I'll admit I do some helicoptering with my almost 4 year old. I hate it but I have to do it at the park. I do restrain myself from saying "be careful" "watch out", "hold onto the railing". I really really try. And I let her wander all she wants to and go on whatever equipments she wants to, but I have to be pretty close.
Why? Because she is sooo clumsy. She nearly drowned in 1 foot of water at age 2.5 last summer at the baby pool. She could stand up easily but she panicked when her face was in the water. I was next to the pool (about 3 feet way). She panics in close quarters, especially with other kids around. Like at the indoor playgrounds at fast food joints.
Just last week,
she was climbing up a ladder at the park, luckily I was close, because she slipped on the rung above her and I caught her 5 five feet off the ground. Then she was climbing a faux rock wall mountain thingie, more horizontally than vertically, and she slipped completely off and would have fallen 4 ft to the ground had I not been close enough to grab her by the leg before her head hit the ground.
A couple months ago, she left the steps of the pool (where she's allowed to play when I am not in the actual water with her-she has for months and months faithfully played on the steps and never once wandered into the pool without me, though I am watching her from about 3 feet away) and went into the water and started flailing. Her 7 year old friend in the pool actually pulled her out before I could get there. She forgot she couldn't swim. Now she has to wear a flotation device to play on the steps. This happened at 3.5 years of age.
I mention how far away I am in all of this because it goes to show you how she gets into danger even when I am close! The child can read and is smart as a whip but she does not have a lot of body awareness. She is enrolled in dance and soccer this fall in the hopes of her becoming more body aware and helping with motor skills.
ETA: and I question whether my being close is encouraging her to be careless and I try to take that into account. I felt like such the horrible mom during the pool incidents, of course. And I'm really hands off at home, she chops veggies, has 5 pairs of her own scissors, helps me sewing, etc.
Oh, but I also wanted to add that I, myself, am really really clumsy. I'm always dropping things or hurting myself. My dh makes fun of me constantly for it, since he's very athletic/coordinated. I once tripped while hiking downhill and eating a granola bar at the same time. I went tumbling down the trail, granola bar in hand
So I wonder if it's a genetic thing, or if maybe she needs to be evaluated, now that I think about it....