Saturday, October 24, 2009

Discrimination against kids

A few weeks back we went camping with the kids; it was great fun! I did tons of camping as a kid and I've been eagerly looking forward to our kids being old enough to go. They finally are.

My wife found a rather luxurious campground: it had indoor pools, jacuzzi, outdoor pools, places to buy food, drinks, firewood, etc. It was generally very kid friendly -- lots of activities for kids, play room, etc. We were quite spoiled and we loved it.

However, there was a strict rule that kids are not allowed in the jacuzzi nor the sauna. When we pulled out inflatable pool toys, we were politely informed that they, too, are not allowed.

Now, don't get me wrong: these rules are common these days. Many places with pools and jacuzzis and saunas will have the same rules. These rules didn't exist when I was a kid, but now they are commonplace and accepted as normal. My kids just accepted them, in stride, as kids will do.

But I am bothered: this is quite simply discrimination against kids.

I understand why the rules are there. Thanks to our overly litigious society, if kids get hurt in the pool or overheat in the jacuzzi, the parents sue the campground rather than accept their own negligence. And unfortunately, they often win, or, settle out of court. This is not unlike McDonalds being sued for making coffee that's too hot.

At the same time, we also have become a "safety above all" society, for better or worse. We must wear helmets when we bike, elbow pads and knee pads when we get on our roller blades, seat belts and car seats when we go driving, life preservers if we get anywhere near water. Kids barely venture out into their front yard, let alone out around the neighborhood, for the [overblown] fear that something bad could happen. Examples abound.

As a parent I fully appreciate the dangers of water. In fact water is a terrifying combination: it is at once incredibly fun yet also deadly. To a child who can't yet swim, a pool is literally a potential death trap, and it's the parent's job to keep their kids safe.

Thus, the insurance costs go up, likely by quite a bit, if the campground allows such "unsafe" activities, and so they choose to discriminate against kids and save some money.

There was a time when slavery was common place, but that certainly didn't make it right. Just because kid discrimination has now become widely accepted does not make it right. If you encounter discrimination against your kids when you travel, please write up a review making this clear so future families can plan accordingly.

1 comment:

  1. I am single mother and have a son who just turned 14. A few months ago I/we have been invited to a friend's wedding - a couple of days ago I received an e-mail from the very same friend/bride saying that kids are not invited to the wedding thus my son won't be able to come. I am in shock and wonder how they will feel one day when they have their own kids ....! AM