Magazine article Work & Family Life

Study Suggests Parents' Fears Are Misplaced

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Study Suggests Parents' Fears Are Misplaced

Article excerpt

When you ask the parents of young children to list their worst fears, the top three are kidnapping, sexual abuse and childhood cancer. These are terrifying risks indeed, but the odds of their actually happening are slim.

The biggest threats to the health and well-being of a young child are in mundane activities such as taking a bath, riding in a car and swimming, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About 4,000 children from ages 1 to 14 die each year as a result of unintentional injuries-far and away the leading killer of kids. This includes motor vehicle accidents, drowning, fire and burn injuries, pedestrian accidents, suffocation and poisoning (last on the list, accounting for 1.3 percent of accidental deaths).

It's true that children are of- ten the victims of crimes, but the most common crimes against kids are assaults by other kids, including siblings-and these are very difficult to quantify, says David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire and author of Childhood Victimization.

The fear that many parents have of a stranger kidnapping and sexually molesting their child has been exacerbated by the media focus on horrifying cases that have occurred. …

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