is safety a virtue or vice?

Sometimes I will admit to people, “I’m not a real safety-oriented mom.”  

I hope you aren’t gasping in horror.  But it’s true (although mostly unintentional).  I just don’t think of safety a whole lot.  And it’s not because I’ve never been in proximity to people who have had bad things happen to them, like car accidents or other types of accidents.  I think it’s more of a combination of the way I was raised and what I hope is common sense.  Though I may be wrong on that.

Does knowledge require action?  If I know that kids are safer when wearing a helmet, am I then required (morally) to have them wear one?  And how often is often enough?  When riding bikes?  Scooters?  Running fast?  Always when on pavement?  When riding in a car?  In the home?

For me, I think of helmets as essential when on a high traffic street or when riding a motorcycle.  But it doesn’t seem like a big deal to me to let kids ride their bicycles without one in a neighborhood with minimal, slow-driving traffic.

But is this a legitimate moral line I’ve drawn?  Or just preference?  When does safety become a must?

Should I have child locks on my cupboards?  Should we have a barrier to our pond (although the tall grasses provide a pretty good one.)?  A fence around our yard?  The standard for safety seems to be getting higher and higher.  So much so that I believe our children will be in car seats until they are teens.  I wish I were joking about that.

Should I be viewing high safety standards as a bit of common grace from God that allows us to better protect our children?  Or is it a type of idol that we are enslaved to, giving us a false sense of control in regard to our children’s well-being?  Or maybe it could be either.  

Our parents certainly didn’t have the safety standards we do, but they also lacked the information and equipment.  So how much safety is enough to assuage our consciences that we’ve done enough?  

What are your must-do safety standards?  Do you think a high regard for safety brings glory to God?  What about those who are unconcerned with safety?  Can this view bring glory to God?