Ban the idiot lawsuits, not tobogganing

Society as a whole seems to chip away at childhood a little bit more every year. And the reasons tend to be pretty stupid, too, or founded on fear rather than fact.

The latest casualty is tobogganing.

The city that’s made headlines this month is Dubuque, Iowa, with their plans to ban sledding in nearly all of their parks.

But they are just the tip of the iceberg.

They’re just following in the boot prints of other U.S. and Canadian cities and municipalities who’ve banned the childhood

winter favourite on public property.

The reason? Liability. They’re afraid of lawsuits that will eat into the public purse.

And the really sad thing is that their fears are not unfounded.

In 2013 Bruno Uggenti won a $900,000 judgement against the City of Hamilton after he injured his spine tobogganing – this in spite of the fact that the activity was banned where he did it.

The legal system deserves a one-way slide into a hay bale for that one.

And it seems to indicate that

the tobogganing bans won’t really accomplish their goals, either. But talk about adults ruining childhood for the kids.

This business of suing for anything and everything – even when its a freak accident or you should have known better – has to stop.

In this case it’s certainly threatening to ruin the fun for everyone.

With our population increasingly in obesity all the time, including rates of childhood obesity, this is one of those activities we should be promoting, not banning.

Hiking that sled up the hill for one more run is fantastic winter exercise, and you don’t have to bug your kid to do it, either – because it’s fun.

Staying out until you can’t feel your hands in your gloves anymore is a wonderful childhood memory.

At the first sign of snow at many Canadian universities the trays disappear from the cafeteria to be used for sliding. We can never eliminate all risk. But we sure are doing a good job of eliminating fun.

Ban the idiot lawsuits, not tobogganing.

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