A judge has ruled that a four year old can be sued for running into someone (in this case, an old lady) on her bike. ED Kain brilliantly responds:

What we really need are more reasons to keep kids from playing outside, engaging in physical activity, and generally engaging in traditional ‘childhood’ or ‘kid’ behavior. Why let them ride real bikes – obviously a recipe for death and mayhem – when they could be playing biking games on their Wii? Better yet, we should keep them in school all day, year round, so they can learn to be productive individuals contributing to society, rather than little monsters gleefully running down old ladies.

Lawsuits are a good first step, of course, but certainly not enough to stave off the coming epidemic of overly active children. 4-year-olds found biking recklessly – training wheels or no – should be prosecuted by the full force of the law. Our prisons are under populated, and especially so in regards to this particular demographic. Time to crack down on these little hooligans, show them we mean business.

Furthermore, parents need to engage in pre-emptive measures to ensure this sort of behavior doesn’t come to pass in the first place. It is quite likely your child suffers from ADHD and should be promptly medicated. A combination of television, prescription drugs, and repetitive schooling should do the trick.

This ties in nicely with a link passed on by Abel about Halloween:

Even when I was a kid, back in the “Bewitched” and “Brady Bunch” costume era, parents were already worried about neighbors poisoning candy. Sure, the folks down the street might smile and wave the rest of the year, but apparently they were just biding their time before stuffing us silly with strychnine-laced Smarties.

That was a wacky idea, but we bought it. We still buy it, even though Joel Best, a sociologist at the University of Delaware, has researched the topic and spends every October telling the press that there has never been a single case of any child being killed by a stranger’s Halloween candy. (Oh, yes, he concedes, there was once a Texas boy poisoned by a Pixie Stix. But his dad did it for the insurance money. He was executed.)

There was actually an episode of The Commish dedicated to the topic. They had a psych-profile workup of the type of people that would poison children. And, of course, a resident of Eastbridge was trying to do just that. I figured it was one of those vanishingly rare things that the media blew out of proportion. I didn’t know that it didn’t exist. I suppose it’s like the Toyota unintended acceleration problem. Parents swore that they didn’t let their kids eat too much candy and so when their kids ended up getting sick, they feared poison.

Category: Newsroom

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6 Responses to The Dangers Of Being a Kid

  1. Nanani says:

    My parents (really my mom) insisted on going through every piece of candy before we kids could have any.
    Of course, by this time nobody gave out any candy that wasn’t pre-packaged stuff (boxes, wrapped pieces, and the like. Nothing homemade) so I’m not sure what they looked for.

    I disliked the people who gave non-candy things far more than any hypothetical candy poisoners. The fear never affected me as a kid. It’s halloween, there’s enough scariness to go around.

  2. stone says:

    Understand that when you sue minors, you’re really suing their parents. I think there’s a good case to be made that parents should be carefully watching their four-year-old children when they ride wheeled conveyances. I know I do. Besides, you’d sue an adult who injured you on a bike, wouldn’t you? Why should a child be any different?

  3. trumwill says:

    Understand that when you sue minors, you’re really suing their parents.

    They’re suing both the minor and the parents. Suing the parents is more understandable. Suing the minors on top of that strikes me mostly as a way of saying “Even if you can demonstrate that you’re not negligent in the case against you, we could still win with the kid and you’ll have to pay up anyway.”

    If they can demonstrate negligence on the part of the parents, I don’t have a problem with them paying up. But I don’t like the notion of “leaving your kid on a bike unsupervised is inherently negligent” as a threshold. On the other hand, if they can demonstrate that the parents were warned on more than one occasion that the kid is reckless when on a bike and unsupervised, that’s different.

    Besides, you’d sue an adult who injured you on a bike, wouldn’t you? Why should a child be any different?

    Cause it’s a child. If someone with downs syndrome or tourettes takes a swing at me for some reason or another, I am considerably less likely to take any sort of legal action than I am with an able-minded and able-bodied adult who does the same.

    From what I understand, the legal system will actually take into account the age of the bike-rider when determining liability, but I just don’t think four year olds have the behavioral consistency that a benchmark can be adequately defined. Some states take this into account with a minimum age, which I think is a good idea. Some age higher than four.

  4. Brandon Berg says:

    I’m not a lawyer, but it sounds to me like the judge just ruled that there wasn’t a legal precedent that allowed him to dismiss the case on the basis of the child’s age. I would imagine that the case will involve pulling in expert witnesses and whatnot to address that question.

  5. trumwill says:

    Brandon, from all accounts the judge made the correct ruling from the law. The law, I think, is the problem here.

  6. Petronella says:

    Really, so there is nothing in the civil law that protects non-adults from being sued, akin to the criminal law that (generally) makes exceptions for children and other special classes of persons? That is shocking to me. So there’s nothing stopping anyone from suing, as someone said, a a severely mentally retarded person? An infant? Someone in a permanent vegetative state? These are all people who would not be considered competent for various other civil-law purposes: they can’t enter into a contract (or such a contract could likely not be enforced), they can’t get married, etc. How is a 4-year-old expected to understand the charges being brought against them, or to participate in their own defence?

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