No one is surprised to hear that safety is important to Swedes. After all, the first 3-point seat belt was first put into production for cars in the Volvo PV444 in 1959. But there are moments when I think that the devotion to safety extends beyond the fair margin to allow for Darwin Award nominees. (OK, no I don’t really go that far with the thought but I do consider it occasionally.)
There’s just too much dependence on helmets if you ask me (I know you’re not asking, it’s an expression). Let’s just take winter sports for kids. There are different helmets for ice skating, skiing and sledding, though the unhip kid would have one for all three of those activities. But don’t think for a minute any of those would pass for playing ice hockey. Oh no.
From an American liability perspective (we are rather sue-happy) I completely sympathize with the schools’ insisting that children wear helmets playing on ice and snow while in their care, but to see children sledding down a gently sloping hill with not a tree nor pole in sight wearing crash helmets does make me giggle. OK ok, better safe than sorry, but I do think there are moments when you can be a little risqué.
On a positive note, I’m rather glad that I’m surrounded by a devotion to safety. After living here I can’t imagine riding in a car, whichever seat I end up in, without wearing my seat belt and our kids don’t pedal a step without their helmets.
And I always have my helmet on skydiving.