I took a slightly different approach. And that is when this very short, but insightful conversation happened, which sums up for me exactly why tobogganing should not be banned and kids should be getting outside and sliding down hills.

Indeed! You never know what will happen if you follow a kid outside. So let's start some conversations and make "getting out there" a part of normal life again.  

Start your conversation right here by sharing this post, or leaving a comment. Or, join the conversation over on the Sometimes Eventful Facebook Page or Twitter feed. Let us know what you think about banning tobogganing from city property.

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