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Safety Worst

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Parenting is a hard job. Worrying about schools, clothes, when it's time to have "The Talk", and worst of all, worrying if your child will get sick or hurt.

Sometimes, TV parents will go a little too far in preventing this. The kid sprained his knee? He is wearing a full BDU and has a leash. The kid gets ill? From now on, he is in a plastic bubble.

Over-reactive parents are a quick source of comedy in any series surrounding children. Depending on the perspective, it could be a Knight Templar Parent situation or just a one-shot gag that is never referenced again. Sometimes the parent may get over it after the child, another parent, or a close friend gives them an Anti-Smother Love Talk. Other times...perhaps not.

Some shows will just skip the parent aspect and focus on the child's overreaction which will lead to an Aesop about confronting your fears. Or it may be a protective older sibling who is the worrier.

See Also: Post-Robbery Trauma, Knight Templar Parent. Can cross over with A Lesson Learned Too Well. In the event that all these worries are justified, see Properly Paranoid. May result from Strict Parents Make Sneaky Kids.

Compare Boyfriend-Blocking Dad when the daughter's virtue is at risk. Can also be done by a Safety Freak who isn't necessarily a parent.


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    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: In Flying Island: The Sky Adventure episode 31, General Balloon becomes bothersome to Wolffy when he tries to enforce his safety standards on his train house. Besides these standards only being practical for balloons since they pop easily, Wolffy is afraid Wolnie will get mad at him for General Balloon removing the metal accessories from her Limited Wardrobe. The general also frowns on his balloon students playing soccer for this reason until a soccer ball helps him stop Wolffy's train from causing damage to Balloon City.

    Comic Books 
  • Many 1950s Superman stories had imaginary weddings to Lois. Often Lois would be stuck in a bubble, or in his Fortress of Solitude, or even on another planet entirely. All to keep her safe from the mob of people who would surely use her as a hostage. (Never mind the mobs of people who were using her as a hostage anyway.)
  • In PS238, Tyler attempts to invoke this trope on himself during his first training session with Badass Normal The Revenant - he picks out so much safety gear that he couldn't practically move at all because he didn't want to go out on a superhero patrol. The Revenant catches on and makes him take off the more superfluous bits.
    • Tyler's parents' behavior, on the other hand, is a complete aversion to this trope. They are two of the setting's most powerful super-beings, and they're fairly open about hoping that attending PS 238 will expose Tyler to something (i.e. radioactivity, bizarre chemicals, magic, alien tech, other dimensions) that will trigger super powers they assume Tyler is destined to possess. Almost all of those things would just kill Tyler if he were completely normal...which he is.

    Fan Works 
  • Much of the driving conflict in The Outside is caused by an agoraphobic Satsuki trying to keep Ryuuko safe from the perceived dangers of the outside world by keeping her confined to the indoors. As we can see, this didn't work out well, as Ryuuko sneaking out to play outside got her hurt and ended up with her being removed, on top of making her more vulnerable. Later on, Satsuki realizes that her attempts at protection did more harm than good.

  • The film Bubble Boy... Yeah you can probably see where this is going. Lived in a plastic bubble with tubes around the house so he could get around. Eventually went on a cross-country journey wearing a mobile bubble suit. The kid didn't have an immune system and would, in fact, die if taken out of the bubble. Although it turns out his mom was lying to him; he wouldn't die, he had a perfect immune system by the time he's an adult, his mother just can't stand to be separated from him.
  • Roland's mom in Gym Teacher: The Movie makes him wear a helmet for gym class, which has led to him wearing it whenever he leaves the house, including all day in school- OK, let's start the Fridge Logic with the fact that his mom's a middle school teacher and should know what kind of target that paints on him...
  • A Christmas Story: Ralphie's mom overdresses his little brother to the point that he can't move his arms, just to protect him from catching a cold.
  • In A Mighty Wind, Jonathan Steinbloom says (and shows in a photo) that his mother made him wear a football helmet for chess. In adulthood, he is the most safety-conscious character around.

  • In Jack Williamson's novelette "With Folded Hands", a new kind of robot made in order "to serve and obey and guard men from harm" took the definition of "harm" to such extremes that they wouldn't let the main character's children have an archery set because they might put an eye out with an arrow or something, and they took away his wife's tragic novels and chocolates so she wouldn't become depressed or obese. Eventually there were so many things that qualified as "harm" to some extent that pretty much all they could do was sit with folded hands. (Especially when expressing discontent was a quick trip to a futuristic lobotomy and the inability to feel any emotion other than a dopey sort of artificial "happiness.")
  • Lara and Nora from Twig are a pair of artificially created organisms that can communicate with each other across great distances. The intent of the scientists who created them was that they would accompany military squadrons into the field and act like a Bio Punk radio. In order to ensure the safety of such valuable pieces of logistical gear, the two of them were programmed with the urge to flee from violence - the same violence that they would need to stay and report on if they're to be of any use to the military. The other Lambs immediately comment on how it would have been better to instead let them make their own decisions about whether it would be better to either run from danger or to stay and help the rest of the military neutralize the danger.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rowley gets a really cool knight costume for Halloween, but his mom makes so many "safety improvements" to it that Greg can hardly tell what it's supposed to be anymore. She cuts a big hole in the helmet so he can see, covers it in reflective tape, and replaces his sword with a glowstick.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Scrubs had an episode in which Jordan frets over Dr. Cox allowing their son on a dangerous climbing frame, and the last scene showed him in so much safety gear he couldn't move, even if he wanted down. Meanwhile, Cox himself was horrified that Jordan allowed the kid to be held by other people, all of whom were, of course, covered in germs. Both, however, were justified in their concerns. The boy is far too young for Cox to let him play high up by himself, and Jordan was passing him around at the hospital—where the risk of someone having a disease is increased by eleven-twelve percent.
  • Yes, Dear, to the point where one episode had An Aesop about it.
  • A storyline from Sesame Street involved Telly breaking his arm after playing tag. Following his recovery he wraps himself up in pillows in order to protect himself, only to realize that this means he can't move and must remove it to have fun. Cue the Aesop.
    • In a 2002 episode Baby Bear hurts his nose when playing with Telly, and Telly becomes worried that they cannot play anymore without it happening again, even by doing something as simple and harmless as singing the Alphabet.
  • Freddie's mom in iCarly. Won't let him hold hammers or other tools, or allow him to go fencing with Spencer, and has a giant first aid "kit". He's also forced to take constant tick baths despite not having ticks. He even has special underwear as well.
  • In Upper Middle Bogan, Margaret was this kind of parent to her adopted daughter Bess. Her biological mother Julie tries to call her out on it, but Margaret argues that the woman who gave her away has no right to judge her.
  • Odd Squad: This is how The Shadow, Season 3's Big Bad, became a villain to begin with. In the final part of the season finale, "End of the Road", she describes how Opal, revealed to be her older sister a couple episodes before, was far too overprotective of her when the two attended the Odd Squad Academy together. Among other things, Opal prohibited her from winning a Capture the Flag competition with an active laser chicken as an obstacle (with her winning the competition instead), only allowed her to use gadgets the size of her palm, and didn't even let her play a tuba — all because she thought it was too dangerous for her. This led her to do a Face–Heel Turn and become The Shadow. Opal comes to realize her mistake and tells the villainess that she had good intentions and was afraid she would get hurt, apologizing for her actions and allowing the pair to make up, with The Shadow performing a Heel–Face Turn.
  • In Somewhere Boy, Steve was so scared of Danny dying he kept him locked away from society for 18 years with the excuse that there were monsters outside.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Toph was born blind, so her parents spent her entire life making sure she couldn't leave their home. Unfortunately, they were so obsessed with protecting her that they never noticed her prodigious earthbending talent that allowed her to "see" almost as well as other people, with only writing and colors as things she couldn't learn. She even managed to sneak away and become a multiple champion of an underground (literally) fighting ring, and later invents metalbending, a discipline thought to be impossible. It takes Toph singlehandedly saving her father and her friends from a cave-in through metalbending for him to finally realize his daughter is not a helpless baby but the most powerful earthbender in history. This happens after Aang beats the Fire Lord with her help.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants, "I Had An Accident": After getting a "broken butt" after a sandboarding wipeout, SpongeBob takes a doctor's orders to be more careful too far and becomes a shut-in.
  • The Simpsons episode "Bye Bye, Nerdie" has Homer becoming so obsessed with child-proofing that everything on the playground is covered in bubble-wrap, and he then regrets it when he learns that children not being injured means doctors make less money and child injury greeting card factories close down.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door parodies this by taking it to ridiculous extremes (even for this trope) in its aptly-named episode S.A.F.E.T.Y. with a safety patrol made of Kaiju-sized robots. And if you're thinking that said robots aren't exactly the safest things to be keeping around kids either... well, the episode takes a look into that too.
  • Class of 3000: "Safety Last" shows Eddie's parents locking him in a tower in order to protect him.
  • An episode of Aladdin: The Series shows the Genie sheltering Al in a bubble for protection in this manner.
  • Ron discovers how dangerous pseudo-spy work is in Kim Possible, and locks himself away in a panic room. He comes out when he discovers that Kim is in danger because she went up against Drakken, Shego, and a group of henchmen who had been built up to be far more effective than previously using corporate team building exercises, with Wade, their usual Mission Control, and next to useless in a real fight.
  • Tuck is almost hit by a car in My Life as a Teenage Robot, and shuts himself away from the outside world. Jenny tries to reassure him of his safety by showing him at a ripe old age through the "Future Scope", which leads him to believe he will live to old age no matter what, and spends the rest of the episode performing a number of life-threatening stunts. He forgets that even if he lives he still could get badly damaged.
  • Darkwing Duck: In one episode, Gosalyn visits a Bad Future in which she seemed to disappear from the time travel and Darkwing became Darkwarrior Duck. When he finds her, he intends to turn her into a sidekick, complete with thick, thick armor. The problem? "Dad, I can't move."
  • In Hey Arnold!, Sid becomes so freaked out by a Germ video that he goes as far as to plastic wrap his entire room and only leaves in a full-body diving suit.
  • In an episode of Almost Naked Animals, Octo becomes overly concerned for his co-workers' safety, but his solutions end up causing more harm than good.
  • Oscar's parents in Squirrel Boy and they control just about everything he does (even to the point of giving him "safety cents" instead of money). Weirdly, they don't seem to have the same concerns regarding their daughter, Lulu.
  • In the South Park episode "Broadway Bro Down," Larry is a little boy with very overprotective parents; his parents always have him wearing a life vest to prevent drowning. During the episode, Shelly convinces him that he doesn't need to wear the vest all the time. Larry drowns at the end of the episode, and the news reporter comments that he might have survived if he was wearing a life vest.
  • Bummer's fear of a lawsuit causes him to go overboard in ensuring the guests' safety in the Stōked! episode "Safety Last".
  • King of the Hill - when Hank finds out his check to the insurance company hadn't got delivered he became a hyper-cautious shut-in...just when Bill and Boomhauer started playing with a turkey fryer and Dale started buying bees in bulk.
  • CatDog: Cat wants Dog to be more careful (he has nine lives but Dog only has one), so he shows Dog a video about safety. Dog becomes so scared he goes too far in keeping safe (up to wearing a bubble when he goes outside) and Cat has to get him back to his old self.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Somepony to Watch Over Me", Applejack becomes overprotective of Apple Bloom, and drives her little sister crazy child-proofing Sweet Apple Acres and constantly hovering over her.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • In "The Safety", Darwin becomes overprotective of the Wattersons and he goes as far as to seize control of Elmore, just because Mr. Small showed a PSA to his class about how everything's dangerous and you're one step from dying, which suffered a very nightmarish tape failure.
    • In "The Authority", a visiting Granny Jojo is as overprotective of the kids as she was with Richard that they become as stupid from not thinking for themselves until Nicole intervenes and puts them in a speeding car, forcing them to think for their lives.
  • Franklin plays this straight twice and subverts it once. In "Franklin and the Fire," Franklin becomes worried about fire after a fire at the general store run by Mr. Mole and tries to remove anything from the house that he thinks could be a fire hazard, including candles and a toaster. His parents help him by having a fire drill.
    • In another story, "Mother Hen Franklin," Franklin becomes over-protective of his little sister Harriet after she gets hurt in an accident, covering her toys in soft foam and refusing to let her ride at more than a snail's pace on her bicycle. In this case, his mother helps him by reminding him of times such as when he got a little scrape playing hockey, but she comforted him and let him keep trying.
    • "Franklin Plays it Safe" is the subversion. In this one, Franklin and his friend Bear start becoming militant about safety after Mr. Marmot, the village safety inspector, tells them that it's "better to be safe than sorry." When one of the branches supporting their tree fort develops a crack, they worry that it might be unsafe and try to keep their friends from playing in it. Franklin even has a nightmare of it blowing down, with everyone inside. Everyone eventually gets tired of Franklin and Bear telling them what to do and they head off to play in the tree fort, only for it to blow down just as Franklin imagined, but thankfully without anyone in it. Everyone is immediately apologetic to Franklin and Bear and the tree fort is rebuilt with adult help.
  • On Goldie & Bear, when the King's Men arrive in Fairytale Forest, they deem everything they spot dangerous and make a huge list of rules that prevent everyone from doing pretty much everything, including no reading, no swimming in the water, no sitting on walls, etc. Finally, Goldie gets so fed up with it that she decides to do a bit of Loophole Abuse by figuring out a way to have everyone swim in the sky because there was no rule specifically saying that they couldn't do that. After ending up having to be rescued while trying to keep the Three Little Pigs from doing something supposedly unsafe, they come to realize they went overboard and amend the rules to say that the residents of Fairytale Forest can do all of the things that were banned before, so long as they make sure to be careful.
  • In one episode of Phineas and Ferb, a future version of Candace manages to put a stop to Phineas and Ferb's summer activities by traveling back to the events of the first episode and showing their mother. Unfortunately, Moral Guardians overreacted and started child-proofing everything from dismantling playground equipment to selling pre-colored inside-the-lines coloring books, and even going as far as sealing children in People Jars until adulthood. This results in a dystopian Bad Future where Doofenshmirtz finally rules the tri-state area.
  • The Loud House: Clyde's dads Harold and Howard tend to act like this. In particular the episode "Snow Way Down", where they take such extreme measures to keep Clyde safe that he and Lincoln can't have any fun at all.
  • The Fairly OddParents! featured Flappy Bob's Learn-A-Torium, a day camp that made you wear padding to go in a ball pit, pools that were only ankle deep, and a whack-a-mole game that ended up being a long documentary about why smacking moles is wrong. School's Out! The Musical revealed that its founder, Flappy Bob, was being manipulated by the pixies, and when they temporarily succeed they make the whole world like this.
  • In "Cat City Safety Patrol" from Pete the Cat, Dennis becomes this after a fall on a sidewalk pothole. He's fine because of his turtle shell but starts to worry that others could get hurt because they don't have shells. The others help him to see that his fears are really more due to what happened to him and that sometimes you just have to be brave.
  • Big City Greens: In "Hurt Bike", the normally impulsive and reckless Chip Green becomes safety-obsessed after he nearly gets run over while riding his dirt bike, going so far as to cover his family's house in bubble wrap.
  • Rugrats (1991):
    • In "Dil We Meet Again", Howard is the safety monitor for a block party the parents throw, and he gets on everyone's nerves when he shouts safety rules through a megaphone, most especially Lou's. According to Betty, the last time Howard was safety monitor, he made 23 citizens arrests. Lou traps him in a port-a-potty near the end of the episode so that everyone can enjoy the watermelon-eating contest in peace, but when Howard is unable to get out, he yells the safety tips he was going to review before the contest from inside the port-a-potty.
    • In "Officer Chuckie", when Officer Dan makes Chuckie a junior safety officer after saving him from traffic, Chuckie becomes obsessed with enforcing safety rules to the point where he doesn't let his friends do anything fun. He doesn't let them run fast when they race, he doesn't let Tommy pet Spike even though Spike is his pet, he takes Dil's bottle away for drinking it too fast, and he even reprimands Lil for running with a block with a picture of scissors on it. Tommy calls him out for this, but Chuckie redeems himself after he saves his friends from Angelica.

    Real Life 
  • The real-life case of David Vetter, who had a disease known as Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, or just Bubble Boy Syndrome. He had practically no immune system, as did some of his siblings - his older brother, who had the disease, had died in infancy, and so he was born in a sterile room by cesarean section and put in a bubble while they waited for a cure to be found for him. When he was twelve, doctors tried a bone-marrow transplant to cure his illness, only to have him die after a few weeks from infection brought on by it.


Video Example(s):


Mother Hen Franklin

Franklin wants to keep his little sister Harriet safe after she took a fall and scraped her knee during a wagon ride. But his attempts to make her playtime safe keep her from having any fun.

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Main / SafetyWorst

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