The Wussification of American Kids

Which mom out there contacted the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) about the dangerous Fisher-Price brand high chair that scratched your child? There were 13 of you so fess up. We moms want to know where you found the time to go up against government bureaucracy and red tape in order to make sure that no other child endured the kind of scratch or cut that your child tragically suffered.

Fortunately, you were able to alert the authorities and set into motion a national recall of 950,000 high chairs in the U.S.  I definitely feel better already.  According to the alert from the CPSC, “Children can fall on or against the pegs on the rear legs of the high chair resulting in injuries or lacerations.CPSC and Fisher-Price are aware of 14 reports of incidents, including seven reports of children requiring stitches and one tooth injury.”

High chairs that can scratch are just the tip of the iceberg.  Now, and perhaps not so surprising, the CPSC is debating the safety of children’s science kits and whether the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 would require the additional testing outlined in the Act.  A “children’s toy” is defined by the Act “as an item primarily for children 12 years of age or younger.”  Science kit manufacturers need a waiver so that they are not required to extensively test general household items in the kits like paper clips, rulers and rubber bands.  Recently, the commission denied the waiver in a 3-2 vote, which would force the manufacturers to make kits only for teens.

Tell me again why America is behind in education?  Do we really need to test paper clips? Without testing them, I know they can be swallowed (choking hazard), they are sharp when extended (eye poker outer), they can be thrown (resulting in swelling), they can be inserted into an electrical outlet (electrocution) and they can be pushed up any kid’s nose if they feel the urge.  Does that mean we take away all paper clips?  Lumping together real dangerous baby items with items that can be dangerous to a child with an imagination has done little for improving our children’s critical thinking skills.  Sometimes we just need to let them learn from stupidity to make sure they don’t end up dying from it when they’re older and things are more dangerous.  I still remember with fondness my father’s constant admonitions, “What the hell is wrong with you?  Are you some kind of a nut?”

Ahh, the good old days.