Live In Fear

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.

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24 Responses to Live In Fear

  1. mssc54 says:

    Someone said that hotdogs should be reshaped into the form of a doughnut. haha

  2. SKL says:

    Well, today’s parents were educated in the liberal public education system. Why would we think they had enough sense to make wise parenting decisions?

    I don’t mind so much that those weird products and safety options exist. Many of them actually have a meaningful purpose (e.g., for special-needs kids.) What bothers me is that adults are vulnerable to the BS propoganda, e.g., you are not a responsible parent if you don’t do xyz. Are we seriously robots or just too lazy to think?

    Now, I don’t fall for a lot of things because (a) I remember my childhood and (b) my parents raised me to be a critical thinker / cynic. I must say I’m at a loss to understand why others don’t question things the way I do. But then, I’ve always been kind of different that way. I remember when I was a kid, and I could not stand kids’ shows like the Brady Bunch (and most youth-oriented movies) because they were so unrealistic, but I was the minority in this. So maybe I had an unusual childhood. Maybe I was the only kid whose mom saw BS on TV and called it like she saw it, right out loud.

    So anyhoo. Obviously (?), I am always considering safety when it comes to my kids. Whether it’s a choking hazard, a poking hazard, whatever; and I’m rather picky about what goes into my kids’ bodies. But hello, falling down is part of learning how to stay upright. And exposure to dirt and germs is how the body develops a healthy immune system. And as for things that aren’t therapeutic – such as choking – I know how to manage those risks without warning labels. Actually, the only thing my kid ever choked on (so far) was a broken-up nacho chip. I reached in and yanked it out and that was the end of that. My little gourmand tried to inhale a hotdog once, didn’t like the sensation, and un-choked herself. Nice thing about hotdogs, they are unlikely to go all the way down in one piece. (No, I don’t feed my kids hotdogs, but the aunties slipped her one at the July 4 festival.) I’m not saying hotdogs aren’t a potential choking hazard, but so are a lot of other things, and parents need to use their brains, not expect the label to think for them.

    Another thing about me is that I believe kids are pretty smart. They can learn almost anything you really want to teach them, about twice as fast as the “experts” say they can. And the last thing I will do is let someone else tell me what my kids are capable of / ready for. You say kids “may” be able to do this at age 6? We’ll start at age 3 and see how it goes. A child who is mobile can learn not to go into certain cupboards, touch wires, etc. I preferred to take the time to teach rather than put all kinds of locks on my cabinets, toilets, etc.

    That rule about the lead paint on resale products really bugs me. First of all, I believe the whole China / lead paint uproar was politically motivated (similar to the Toyota thing now). Secondly, it is an outrage to put that kind of burden on small businesses, hobbyists, libraries, etc. I thought they were discussing allowing an exception if they put up a disclaimer sign, e.g., “we didn’t have these items tested for lead.” That way the parents could decide whether or not there is an unacceptable risk for their individual child. (Not all kids eat their toys / shoes / clothes.) Do you think they will really destroy all those toys, or donate them to some other country where we apparently don’t care if kids ingest lead? What could be truly motivating these politicians, in an economy where many people have to buy second-hand or do without?

  3. LVISS says:


  4. Ellen says:

    SKL: “That rule about the lead paint on resale products really bugs me. First of all, I believe the whole China / lead paint uproar was politically motivated (similar to the Toyota thing now)”

    I have the same opinion: Politics and money!

  5. TRS says:

    Oh my heck!!

    Can I just say that as a child growing up on a farm in Nebraska, on summer evenings after dinner my parents would take all three of us kids out to the pasture to chop down Musthistle weeds. Picture it… my mom would hand six year old little me a corn knife (farmer speak for the machete that you describe) and point out the weeds I should chop down so they wouldn’t go to seed.

    I’m guessing at some point mom and dad had explained how to be careful with it… but I don’t remember that… I always thought I just inherently knew what I was dealing with and used the common sense God gave a six year old….. and I never once ever in 19 years even bumped myself with the MACHETE!!! And I was wearing flip flops – and aiming for the ground in front of me!!!

    I guess I had plenty of practice because in the mornings we would all go chop velvet leaf weeds out of the bean fields.

    I did hear once about my brother’s friend who chopped part of his big toe off while ‘walking beans’ as we call it… but that just goes to show that boys are dumber than girls. I mean, what kind of teenage idiot chops his toe through his sneakers… when a six year old in flip flops can’t manage the same?

    One of my best friends is a counselor – and told me of a study (after children’s playgrounds were all covered with soft surfaces) that showed that kids who never fall down, or scrape their knees or never develop a scab to protect such a wound -WHICH IS PART OF CHILD DEVELOPMENT BY THE WAY!!!! – never learned to deal with pain, physically OR emotionally. In fact, having never produced a scab – their bodies never actually learn to accommodate pain!!!! EVER!

    It is a real disservice to a child to never let him/her fall or fail or sustain a minor injury.

    can you imagine!!! can you imagine the neurotics this world would create if people learned to walk without ever falling down?!!

    Not a world I want to live in!!

    • Laura (LS) says:

      That’s part of the problem, TRS… we ARE creating a world of neurotics! I am absolutely amazed, when I go to playgrounds and see what’s going on there. Half the moms are like me – “Go play. Fall off? Ahh, brush it off, get a kiss from mom, and get back out there.” and the other half are holding the child’s hand, walking around just looking at the apparatus but not allowing the kid to play, lest he fall down or get dirty.

      I honestly saw someone in Wal-mart over the weekend who, literally, would NOT touch the cart with her bare hands. She pulled her sweatshirt sleeves over her hands, and maneuvered the cart WITH HER ELBOWS, over to the little disinfectant-towel dispenser. Took three of those little towels, and wiped down the ENTIRE cart, except the base thing and the wheels. Then, and only then, did she take her hands out of her sleeves and touch the cart.

      I couldn’t help but wonder how she does her laundry? That sweatshirt touched those evil germs! They can certainly be transferred to her own skin. And how does she get anything off the shelves? Does she touch the money in her wallet?

      It is truly mind-boggling.

  6. javajunkee says:

    LOL OMG I would have to even know how much lead I had in my system as a child. We had “real” toys and I am sure they were lead free as well as the 150 year old house I grew up in…LEAD LEAD LEAD! Yet here I am.
    And some of us parents were/are smart enough not to give a kid a whole hot dog. I too was wise enough to chop it up when my kids were little.

    THIS is why we have a country which hosts such ill people. The doctors have literally stopped our bodies from fighting off crap the body recognizes as bad or not needed. We have pumped more shit into our kids bodies in the name of immunizations than they could ever consume of lead and yet that is fine and recommended. It’s political bullshit at it’s finest.

    I’m gonna step back now…this kind of stuff just grates my nerves. Good rant guys!

    • Laura (LS) says:

      oh…. don’t get me started on the “pumping shit into our kid’s bodies in the name of immunizations” thing…

      I’m all for vaccinations. Wait. no. let me rephrase. I’m all for REASONABLE vaccinations. Polio? Check. Whooping Cough? yep. MMR? probably. Josh got it. But CHICKEN POX??? Really? That was one of the more memorable times in my childhood, if I’m honest! I got “The Pox” first, and suddenly, every kid in the neighborhood is at my door! We all got The Pox, we all stayed home for a little while, and wow, whaddya know? We’re now all naturally immunized. And all it cost was a week in front of the tv and a little calamine lotion.

      What truly gets me is the whole brouhaha over the mercury in the vaccines. We are told that if we drop a CFL (those stupid, ghastly twisty, fluorescent, useless light-bulbs), we have to evacuate the house IMMEDIATELY, and call a Haz-Mat team to come and clean it up, the cost of which can range from $500-$5000, because you MIGHT breathe in some Mercury fumes.. You can’t eat certain fish because of Mercury levels. Mercury thermometers are nearly illegal. You can barely say the word “Mercury” without people freaking out. But it’s still common practice, and recommended to inject the “minute amount” of Thimerosal (Mercury) into the bloodstream of an 8-week old child??????

      I do NOT understand the logic behind that.

      oh, I’ll shut up now… the Mercury thing is a rant for another day.

  7. Nikki says:

    One problem may be that people these days are “sue happy.” Companies have to protect themselves. Most have common sense, but there are exceptions. For ex. the lady who didn’t realize coffee was HOT!

    Another problem is people are way too paranoid! What we grew up with suddenly is dangerous, hazardous. Kids have to learn on their own. We as parents won’t always be there to keep them safe. The only way they learn to pick themselves up is to fall. In the literal and figurative sense.

    SKL said it, “child development.” Some things, believe it or not do NOT need our help! Look how much things and times have changed just int he last 30 years I’ve been alive. Now imagine what it will be like when our own children are raising their kids. 😦

  8. Laura says:

    **I have to make a disclaimer, here… the original thing that set me off on this particular rant was the CPSC recall of the machete.

    When you go and read it (and I included the link in the original article, but it got dumped on publishing. I blame Bill Gates), you find out that the handle was made without a “hilt” – a wall or something that blocks your hand from sliding forward if the blade hits something. Ok, that makes sense, I get it.

    But then, why did the CPSC have to make the headline, “Machete recalled for LACERATION RISK”? They couldn’t title it, “Machete recalled for inadequate handle function” or “Machete recalled for poor design”? No. They had to be all sensational about it. Maybe that’s the biggest problem I have with all of this: Everything Must Be A Crisis!!!

  9. DM says:

    like someone mentioned, you could take this in so many directions- but the sensational head-lines and twisting of information (referring to the machete story) really is @ the root of a lot of fear in our culture today. I want to stay informed about current events as much as the next guy, but finding a good, well balanced source of information is getting harder and harder to find- because as someone said, the almighty dollar is behind so much of this. I do have a great magazine I subscribe to where I get 90% of my information- it’s balanced, funny, always thoughtful and not swayed by any special interest group- if you’d like to know more-stop by my blog or shoot me an e-mail…later- dm

    • Joy says:

      I agree DM. I also feel it’s really hard to get “true fact” information. There are so many people who live with “headlines” only information. My mom is like that. She listens to the radio most of the day and then only listens to CNN. She hears the headline only and takes that as a fact. She drives me nuts. So many things she tells me she “heard” never happened and will never happen. I just sit and nod my head.

      Very good point DM.

  10. Joy says:

    First of all….I’m slapping myself upside the head for clicking and looking at that pic of the “glovies.” You can’t even be serious. These people put the “glovies” on their little darlings to keep hands clean and yet her pants are touching the toilet and are leaning against it?????? OMG…….I think I’m going to be sick. My loathing of public restrooms has my head spinning with this. I’m trying to think clearly!!!! How I wish I could “un-see” that.

    I can remember when I went to “that other site” all the time, the headlines, like DM mentioned, grabbed your eye and it was usually just stupid things. Like the machete. Some little thing has caused all these problems. They aren’t even big deals.

    I wonder why some people just want to pick everything apart. Do you have any idea how many people there are out there who look for this crazy stuff that’s “gone wrong” or has something wrong with it? I talked to a person who did the writing at “that other site” and I asked her if she got sick of writing about all these recalls and she said she hated writing about it but it was hers to cover at “that site.” How depressing.

    Hot dogs….Oh goodness. How in the world has the world gone on for so many centuries with hot dogs? It’s a wonder we aren’t all dead.


    This is a great post Laura. I love your rants.

    • Laura says:

      Thanks, Joy! I love ranting. It’s therapeutic.

      This one, in particular, was fun. I was on the phone with one of my brothers while I was writing it, telling him about the list of “baby protection” that I was compiling, and we were both laughing out loud. It was hysterical.

      Yeah, I cannot get over how “safety freakish” people are.

  11. Darryl says:

    Great post, I heard someone was driving a Winnebago and got out of the driver seat to do something and the vehicle crashed so they sued and now the drivers manual says that you cant leave the drivers seat how ridicules. And how about the commercial that shows maggots on your phone better get out the lysol and spray the house down. I cant believe the direction this country is headed for, Its going to hell really fast and I feel sorry for the kids nowdays. Its up to someone else to make all the decisions for you.

    • Laura says:

      But Darryl…. the driver set the vehicle on “cruise control”!! Isn’t that like Autopilot? Where the little Otto-guy blows up and takes over the steering wheel???

  12. Darryl says:

    I guess so in their world LOL

  13. Jim says:

    Hey Laura…

    Just so you can keep your rantmeter up in the red zone, here’s the latest thing being advertised in the Chi-town area.

    An infra-red actuated anti-bacterial soap dispenser, that way you won’t be exposed to the hundreds of germs that can be on the pump of your soap bottle.

    RANT ON!

    • Laura says:

      OMG I SAW THAT IN WAL-MART THE OTHER DAY!!!! They had an ad for it running on the overhead tv screens. I remember thinking….



    • Joy says:

      HEY…..I was going to buy one of those for my bathroom! They look neat. But I know a little boy named Christopher who would think that was too “neat” not to play with so I’ve waited.

  14. Dear Laura,
    It has been made provokingly clear that you and I travel along a very similar wavelength, abeit it you are far more, umm, professional in your responses, whilst I tend to allow my passions to blitz all over my logical self.

    Out of respect for you (and the other ladies) I shall attempt to reply sans profanity, although this kind of stuff begs for some solid swearing that can blister paint.

    The overarching problem here is an extreme proponderance of whiny-sniffing-can’t-think-for-myself-itis. It’s also steeped in a whole lot of stupid.

    Really? You idiots didn’t think a machete might cut you? Damn shame you weren’t drawing the blade across your throat and you could have done the gene pool a huge service in the process. I’m guessing these are the same people who think the government needs to help them with every little friggin thing in their life.

    GROW A PAIR, PEOPLE! Think like you have a brain . . . althought it’s frighteningly clear you don’t.

    (I’m really trying here, Laura! LOL! It ain’t easy!)

    Now, the hot dogs . . .

    That has to truly be one of the all time dumbest things I’ve heard. Make a hot dog in the shape of a hamburger. Then it’s no longer a hot dog, DUMBASS!

    Perhaps next you’d like to have Congress reduce the number of stars on the flag because you’re kid can’t count past the five fingers on his or her right hand. That’s okay, it will come in handy later for nose picking. And much later, err, other things . . . probably. If they can figure it out.

    My mind is a raging torrent! Words fly about and collide into each other in my head! I can’t even form a cogent thought. OMG . . . I’ve become of of them!

    • Laura says:

      Tears are running down my face. You made me laugh very hard this evening, and I appreciate it.

      And thank you for your restraint. I shudder to think what that would have been like, had you let fly…

      • avomnia says:

        I suppose I am sufficiently unburdened . . . for now :^)

        I cannot speak to the other products you mentioned. I mean, I could</b, but doing so would only lead to another fit of simmered hemoglobin.

        I replied to your comment on my blog, btw. Thanks for dropping in, fellow PATRIOT! LOL! (we both got the same score–yay for us!)

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