We have a swimming pool in our backyard. When we bought the house an official pool fence inspector came to ensure that the pool was safely behind a child proof fence and that the gates to the pool were of the child-proof variety.
There was a palm tree close to one part of the fence which had to be cut back in case a (hypothetical) child ever came into our yard and used the palm tree trunk to lever its/his/her self over the fence. There was also a large timber gate at the back fence which had to be covered in non-climbable material to stop a (possible, but improbable) child’s entrance via clambering over a six-foot high fence.
Incidentally, at the front of our house there are three (lockable) gates.
For a small child to reach our pool it is impossible by any means, but we complied with the inspector’s instructions ‘just to be sure’.
The local children’s playground is all smooth surfaces and well maintained with soft-landing material on the ground.
Children here are very safe; they are very well watched over.
Parents of school children in Australia are advised to never include peanut butter in their children’s packed lunch in the slim chance that some other child at the school may possess a peanut allergy.
That’s how protective we are.
Last night I watched the TV news and saw some children on a bombed out apartment block on the Gaza Strip. They were balancing on crumbling pieces of concrete blocks about two storeys above ground level.
No one seemed to be taking much notice.
It was not a scene unfamiliar to TV viewers and it is certainly not only on the Gaza Strip that children are seen trying to live in the wreckage of buildings - or on bare earth.
In some war-torn countries children have little food or water, let alone toys or equipment for playing.
Some of them even have no parents.
The divide between our children and children in ‘other places’ is HUGE.
It is unfair and it is unacceptable.
But what can we do?
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.