“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]
Infuriating: “a pair of Harvard scholars writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association advocate stripping away the custody rights of parents of super obese children. … ‘Despite the discomfort posed by state intervention, it may sometimes be necessary to protect a child,’ said Lindsey Murtagh, a lawyer and researcher at Harvard’s School of Public Health. The study’s co-author, David Ludwig, says taking away peoples’ children ‘ideally will support not just the child but the whole family, with the goal of reuniting child and family as soon as possible.’” [Atlantic Wire]
More: Ira Stoll notes the following sentence from the JAMA piece: “Even relatively mild parenting deficiencies, such as having excessive junk food in the home or failing to model a physically active lifestyle, may contribute to a child’s weight problem.” From M.M., via social media: “I’ve never seen better evidence for that old William F. Buckley, Jr. quote: ‘I’d rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston telephone directory than by the 2,000 members of the Harvard faculty.’” And Ken at Popehat examines the possibility that the researchers were just, you know, trying to “start a conversation” about the need for more child-snatching.
“Kyleigh’s Law,” which imposed an 11 p.m. curfew on younger drivers and required them to affix red reflective decals on their vehicles, was really not a very good idea, but New Jersey lawmakers figured that not voting for it might seem to insult Kyleigh’s memory. Much could be said as well against Megan’s Law, Hannah’s Law, Jessica’s Law, Chelsea’s Law … might one discern a pattern here? [Michael Tracey, Reason]
Eugene Volokh has a legal analysis of the ballot proposal, which includes no religious-belief exemption. More: Dave Hoffman.
Because you can’t be too safe. [Free-Range Kids]
…and something bad might happen. Can you guess what that bad thing is most likely to be? [Free-Range Kids]
Parents who volunteer at school won’t need to hold back until they’ve completed a police scan. [Free-Range Kids]
Gotham cops crack down on pawn pushers in parks. [NY Times]
“Eat a bagel, lose your baby” [Jacob Sullum, Reason] For more on the problematic legal status of the classic bagel and European-bread enhancement, see Michael Pollan’s classic 1997 Harper’s article.
Lenore Skenazy debunks the scare: there’s no evidence that any American child has ever been killed by poisoned candy from a stranger.
Authorities in the Lincolnshire village of Glentham, U.K., are threatening action based on “child protection” if a couple continue to let their daughter walk 40 yards to her school bus stop. The couple say the road isn’t particularly busy and that Isabelle is good about looking both ways before crossing. [Daily Mail]
Famed for playing (among others) the tough Nanny McPhee, the actress has this to say (BabyCenter interview via FreeRangeKids):
I think it’s good to be brave because then you’re also slightly more able to cope with failure and failure of course is your best friend in every regard really. Children are brave and they’re more likely to take risks and they’re more likely to learn really important lessons.
That’s really what I mean by being brave, you know. That we take care of our children very carefully and that’s absolutely right, but in certainly my culture children are being so, I think, stifled by sort of health and safety so that they’re not climbing trees anymore, they’re not taking risks, physical risks anymore.