How the Law Protects Children
The law takes into account the immaturity and fragility of children and creates laws that have a higher level of protection than those that apply to adults. Not everybody knows this. I was outraged when a mother brought in her son that was hit by a car on his way to school. He was being taken to school by an older child. Her son was 8 and the older child was 10. Probably not the best decision to allow a 10-year such responsibility, but that was in the past. As they were crossing the street, a block from a school where there were hundreds of children on their way in, a driver hit the child. The child flew up onto the hood of the car, and rolled off. The children were in a state of shock, and the driver gave the kid a business card and took off. He didn’t call the police and he didn’t call an ambulance for the child. Clearly, this man was not aware that there are special laws that protect children.
HOW THE LAW PROTECTS CHILDREN THAT ARE AFRAID
The kid went to school and spent the whole day there, afraid to tell his teachers what happened, afraid he might get in trouble. His mother did not know about the accident until he came limping home after school. The driver did not know that he would be held to a much higher standard of care because he was driving in a school zone, where it should be expected that children might cross in the middle of the street or chase a ball. Even if there are no “school zone” signs posted, a reasonable person would notice that a hundred or so children are converging on a school in the morning.
HOW THE LAW PROTECTS CHILDREN THAT ARE CURIOUS
Children love to play, and they can be very curious. When I was a teen, I am embarrassed to admit that I loved to explore burned out houses. My friends and I had a slogan, “If it’s burned out, we’re there!” Luckily, none of us ever got injured, but the owners of those burned-out homes that were accessible would have been in big trouble if we did get hurt! This concept is called “attractive nuisance,” and it holds property owners liable for allowing access to something dangerous that children might find interesting such as a construction site or pool.
DO SPECIAL LAWS THAT PROTECT CHILDREN GO TOO FAR?
This is how the law protects children, and there are many other examples. Car seat safety has evolved to protect children from parents that might be too lazy or cheap to provide safe seating, and it also applies to any caregivers that are in charge of a child. A hospital will not let you take your baby home in a car without an infant seat, hospital personnel will inspect your car and issue an approval. Yes, there are special laws that protect children, and opponents of regulation may feel that they go too far and are too costly to parents and property owners. Let us know how you feel about this.