A Look Back: Children at play
One of the most enchanting aspects of childhood is unstructured play, either alone or with other children.
In many ways, things are worse now than in the past. However, in this area, they are better. Children’s toys are safer, by and large, and with most families having few children today than in days gone by, parents can more easily supervise their kids during playtime and possibly prevent some of the following problems and profound tragedies:
- April 2, 1885—Saturday evening a little four-year-old child of Mr. Joe Vernard, living near Flint, went out in the field with his father, where he was cutting briars and burning trash. The child was playing some distance from where the father was at work and became surrounded with the fire when his clothes caught and burnt him so badly that death resulted the next morning.
- Feb. 25, 1918—Price Ellis, the 18-month-old son of Mr. and Mrs. R. B. Ellis, was buried at Johnson’s Chapel cemetery following his death due to drowning while playing in a small branch that ran close to the Ellis home.
- Feb. 18, 1924—Ed, son of Mrs. Rosa Herfurth, fell while roller skating this afternoon and fractured his right arm in two places near the wrist. The accident was caused when the axle on one of the skates broke.
- March 20, 1924—Bill Jones, a 16-year-old boy, was seriously injured earlier today when he was accidentally hit in the temple with an open knife by a schoolmate. The injury was perfectly accidental. The boy with the knife had it open and was flicking it up and down in his hand. He tossed it up, and when it came down, it struck Bill in the temple.
- April 3, 1924—Jim, the 9-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. O. C. Cagle, is in a Birmingham hospital tonight in a critical condition. The boy was out in the woods with his dad, who was cutting wood. Jim climbed a tree but fell from it, falling 20 feet. His skull was fractured.
- April 8, 1924—The four-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Williams was terribly burned today when his clothing caught fire. Only the children were at home at the time of the accident, and it is presumed the little boy had obtained some matches and was trying to smoke. His clothing was burned most entirely off his body.
- July 5, 1927—The young daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. Y. Cagle was seriously hurt today when she fell from an old junk car on which a number of children were playing. A long gash was cut down the child’s back.
- Sept. 8, 1927—The nine-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Neill is recovering from a broken arm. The arm was broken when the girl fell from a swing.
- Sept. 30, 1927—Evelyn, the twelve-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. O. F. Richter, happened to have a very painful accident today when she fell from a porch swing and broke both of her arms. They are said to be very serious fractures.
- May 17, 1951–Misfortune has again befallen Doug Street, four-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Street. It was not too long ago that he fell into a tub of cleaning fluid that had been placed behind his father’s dry-cleaning establishment and swallowed enough of the fiery liquid to make him a very sick little boy. Thursday afternoon, the active little redhead was visiting in the home of his aunt, Mrs. Earl Moore, in Decatur, and having a wonderful time playing with his cousins. One minute Doug was standing on the edge of the porch, which is rather high; a second later, he was on the ground, his left arm crumpled under him. He was rushed to a Decatur hospital, where X-rays revealed both wrist bones were fractured.