This has GOT to be the most ridiculous thing I’ve read in a long time. Ok, in a very short time, since I also read, a week or two ago, about the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) requesting a complete reformulation of hot dogs, because their current shape poses a choking hazard for children.
The first story – the one that has set me most recently – is a recall of machetes, recently issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Yes, machetes. Those long knives with a curve at the end, usually used for hacking away overgrown vegetation. And the recall is for…. wait for it…. wait for it…. a LACERATION HAZARD!!! Imagine that. You can get CUT by a very large, very sharp knife! Who’da thunk it? I mean, honestly, it never would have crossed my mind that a blade that’s almost 20” long might be capable of cutting my hand. And the basis of the recall? FIVE people have cut their hands on these blades, requiring stitches. I have to wonder what the stats on that are? How many of those machetes have been sold in the past year? And out of those, only five have “caused” a problem? Has anyone considered “user error”??? Probably not. Heaven forbid people think an inch ahead of themselves, and put on a pair of work gloves before using the product.
The second story was in the news a couple of weeks ago, and involved America’s Favorite Food, hot dogs. (Joy: there’s another jingle for ya.. “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet”) Yes, seriously – the AAP has determined that hot dogs are… wait for it again… a choking hazard because of the way that they are shaped!!! Alert the Presses! A long, narrow, cylindrical object might be a choking hazard! Oh, wait, they already did. And they went one step further, and actually contacted the makers of hot dogs and asked them to reformulate the hot dogs, making them look more like hamburger patties. In an interview on the Michael Smerconish show, one of those hot-dog-heads said that he told the AAP guy… “we already do that. It’s called bologna!” And continued with: “My kids ate hot dogs all the time when they were little. I cut the meat into small pieces so they wouldn’t choke.” Well, duh. Apparently, though, the public is too stupid to think of things like that anymore.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this rant. Maybe I’m just overly sensitive to the CPSC. After all, they’re the group who, two years ago, caused the recall of tons and tons of Thomas the Tank Engines because of lead content, which kicked off an ongoing pursuit of lead in all things. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for getting the lead out (har har). But the lead recalls have gone a bit overboard – a recall was recently issued because lead was found in the coloring on the BOTTOM of a pair of children’s shoes (not baby or toddler shoes. Children’s shoes). Honestly, who lets their kids gnaw on the bottoms of shoes??? And that’s not even considering the actual amount of lead that must be in the bloodstream to cause harm. But the recalls are issued anyway. And then there’s this law…
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) requires ALL products made for children to be tested by a third party for lead in particular. The problem with this is that it does not exclude products made in the U.S., or handmade products that are not only made in the U.S., but are also made from materials manufactured in the U.S. Those little toy cars that Old Joe made in his garage to sell so he can make a few bucks to supplement his Social Security check? Yeah, now they have to be tested. To the tune of anywhere between $300 and $4000. PER CAR. That law doesn’t even exempt those products that have already been manufactured, sold, and are now donated to organizations like Goodwill. Those organizations are required to have a certificate of safety, or dispose of the products if there is any question, and violation results in fees around $10,000 per offense. Our landfills are going to be overflowing with perfectly usable toys because someone, somewhere, is overly freakish about lead.
Honestly. Here’s a list of some of the “safety products” that I found in about fifteen minutes:
- GLovies – protective hand covers, to protect your toddler from “public places lurking with germs”
- Baby kneepads to protect baby’s knees as he’s learning to crawl (I love that they’re called “Silikids” – like kids are allowed to be “silly” anymore)
- Baby crawling pants – to protect knees AND butt (because the padding provided by God and diapers apparently aren’t enough)
- Crawling BODYsuit – forget the kneepads and the pants. Just pad everything.
- Baby Walking Wings – straps that extend from a chest harness up, for mommy to hold while helping baby learn to walk. Do children no longer have arms?
- Baby Protective Safety Helmet – to keep baby from bonking his head while he’s learning to walk
When did we become such an incapable, fearful society? When did we go from founding a new country, forging West to find gold, inventing the car and braving the Heavens to walk on the Moon, to a society that promotes knee pads, puts antibacterial stuff on EVERYTHING because we can’t have germs of any kind touching our bodies, and believes, absolutely, that George Stephanopolous is correct when he says that 2,000 children are abducted every day? (and it’s been recently revealed that Purell, for one, doesn’t even work)
I weep for the future that is being built for our children.