LESLEY KEATING: You can prevent accidents with a bit of common sense

Should parents really teach kids how to start up a car for fun?  			               (Shutterstock)
Should parents really teach kids how to start up a car for fun? (Shutterstock)
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I am still greatly surprised at how daft some parents are when it comes to looking after their children.

Yet they are usually the first to be indignant, angry and dialling the no win-no-fee solicitors when accidents happen – ones which could have been prevented with a bit of common-sense.

I know we can’t all have eyes in the back of our heads and sadly accidents can – and often do – happen, but surely parents have to be sensible.

It seems that sensible isn’t fashionable these days though.

The other weekend I was truly shocked to see a neighbour waiting with his car held in reverse on the drive, happily letting his very young children mess about and jump up and down behind the vehicle.

Surely he should be teaching them to never go behind any car with the white lights on?

It makes you shudder to think what this level of stupidity could potentially result in.

Another day I saw a man cycling up the road (he was barefooted, but that’s another story…) with his very small child perched on the crossbar – not a bike helmet in sight either.

I’m also amazed by the amount of mothers I see waiting to cross roads with their pushchairs.

They stand back, safe from the traffic, yet only the back wheels of the pushchair are on the pavement – the rest of the pushchair is projecting into the road.

I also know someone who taught his seven-year-old not only how to put keys in the ignition but to start the car too.

He then used to sit the child on his lap to use gears and ‘steer’ the car down the drive.

All very harmless you may say – but what happens when the child decides to have a go on his own?

He already knows exactly what to do.

There’s no substitute for learning by experience and you shouldn’t mollycoddle children so they grow up fearful of their own shadows.

But, surely parents still need to take some responsibility and lead by example?

Sorry, but showing a child how to start a car engine is just plain bonkers.

OUT MOGGY’S COLLAR MEANT HE ALWAYS CAME HOME TO US

I had an interesting discus sion with someone the other day about collars on - cats.

‘It’s cruel’, they said. ‘What’s wrong with microchipping them instead?’ I disagreed.

We used to have a cat – a really intrepid explorer – who managed to regularly get locked in sheds and stuck up trees. There was never a dull

moment for the 10 years we had him, or should I say, he had us.

He was microchipped too, yet it was the tag on his collar, not the microchip, that reunited us each time he wandered off.

We made sure we only ever bought the easy-release safe ones and removed any bell.

It’s not fool-proof but no visible identification can make people wrongly assume a cat is a stray they can rehome.

Something to consider.

WHEN THE BRAIN FOG DESCENDS, PREPARE FOR EMBARRASSMENT

Ever had a moment like this? I was filling up with petrol at one of those selfservice pumps.

As I put my card into the machine I suddenly had a complete and utter blank as to what the pin number was.

I tried really hard to remember, but after a couple of attempts, I panicked and had to use a different card instead.

Could have been more embarrassing though.

The other day at work, one of my friends had a similar moment of complete ‘brain fog’.

Instead of saying the name of the company she works for, followed by a cheery ‘Can I help you?’, she recited the company name followed

instead by ‘Can you help me?’.

There really is no answer to that.