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Risky Business

Why a Dose Of Danger May Actually Keep Kids Safe

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    Not too many years ago, when my kids were toddlers, we lived in a house with a perfectly straight main stairwell. It never felt normal to me, this staircase. It always seemed just a little bit longer and a little bit steeper than any other I had ever seen. Of course we installed baby gates at the top and bottom, but that didn't stop my mind from reeling, so every time I heard the pitter patter of my kids' feet near the top landing, I imagined—vividly and in slow-motion—the downward tumble that was sure to happen.

    Because I am a pediatrician, I also envisioned the end product: one of my children (perhaps both) bandaged, casted or, at the very least, bruised head-to-toe. None of this ever actually came to pass. Perhaps it's because we moved, but more likely it's due to a combination of luck, personality and my children's own cautious natures, no doubt inherited from me—and my husband.

    If my runaway imagination is bad, then my husband's is worse. Our friends tease that if he ever loses his day job, then he can go into business as the guy who sees bad things everywhere. When our kids kick their shoes off and run carefree on the beach, he sees glass shards that might impale them. When someone says skiing, he thinks about the likelihood of falling off a chairlift. When we go for sushi, he eats tempura. Don't even think about asking him whether he has ever gone scuba diving or bungee jumping.

    SHOP NOW: Worry Proof by Cara Natterson, MD

Risky Business
Why a Dose Of Danger May Actually Keep Kids Safe
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