Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Burn Baby Burn

A few weeks ago, my wife and I took our little one for a walk. It was a hot and sunny day and we pulled the stroller canopy all the way down to keep the child out of the sun. As we were walking we passed a tichel clad woman pushing her newborn baby in a cheap umbrella stroller (sitting semi-upright). If that wasn't bad enough, the infant was in direct sunlight, being blinded and sunburned at the same time (with eyes tightly closed). We politely mentioned to her as she passed that her baby was in the harsh sunlight. She responded with a silly giggle that could only be described as infantile, and continued on her way as if nothing was wrong. We both looked at each other, nodded our heads in utter disbelief and moved on.

Another time I was walking past a Jewish supermarket. By the entrance there were two frum women chatting each other up. One was holding her baby and the other had her baby in a stroller. They were all in direct sunlight. Both moms were wearing hats and both babies (surprise, surprise) were not. The baby in the stroller was crying very loudly and was clearly uncomfortable, while mom stood there either completely oblivious or choosing to schmooze rather than tend to her suffering child.

This sort of thing is not an isolated incident. I see this type of thing every day. Jewish moms wearing sunglasses or hats while pushing their babies in a stroller, sans canopy, directly under the scorching sun. How can these women be completely oblivious to the immediate danger they are exposing their children to?

Come to think of it, is sun protection even an issue that frum people think about? Well, many parents take care of their kids the way they take care of themselves. One theory could be that since tznius is a thing that is so strictly enforced, one might erroneously assume that clothing offers proper sun protection, and since these Moms are always covered all the time, they don't worry about being sunburned. Ergo, they don't think about it, even when it comes to their kids. If you think about it, its not that crazy of a hypothesis.

If you want to argue How do you know that they didn't put sunblock on their child? Why are you so quick to judge? The answer is, it doesn't matter. Babies can get heat exhaustion after spending approximately 5 minutes in direct sunlight. This can precede or follow dizziness, vomiting, lethargy and unconsciousness, to name a few symptoms... and that's just the beginning. Longer exposure can result in second degree burns and heat stroke, or worse. Besides, if these women aren't sane enough to block the sunlight that's barbecuing their infant children, you really think they're gonna protect them with sunblock?

Its sad that people in the frum community don't give this much thought. They need to print information on the back of the Kemach cereal boxes regarding sun protection. There's a wealth of information on the bad effects the sun's rays can have on human skin. If you see a Mom with a lack of interest on the subject, educate her. Maybe then Chanie will realize her baby isn't supposed to be a shtickel crispy.


  1. I think i have come to realize by reading your posts that youre extremely judgemental and pre-occupied with what other people are doing with their children. I was going to post on your story of the fathergetting on the bus but ill do it here. How do you know what was going on with that father that day, mind you that is no excuse for letting a baby slip but give me a break sometimes something happens that is beyond your control. Especially if you ahd a father by himself with other children shleppin bags. What are you the perfect parent that you do everything 100 percent correctly. Here is an idea, guess what parenting doesn't come with a manual on how to raise children. Yes i agree with you in that there are people that are ignorant and dont always do the right thing but still. Parenting is a learning experience and as much as you probably dont want to hear it, people learn from their mistakes. You can only hope that they realiuze what they did wrong and correct their behavior.
    one other thing, why is it that you constantly point out, "frum woman" or tichel clad woman" why cant you jsut say i saw a woman? seems to me your picking on your own people. One way i think you could improve your blog is stop isolating the frum men and woman as the only people who make mistakes, if you saw a chinese woman doing what a frumm woman did would you just as soon write it in your blog? Seems to me you have an underlying issue with the fum community and not just that thier meshugga parents, otherwise why would you constantly feel the need to point out that they are frum?

  2. Anonymous...
    This blog is a statement of my opinions on what I see and hear about on this particular subject matter. Judgmental? Maybe. Preoccupied? Absolutely. Is it wrong to be extra careful with your precious children? No way.

    If a man has a baby and he's schlepping bags, he should drop the bags or hold the bags in a crooked way before holding his child like that. There is no excuse for child abuse. A mistake like that is one too many and can have devastating results. I am not the perfect parent by any stretch of the imagination, but I have something to say on these issues that are very present in the community I grew up in.

    If you read my other posts and comments you'll see that I keep pointing out something very important. I am not denying that there are negligent parents other that frum Jews. There are bad parents everywhere. However, negligent parenting is a very prevalent phenomenon within the frum community and I'm approaching the subject from that vantage point. I explore problems and solutions. There are blogs on cooking and blogs on kosher cooking. This blog explores bad parenting from within the Jewish community.

  3. saying that negligent parenting is prevalent in the frum community is a sweeping broad wtvr you wanna call it generalization that you can't and should'nt make. If you arent a perfect parent bby and stretch of the imagination maybe someone should scrutinize you for your mistakes and misgivings?

  4. It is prevalent. That can't be denied. Its a painful truth but its one I and many friends and neighbors of mine have realized.

    As far as my parenting goes, I would welcome any criticism anyone would give If it was for the purpose of the safety and well being of my child.

  5. What a horrible blog. I arrived here by accident, I doubt I will never return. Just out of curiosity, although it's unlikely I'll be reading this blog to see your answer, what do you actually DO to help all the mistreated children out there in the world?

    There are an endless number of families that could use a helping hand. Do you offer it in any meaningful way?

    A steady stream of children who need foster and/or adoptive parents...babies and older kids, Jews and non-Jews, frum or many are sleeping in your house tonight?

    Even offer some sunscreen to put on the baby with the oblivious "tichel-wearing" mother?

    Yeah, I thought so.

  6. Well JustCurious,

    I appreciate your opinion. I do whatever it is within my means to take care of whoever I can. I'm not talking about saving the world. I'm not implying that I'm some kind of hero or anything of the sort. Just pointing out what I see.

    I take care of the child I brought into this world. These unfortunate children are at the mercy of their parents. If educated, maybe their parents can learn a thing or two about decent parenting from experts who write books and lectures on the subject.

    I find that the people who give me the angriest comments are usually the ones guilty of the things I talk about. Just sayin.

  7. You seem highly neurotic and judgemental with a tendency to overanalyze and psychoanalyze with little provocation. Do know the prevalency of child rebellion and drug use amongst those children with overanxious parents? Here's a tip- LOOSEN UP. There is no perfect way to raie kids and keep them "safe".

  8. Call me neurotic and judgmental, after you've seen the facts about the PARTICULAR subject matter I'm discussing.

    I'm not talking about being overprotective. I'm talking about not obliviously hurting your children. The space they need changes as they get older. There is nothing wrong with being as safe as possible with a child. I'm not saying don't let your kid ride the bike, I'm saying, be responsible and put a helmet on them.

    If you wanna light up a cigarette while your kid gets heat stroke... go ahead, become a statistic.