When did all of our kids become so soft? For me, I think it started with all the crazy crib bumpers, cabinet locks, outlet plugs and overall baby-proofing of my home. Remember dodge ball? Every game started the same way. The gym teacher would toss a few balls onto the court and you had one mission - pick out someone that you didn't think could catch your ball and throw it at them as hard as you could. It reminds me of that George Carlin routine explaining that children should be pitted against one another in a great, grand plan of survival of the fittest.
These days, every parent wants to wrap up their kids in bubble wrap to keep them safe. Well, maybe not every parent, but certainly that's the case around my house. I remember growing up and having stick fights with neighborhood kids. No rules, so you can imagine the carnage. Now when my son has his Star Wars light saber fights with those plastic toys, we have to lay out the "ground rules" for these fake sword fights, so nobody gets hurt.
Of course, all of this is in the name of safety. The same increased focus on safety has happened to custom homes in Tampa and St. Petersburg. Over the years, our building requirements have dramatically improved the safety of new homes vs. those built in the past. Sometimes it's the elimination of materials that we have learned are very harmful to our health, like lead and asbestos. Other advancements include improving indoor air quality with mold prevention treatments and AC filtration systems, so young children and those with compromised immune systems are safer.
Equally as important as what we've removed to improve safety are the things we've added. Every new home has smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to help reduce fire and gas related injuries. Alarm monitoring systems are common now in new homes to protect occupants from intruders, as well as to call for emergency assistance. Here in Florida, our windows, doors, roofs and major structural elements have requirements to withstand high wind loads to provide safety from tropical storms and hurricanes. Stairs and railings have specific requirements to ensure the safety of a home's occupants...and the list of safety improvements goes on and on.
I really don't think that I'm going to try to toughen up my kids by making them ride their bikes on the interstate without helmets anytime soon, so I'll sleep a little better knowing that this focus on safety has improved my home and the homes we build.