April 10, 2012 Kerala Taylor

Banning ice cream on playgrounds? Really?

Both synonymous with warm-weather outdoor fun, ice cream and playgrounds seem like a perfect fit. Maybe that’s why a proposed ban on ice cream vendors at a Brooklyn playground has caused such a stir.

Why the ban? Well, on the one hand, ice cream isn’t very good for you. But on the other hand, it’s delicious. Health-conscious parents are sick of dealing with the temper tantrums that their children will inevitably throw when they behold a cart full of heavenly frozen treats… that they can’t have.

But is a ban on ice cream vendors from the playground an absurd or practical solution? Are well-intentioned parents looking out for their children’s health or are they being ridiculous control freaks? 

When it comes to the health and safety of our children, the challenge is this: How do we protect them without extracting every opportunity for the joy from their lives? Even today’s playgrounds routinely fail on that front. Just as the thrill of climbing is universal (even though a child could fall off and break an arm), so is the thrill of ice cream (even though it’s full of fat and sugar).

We’re big proponents of children’s health, but we’re also big proponents of joy. Being the first nonprofit to have its own Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor, we’re also big proponents of ice cream.

Of course, the main difference between ice cream and playgrounds is this: There is definitely such a thing as too much ice cream, but there is not really such a thing as too much outdoor play. As long as parents and children stay mindful of this fact, we say: Let the ice cream trucks stay!

Should we ban ice-cream-shaped slides while we're at it?

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parent perspective, ban, childhood obesity, brooklyn, ice cream, public health, new york