Lil' Genghis, future world leader Lilypie Fifth Birthday tickers

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Keeping baby safe

This post is going to stray from the usual warm-and-fuzzies-with-cute-pictures, which, yeah, means mom isn't writing it.

As a parent, dad knows a good chunk of his new job is supposed to be keeping baby safe. That's getting harder and harder, apparently. It's no longer enough to simply tuck away the drain cleaner and everything else from your meth lab; it's the stuff for the baby, not for the drugs, that's the most dangerous.

Witness this: Just yesterday, we heard about the recall of a million baby cribs -- A MILLION. This is by the same company that made Lil' Genghis new high chair, the one from the last blog post.

There was a reference in the crib recall story to a group, Kids In Danger, which tries to track recalls. Go there, and click on the monthly recall notice, and you'll see about a dozen entries ... including a car seat from Britax, which is the same company that made one of ours.

It gets better. On the same day, of course, Mattel and China go at again. Mattel apologized, maybe. You see, those three rounds of recalls weren't all about lead paint. The biggest problems were magnets, little magnets, that can fall off and choke your child. That's a design problem, and that's all the fault of Mattel, an American-based manufacturer and designer. Yes, people in two countries are trying to kill off your progeny, but the worst offender is right here in the US Of A.

Mattel? These are the people who bring you the McDonald's Drive-Thru Barbie, but they're also the people who make lots of other stuff under lots of other names. Like Isabella's Fisher-Price bouncer, which is at my feet as I type this.

On the same day, we hear that a medication for babies is making some of them very sick. Maybe since these problematic products are so pervasive, we ought to turn to humor to cope.

Witness this thread on, headlined: If you had "baby cribs" in the latest Chinese Death Products pool, please step forward and claim your prize.

The second comment? "My son is about a month old, and we actually looked at this crib. We eventually got something way nicer, though.


The third comment? "I see no reason to get all worked up about this. The Invisible Hand of the free market will take care of these inferior Chinese products, right after it's done choking the shiat out of some babies."

It's scary. Of course, since the toy companies are fumbling around, and China can't seem to get production right, we should rely on the American government to get it right. Just follow that link to hear about how the American government praised the toy companies ... and relies on a guy named Bob to do the nation's inspections of toys.

Bob. Just about everyone knows a Bob. Bobs are generally good guys*, and we like guys that try to keep our kids safe. The New York Times earlier profiled Bob, also known as Robert L. Hundemer. He's quoted:

One lab worker used a magnifying glass and a mechanical stop watch to help conduct a fabric flammability experiment — the same equipment she has used for three decades. The toy laboratory, down the hall, is an office so cramped that the only space dedicated to a drop test to see if toys will break into small pieces and cause a choking hazard is the spare space behind the office door. “This is the toy lab for all of America — for all of the United States government!” said Robert L. Hundemer, the one agency employee who routinely tests toys, as he held up his arms in the air. “We do what we can.”

Clearly, what we need is a something, someone to create improved trade routes, endorse diverse viewpoints, improve communication, study ways unifying things into a common system, and hold administrators accountable. We need, basically, Genghis.

And remember, pray there's intelligent life somewhere up in space, because there's bugger all down here on Earth:

* Uncle Rodrigo has a nickname of Bob. He isn't really a Bob.


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