Ow, I’m too safe!

One of my friends is a geek, and, naturally, fully researches everything he does, from cement pouring to bicycle parts, perhaps a bit obsessively. He made sure to get five-point restraints for his children's car seats, for example. And he naturally tightens the belts snugly when putting his children in the car.

At one point, as he was strapping his daughter in, she complained, "Ow! I'm too safe!"

Because as far as she was concerned, "being safe" was a synonym for "having a tight seat belt." I leave you to figure out how she came to this conclusion.

Comments (26)
  1. Ray Shuman says:

    When my son was little, we would try to get him to try new foods at the table by telling him they were "tasty." After a while, whenever he heard the word "tasty" he would make a face, because to him the word meant "This is going to taste terrible."

  2. Peter says:

    Cute story. :)  My son will probably say the same thing when he's old enough.  Good on your friend for taking the car seat seriously though.  Car accidents are the number one killer of children (in North America, anyway).

  3. dave says:

    OW, I'm too safe

    I thought this was going to be someone complaining about UAC…

  4. Daniel says:

    "One of my friends is a geek"

    Implies he himself is not a geek, knows more about windows than anyone else and writes one-two blog posts every day for years…

    Face it, you're a geek and a unix hacker who somehow managed to be not working on unix.

    [The "geek" remark was not to say "and I'm not" but rather to help explain his obsessive behavior. -Raymond]
  5. VoicesInMyHead says:

    My son, when he was very young, hated the taste of Dr. Pepper… despised it.  Many months after his first bad encounter with Dr. Pepper, he was eating some other food and said with a grimace, "Yuck!  That's Dr. Pepper!"

    It was at that point that we realized he was using Dr. Pepper as an adjective.

  6. -dan says:

    I hate when people trade in research for common sense which seems to becoming an epidemic.

    And I fear the new 'everyone gets a trophy' generation is going to be even worse than there baby boomer parents.

    People need to step back, think for a few seconds, have some damn confidence and proceed.

  7. -dan says:

    oops –   their not there

    I guess I should have stepped back and thought about proof reading

  8. Joshua says:

    -dan gets a trophy of blinding speed.

  9. Gabe says:

    This must have happened a long time ago, because 5-point restraints are all that you've been able to get in child seats for several years now.

    Peter: NHTSA (http://www.nhtsa.gov/…/CPS) agrees with you, saying that "Crashes are the leading cause of death for children from 3 to 14 years old." but the very next line they say "An estimated 8,959 lives were saved by child restraints from 1975 to 2008."

    In other words, in spite of all the fancy restraint systems, their use only saves maybe 1 or 2 lives per day (in the US) — and that number includes using adult seat belts on children. If you believe Steven Levitt (http://www.ted.com/…/steven_levitt_on_child_carseats.html), buying car seats for children 2 and older is a waste of hundreds of millions of dollars a year because they're not significantly safer than the adult seat belts that already come free in your car.

  10. Nawak says:


    No one wants to have slightly more chance to kill his/her children in a car accident because of adult seatbelts! I think all parents would buy the "extended warranty" for their children if it existed!

  11. David Walker says:

    The brain is amazing.  Kids can create and say correct sentences that they have never heard before.  Even though the "rules" are full of exceptions.

  12. Tom West says:


    Good point, but it can cause some problems.  My mother-in-law lives by the "if my child (now grand-child) died and I had failed to do everything in my power to protect him, I would live in the agony of knowing that I might have prevented that death for every hour of every day for the rest of my life".

    Unfortunately, this means she has a tendency to tape pillows (checking that they still maintain requisite fluffy-ness) to every piece of my son's body before she let him go outside.

    He's 18.

  13. Tom West says:

    Just in case this ever gets back to her – my mother-in-law has actually been a life-saver these many years.  And my son has learned to handle her slight over-protectiveness with grace and humor – an important life skill.

  14. kktkkr says:

    Password not safe enough? Add more 1s!

  15. cheong00 says:

    Actually most seatbelt and airbags are not adequate as safety protection if the car design is not made to distribute most of collusion force surround the cabinet.

    I've seen some type of car that when in a crash, you can see both the front and rear sides almost completely deformed, while the cabinet is rigid enough to not collapse.

    There's also design that if the car ever went rolling and become upside down, the weight balance of the car well roll the car back to normal position. Just that look and feel of the car is a bit weird IMO.

  16. Gabe says:

    Tom: Does your mother-in-law force your son to walk around in a Thudguard (http://www.thudguard.com) too?

  17. Worf says:

    @Gabe: the sidewalks are filled with people who need those. Nevermind using a cellphone while driving, most people cant handle a cellphone and plain-old walking, a task far less complex and attention demanding than driving a vehicle. Scary.

    One of these days I ought to just crash into them. Maybe their cellphone will break and they'd learn an important lesson on not stopping suddenly in a crowd.

    It's a wonder why they don't get mugged more – they'd certainly never see it coming.

  18. Neil says:

    @Worf: The thing the mugger most wants is probably the cellphone being tightly gripped by the walker…

  19. Drak says:


    Are you saying people should research more and use common sense less? Because that's what I think it says, but what you don't mean to say.

    To trade in A for B means you get rid of A and get B instead, doesn't it? Or am I having a bad morning?

    Anyway, if you're saying: more common sense, less research, I agree. I also like to make my own mistakes so that I learn *why* not to do something instead of having to tell people 'I don't do this because … told me not to, and I don't have any will of my own.'.

  20. voo says:

    Goodness, do we really need to protect kids from getting a few scraps here and there? But I love that quote: "Thudguard® is the only product of its type in the world that complies with safety standards" – the first helmet to really protect ones head – contrary to all those that are worn by construction workers or climbers !

  21. Mott555 says:


    Too true. When I was in college I used a bicycle to get around campus. I found it was far safer to ride in the grass than try to dodge oblivious texting pedestrians with really loud headphones. Especially after a couple close calls with some trees after pedestrians (whom I had assumed saw me coming since they stepped out of my way moments before) stepped directly into the path of my bicycle, forcing me to dodge. (Never assume they actually saw you, even if you make eye contact. They just wander back and forth across the sidewalk like that.)

  22. Alex Cohn says:

    I wonder: am I the only one who got concerned? It seems very prudent to protect the little ones to the fullest extent, but it may prove very foolish and dangerous in the long run: the moment you loosen your grip on them, they are very likely to rid themselves from "too much safety", and put themselves in a real danger…

    Same for IT. Force users to change their passwords every week, and they will write them on a sticky note attached to their monitor. Restrict their access to FB – and they will use a proxy to arrive to really malicious sites.

  23. Libertarianism has a new slogan.

  24. Joseph Koss says:

    When I was a kid, parents made sure that their children's cuts and scrapes didn't get infected. These days, parents make sure that their children don't get cuts and scrapes.

    This is why older people are as tough as nails in comparison.

  25. Tom West says:


    <i>Goodness, do we really need to protect kids from getting a few scrapes here and there?</i>

    The problem is that you don't check to choose how severe the injury is before you decide the protection measure.  A few hundred children *do* die each year from unfortunate home and playground accidents.  The Thudguard is insurance.  If your child dies in an accident, you did everything you could to prevent it, and thus don't have to spend the rest of your life in guilt-hell…


    You are, of course, correct.  The trouble is the cost of failure, while very, very unlikely, is so very, very high.  More to the point, once your child is older, you lose the ability to control their actions, so if they die in an accident, it's not your fault.

    And yes, in some ways, the completely paranoid parent isn't acting for the child's benefit, but for their own.  In the starkest possible way, being a good parent (in my opinion) requires one to deliberately choose to *not* minimize the risk of death or dismemberment of your child.  (Something I had to tell myself over and over again when I was pushing my children toward independence.)

    [Okay, probably the best parent is one who doesn't bother thinking about these things to such an absurd degree, but I can't be one of those parents :-)]

  26. ellie says:

    @David Walker

    You're so right about the brain! Look at some of Steven Pinker's stuff ("Words and Rules" for example) where he talks about just this sort of thing, if you haven't already :o)

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