My now 4 year old daughter, Andie, has always had good balance.
After a few weeks of trying to maintain my New Year's resolution of taking a walk every day -hindered by the frigid (for Nashville) temperatures, work, 3 kids and, funnily enough, writing this blog - I changed my resolution.
My new resolution was to do all errands in Green Hills on foot. Meaning - park in one location and walk to all the others.
(Unfortunately, as of yet, there is no safe way to walk to Green Hills from our house despite it being exactly 2 miles away.)
One of the strange consequences of this new New Year's resolution was that my daughter seemed to take a tumble every time we ran errands.
It took me a while to understand that the unevenness of terrain was literally an obstacle for small ones. I knew it was tough for me with my stroller but I didn't fully understand how hard it would be for a 4 year old to walk. In addition, since there is no green buffer on Hillsboro Pk and the traffic is going fast, it became an exercise in terror for me!
Now, I make Andie walk on the inside of the sidewalk at all time just in case of falls. I also have counseled her on looking down for obstacles. We are doing a little better.
Her most recent fall was here. This is the mall exit onto Crestmoor. The picture below shows a set of bushes that are inexplicable eating up half of the sidewalk.
Instead of staying on the inside of the sign post, which was rather close to the bushes, requiring a person to walk sideways to pass, she chose to go on the outside and did a slow roll into the street, skinning her knee in the process.
To be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), there should be a minimum of 32" from obstacle to edge of sidewalk. This sidewalk is NOT ADA compliant. There also should be smooth pavement without curb cuts.
Take one more look at the pictures above and try to imagine utilizing these sidewalks while sitting in a wheelchair (or being a 4 year old).