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Should parents keep their kids in a bubble or let them run wild?

PHOENIX — Parents are always trying to keep their kids safe, while at the same time teaching independence.

But it’s hard sometimes to determine if a child should be kept in a bubble or be allowed to run free.

“As a parent our job is to guide and teach,” Allison Gilbert, an injury prevention specialist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, said. “One of the biggest things is helping them make a good decision.”

Of course, parents should use common sense when determining what is safe based on a child’s age.

“A younger child is going to need more help or, possibly, you’re making the decision for them,” Gilbert said.

But as they grow older, a parent should look for opportunities to let go.

“And say ‘I’ve done what I can to prepare them, now they need to free to make their own decision,’” Gilbert said. “And certainly we can help guide them on that.”

It is good for parents to educate themselves on what their child is interested in.

“Of course, always following regulations and using the proper safety equipment,” Gilbert said. “Seatbelts, car seats, helmets — they’re out there for a reason.”

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