Watch out, parents: Just when you thought your children were safe, balloons and party whistles are now officially out to choke them, and teddy bears are plotting to infect them with deadly diseases.
At least that’s what the EU toy safety directive claims. Under its new guidelines, children under the age of eight who live in the European Union can no longer be trusted to blow up balloons without an adult by their side. They must wait an additional six years before they can blow a party whistle all by themselves.
And we know that non-machine washable teddy bear looks innocent, but don’t let him fool you. His cuddly fur is only a ploy to spread germs to children under the age of three.
Where are these poor children's parents? Do they realize their kids are in imminent danger?!
If we want to know why parents are getting more paranoid—and why children are taking fewer risks—we need look no further than guidelines like these. Extremely unlikely events, like choking on a balloon, turn into dire threats that children must be protected from at all costs.
According to CBS News, between 1990 and 2004, approximately 68 kids died in the United States from choking on latex balloons. While each of these deaths is unquestionably tragic, that’s fewer than five kids per year in a country that boasts 74 million people under the age of 18.
Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent, echoed our sentiments exactly when he told The Telegraph, "These bans diminish the experience, both of having fun and learning, by turning play into a danger zone with rules that stifle life and adventure for children."
We don’t need any more bans based on extremely improbable threats. We need to back off and let our children play.