Yesterday I was haunting the bead aisle at AC Moore again, using up what was left of my Mother’s Day Gift Card and I came across a charming little charm that caught my eye. It was a faux brass zipper pull in the shape of those oriental coins – with the square hole in the middle. Cute but once I got a good look I decided it was too big to be a dangly for one of my bookmarks so I was about to put it back when the wordage on the card caught my eye:
Not for children under 15 years of age.
WTF? I read it twice just to be sure it said years and not months. Yes, this product, a metallic zipper pull, should not be used by children who, in some states can be licensed to operate farm machinery.
I thought to myself, are we taking this a bit too far, now? I considered calling DD over [age 13] and asking her if she might have any desire to stick the zipper pull in her eye or swallow it, but I thought, no – best not to invite trouble since I wouldn’t be covered legally if anything went wrong. I couldn’t sue the company for negligence if she jammed the zipper pull up her nose because it said so clearly on the package that she was too young to use it properly.
Carefully, I put the zipper pull back on the rack, fearing that since I occasionally have immature thoughts, it might even be to dangerous for me to be fooling around with. I backed away from the rack and considered myself lucky to have spared my kids from such peril. I should probably check all their jackets for zipper pulls because I had no idea they were so dangerous.
This incident seems especially ludicrous considering just yesterday I discovered the blog of Lenore Skenazy, a columnist for the New York Sun who recently drew scads of criticism when she wrote an article about how she allowed her 9-yeare-old son to ride the subway alone. [Once, mind you.] In response she started a blog called Free Range Kids to discuss and promote the novel concept of actually allowing children some freedom. I like the term she uses for the uber-protective modern parent “Helicopter Mom” – the ones that hover and don’t allow their children to breathe in the wrong direction. I wonder if she knows about the dangers posed by zipper pulls for the under 15 set.
While I don’t agree with Ms. Skenazy’s decision to let her son ride the subway alone [I don’t even think most adults should be alone on the subway] I applaud her down-to-earth approach to parenting and to safety. She’s an advocate of something very rare today, ‘common sense.’ Most people don’t have it, especially when it comes to their kids, and the litigious atmosphere of this country makes it even worse. Now we have to designate beads and charms to be too dangerous for young teenagers? Why? Because somewhere, some fool 14 ¾ year old did something stupid with a zipper pull and their parents sued?
Can we have a return to reality around here, people? Please.