EU directive on kids, balloons and other toys

by Walter Olson on October 12, 2011

“Whistle blowers, that scroll out into a long coloured paper tongue when sounded – a party favourite at family Christmas meals – are now classed as unsafe for all children under 14. … the EU legislation will impose restrictions on how noisy toys, including rattles or musical instruments, are allowed to be.” Unsupervised children under 8 should not be allowed to blow up balloons, according to the European Union directive, which has just taken effect. [Telegraph; headline changed after objection that the Telegraph's headline was misleading]

In related news, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, addressing a United Nations conference on “the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases,” has said that “mak[ing] healthy solutions the default social option” on matters such as diet is “ultimately government’s highest duty.” [Sullum]

{ 8 comments }

1 Bob Lipton 10.12.11 at 6:37 am

Well my mother always said you could put an eye out with that. But she said that about everything. It’s a wonder she had three children.

Bob

2 Alan K. Henderson 10.12.11 at 11:54 am

I want to see if the EU can bend the laws of physics enough to lower the volume of the corn popper push toy.

There’s no way that toy could have been invented by someone who had kids.

3 ps 10.12.11 at 2:05 pm

in an effort to curb obesity, the EU has banned birtjday cake. In order to reduce rampant consumerism amd depletion of the rain forests, the EU has banned the giving of birthday presents. To stop discrimination against the disabled, blind mans bluff has been renamed visually impaired persons plausible deniability, then it was banned because it was dangerous anyway.

4 Lane 10.12.11 at 3:20 pm

This has been reported a zillion times – too good to resist (“Socialist Europe bans fun, just like Obama”) despite being totally false. The directive mandates a warning on balloons, saying that children under 8 should be supervised. That’s it. A warning.

Internet hysteria here:
http://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ie=UTF-8&ion=1&nord=1#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&nord=1&site=webhp&source=hp&q=eu%20bans%20balloons&pbx=1&oq=&aq=&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=&gs_upl=&fp=18aa9f7b4fee5b6d&ion=1&ion=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&fp=18aa9f7b4fee5b6d&biw=1024&bih=653&ion=1

Relevant facts here:
http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/toys/files/tsd-guidance/tsd_rev_1-3_explanatory_guidance_document_en.pdf

5 Mike 10.12.11 at 6:39 pm

Lane, this time it might be a warning, sometimes its a law. Thats not the point. I dont need or want government telling me (or warning me) how to supervise my kids with balloons. I also dont want the government telling me to eat my veggies, get into bed before 10pm, or to wipe my ass before leaving the bathroom. These things may all be good for me, but I already have a mother, I dont need a second one.
Government has important roles, but mothering us should not be one of them.
How did humans survive all these centuries without these oh so helpful “warnings” ?

6 roy 10.12.11 at 8:01 pm

I initially read this as simply “Children to be banned from blowing up”, which seemed pretty reasonable.

7 doug 10.12.11 at 8:47 pm

but why do you need the warning at all? if it doesnot apply to household use, why does it apply? everywhere else? why is parental supervision better than any other adult supervision?

8 Lane 10.13.11 at 5:27 pm

Hey, I’m of a pretty libertarian bent, and so I’m not a fan of bans. I just want accurate information – on child’s toys (deflated balloons are a notorious choking hazard for children) and in headlines about policy.

If you’re OK with this label policy being billed as “EU bans children blowing up balloons”, I’m with you, in a way – I can’t stop people from consuming junk food or junk news.

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