Friday, September 14, 2012

Magnets aren't food. Understand?

I recently wrote an essay to help protest the CPSC's position that spherical magnets should be banned in the US, despite there being rare incidents of ingestion, and many warnings on all magnet packaging. If you want to join the fight, go to and let the CPSC know how you feel. No pictures this time, because it's an essay, and I don't really feel like illustrating a child choking on an egg or being strangled by a piano... although, now that I typed that out, I might change my mind.
It was with great relief that I read a news article stating that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is trying to ban all magnetic spheres in the United States. If a company can't predict every possible way that their product could be misused, I don't believe they should be able to sell their product. I see this as the first step in a wonderful new world where people will no longer have to worry about reading, or heeding, any warnings, because only products safe enough for young children will be allowed on the shelves, no matter what the age of the intended consumer.
In order to help this process along, I have come up with some suggestions for items that should have been banned years ago, and probably shouldn't have even been allowed onto store shelves in the first place. This list is not definitive, but brings to light some other dangerous things that the CPSC should investigate and attempt to ban:
1) Eggs. These things don't even come with a warning label! Eggs are kept in refrigerators, which have shelves that are easily accessible to almost anyone of any age, and are shaped to slide easily out of a chicken's cloaca, which is eerily similar to the mouth of a young child. Once in the back of a child's mouth, involuntary muscles will pull the egg farther down to the back of the throat and lodge it in there. If, by some miracle, you are able to break the egg, to stop the choking, the poor child will now have his/her throat torn to ribbons by the sharp shell shards sliding around, and his/her lungs filled with the thick, sticky, contents of the egg.
2) Garden hoses. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people watering their yards without a care in the world, but all I can see is a blatant disregard for my child's safety! Children can drown in as little as an inch of water, and every gardener knows that a good watering puts 1 - 2 inches of water into the soil. I'm aware that most of it is absorbed into the ground, but there are bound to be puddles around areas with more clay in the soil, or what if there's a pie tin on the ground for the birds to bathe in? What if a child is walking by, unaware that the yard was just watered, and trips, falls into that pie tin and drowns? Surely that is the fault of the hose manufacturer.
3) Pianos. Last winter I attended a concert where there were not one, or two, but SIX pianos on stage, being played by children. The children in the performance were being closely supervised by trained adults, but what about the children in the audience who now think it is okay to play a piano the next time they see one, be it in their parents' house, or the school music room, or anywhere music may be performed? Every one of the strings inside a piano is a strangulation risk, and the black keys look almost identical to kit-kat chocolate bars! It's like they were designed as children-killing machines.
4) Shoes. Let's ignore the obvious hazard of shoe laces, and other shoe fastening implements, and focus on the real issue that shoes create in not just children, but adults as well: a false sense of safety. Picture it... for most of your life, you have been walking around in shoes, confident that only the nastiest of evil things can penetrate your sole, but what happens if your shoes are stolen during a daring downtown mugging, and you have to walk home barefoot? Maybe you won't notice the razor blade covered in black, trod-upon, chewing gum and your toe gets sliced. BAM! Blood poisoning.
5) Lamps. I'm sure you know that lamps are the leading cause of lamp-related injuries, and death, not just in the United States, but the ENTIRE WORLD. Not only is the cord a strangulation hazard, but there's the risk of electrocution, and my tongue has often been first burnt and then sliced open by the thin shards of bulb glass, when all I do is lick the light bulb to see if it's gotten warm yet! I am an adult, and know what to expect in that situation, but what if it happens to an innocent child? Why has the CPSC been blatantly ignoring this hazard?
6) Scissors. This is what I consider one of the most dangerous offenders on the list. Not only can scissors be found in just about any store across this great nation, but there have been drawers/containers full of scissors in every classroom I have ever visited, preschool through high school. Yes, the manufacturers have gone to some trouble to make safety scissors available to the youngest of humans, but those only stop people from getting cut. The blades of the scissors are still capable of poking out an eye, or getting stuck in a child's throat.
7) Writing implements. I firmly believe that all writing implements smaller than a keyboard should be banned in the United States. Pencils/pens/markers/crayons/etc... are inherently dangerous in their design, and there are many better alternatives to these outdated modes of writing. Speech recognition software is becoming more and more accurate, and if disabled people can be trained in the use of software that tracks eye movement to type and draw, why can't we use this in school, for all students? The banning of writing implements would almost eliminate the number of repetitive stress injuries from repeated scrawling of letters, numbers, and full words, on paper, and I would no longer live in fear of my children being blinded by those eye-gougers masked as art supplies.
8) Cats. Now, I'm not completely sure that cats fall under the jurisdiction of the CPSC, but they are so notoriously dangerous and unpredictable that the fact even turns up in the myths and legends of our times. Have you ever heard of a little song called, "Cat Scratch Fever" before? Cats love to chase anything smaller than themselves that moves. Most cats probably won't intentionally try to kill your toddler, but combine a kitten on a nip binge with the dangling, taunting, uvula of a wailing child, and you have a catastrophe waiting to happen. This scenario is so likely that the word "cat" is built into a word we have that, according to, means "a sudden, extensive, or notable disaster or misfortune."
If the people of this great nation can find time to just look at how much better the world will be without personal responsibility, and by banning an artistic toy not meant for children, they will know that the CPSC is just doing their job, and making it safe for children to break their bones on trampolines, choke on latex balloons, eat marbles, and ride their bikes into traffic.
I hope you take my suggestions into consideration. Feel free to contact me if you need any more ideas.
Sincerely, Guinevere Cuthbert, Portland, Oregon.

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