The World’s Five Best Toys (that aren’t on the government’s “safe” list)

Sunday, February 13, 2011
Posted in category Safety Nazis

From Wired magazine: A stick, box, string, cardboard tube, and dirt. A heroic article. I’d also add the most politically incorrect of all toys – plastic bags. And maybe even rocks and pillows, along with a special nod to blister packaging.

There were the days when imagination and jocularity trumped senseless and overbearing child safeguards from the irrational safety nazi crowd. I love this particular photo: “the war of cardboard tubes.” We hammered one another, as kids, with cardboard tubes, fully knowing that head shots were more comical than harmful. I also delighted in running around the house, sneaking up on my parents, and “tubing” a little utterance in their ears. Aggravating for them, a joy for me. Note that the stick has been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. Horrors – the stick even has a sharp point on it!

Nowadays, every item, toy, word, gaze, thought, activity, and action poses a potential threat to some child somewhere, so it must be banned. My favorite free-range Mom, Lenore Skenazy, has noted that even trees are considered a threat to children.

For almost a half-century, kids at the farm-based Moorestown Children’s School in New Jersey have spent a lot of their time stomping in the mud, running through the meadow and visiting the barn, blissfully oblivious to the danger in their midst.


Oh, the child care inspectors don’t use that term. They call it “overgrown vegetation” — the tree branches that dip down to the ground, weeping willow-style. These must be chopped off — every last branch, until inspectors can see 7 feet of bare trunk on every tree — or the school will be cited for safety violations.

Ahh, yes – dangerous. No child should be left alone with a low-hanging tree branch. Lenore notes that the school once had a stream, but that was fenced off for “safety” reasons. There were also special-cut sitting logs that the kids could move around for their convenience and fun, but since they weren’t permanently affixed to the ground over a “safety surface,” they were “illegal” and had to be taken away. The kids at the school can no longer run around in their bare stockings – shoes are required. I wonder when the time will come where I will be arrested for running barefoot in my local (county-owned) Metropark?

Lenore also pointed out that sledding hills are closing due to …. a lack of a 100% safety guarantee. Someone might get hurt, so the throng of control freaks and government safety advocates decide to protect us from ourselves. It’s just too “dangerous” to go sledding anymore.

Summer Infant baby video monitors are killing machines, too. Since a couple of incidents have led to baby deaths – from people hanging cords in the cradle – the devices have been recalled. Electronic devices do have cords, and the idea is to not hang these cords in baby’s way. But in the minds of public protection force, the device itself is responsible for the deaths. But certain types of cribs can also be dangerous, too, leading to their recent recall. And the US government has already banned the manufacture and sale of all dropside cribs in this country. Additionally, a child was recently suspended from school for taking a nerf gun to school in his backpack to use at recess time. And to think my friends in who are in their 60s took a shotgun to class by way of the school bus.

Christopher Orlet writes, in the American Spectator,

This mania seems but a logical outgrowth of a Nanny State that since FDR’s regime has been busily sucking the last dram of independence and self-reliance from the American character. Children, especially, are being adversely affected by such pambying. Every time we let the Nanny in we give mothers and fathers another excuse to hand over their responsibilities, allowing some cold, inept, and malcontented agency marm to see after the welfare of our kids. Of course, it’s not just our children the Nanny is looking out for. She’s also got her dark eye focused on the ignorant and weak. She will go to any extreme to stave off the cold forces of natural selection, to keep the sickening herd from thinning out one iota.

This is a nation of panic-stricken, controlling, bored, cretinous busybodies whose sole purpose is to have a voice in all matters and retain control over everyone else who might run into a sharp corner, swallow a part of a small toy, aim a nerf gun at a defenseless child, fall off a bike, poke their eye on a tree branch, or shiver in the cold. As Dale Franks wrote in 1997, “Somewhere in the past thirty or forty years, we seem to have gotten it into our heads that we have the duty to round off all of life’s sharp corners.”

Which brings me to this thought: have you ever went swimming in a public pool with others, trying to have a little fun, and every single thing you do gets you a frantically-blowing whistle from one of the 19-year-old lifeguards telling you that you have committed a safety violation?

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10 Responses to The World’s Five Best Toys (that aren’t on the government’s “safe” list)

  1. cousinlucky says:

    February 13th, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    I fell out of a tree as a child and my friend tried to catch me! I blacked out before I hit the ground and woke up screaming on the way to the hospital.

    I sledded down a long high hill but when I tried to turn my sled the speed and the solid ice kept me going straight right under the wheels of a moving truck and into the traffic island. I also, at another time, sledded face first into a rock wall. I have also been bitten by a dog.

    I also got hit by someone cannonballing into a deep pool and almost drowned.
    I am not called ” lucky ” for nothing!! Your brain remembers those hurting lessons the most vividly and teaches you some prudence; if you do not learn to deal with being hurt as a child how will you deal with the many hurts of adult life? I have nothing but pity for today’s American children because the country that I grew up in is gone, probably forever!!

  2. David Smith says:

    February 14th, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Great article, Miss Karen. As compliant as many of us seem to have been over the decades, ceding our liberty ever so incrimentally for the sake of safety or security (like the proverbial frog in the skillet!), I believe we are on the verge of a sea-change. The nanny state has so overreached, to the point of absurdity, that even the average citizen senses that this simply cannot be borne. Overthrow, or at least non-compliance, is on the way.

  3. Art says:

    February 14th, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    “have you ever went swimming in a public pool with others, trying to have a little fun, and every single thing you do gets you a frantically-blowing whistle from one of the 19-year-old lifeguards telling you that you have committed a safety violation?”

    Oh, how I hate them! The worst one was when my kids couldn’t use inflatable toys in the pool, because “they may give a false sense of security”.

    Unfortunately, complaints about such rules being stupid, are usually countered with “I don’t make the rules, I only enforce them”… Well, here’s an idea, don’t take a job that requires enforcing stupid rules!

    Rant over.

    Thanks Karen!

  4. Jeannie Queenie says:

    February 15th, 2011 at 1:09 am

    Am not for a nanny state, but those baby monitors do give one pause. I recall babysitting for one of my kids a few years ago. Went into the baby’s room and heard some other woman’s voice coming over the monitor…a neighbor I guess, who was cooing to her baby. It struck me that she could have as easily been screaming at her kids or arguing with her husband, or perhaps something better or more juicy..and all of that would have been heard by a neighbor with a baby monitor. But that pales in comparison to the stories of burglars taking advantage of being able to see inside a house into the nursery with these monitors. Check out the video from a news program last fall on just what these monitors can do…don’t think I’d ever buy one!

  5. clark says:

    February 18th, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    “every single thing you do gets you a frantically-blowing whistle ”

    Yes,… the fun suckers.

    I never see children playing outside anymore, unless they are a part of a structured group like soccer or something.

    The old timers used to tell me how they would play by taking a wheel, I think like a bike wheel, and the honored stick, then use the stick to push the wheel and keep it going. I was never into that, but it sure shows how times have changed. I think anyway.

    In the store today I saw an ungodly sight, I thought of your possible reaction when I saw it. An overly obese woman about 40 yrs old was driving around the store in one of those electric shopping cart/chair thingies. That of course was bad enough, but the really bad part was what followed her around. A boy of about 10 or 12yrs old, not quite obese, just fat, wearing what looked like slippers, sitting in the exact same type of electric shopping cart/chair thingie. He looked sooo bored, pathetic and… it was sad to see, especially because they drove so slowly all throughout the store, it might be different if he was racing it around the store.

    It was a sunny and halfway nice day out, making it all the more,… wrong.

    It didn’t seem like there was anything wrong with the boy, it’s possible I suppose, but I really doubt it. He was being groomed, I thought. I wanted to say something, but it was none of my business and I was so bowled over by the sight that I didn’t know wHAt to say.
    At least he was safe, eh? Some people probably figure the boy should have been wearing a helmet too, and a seat-belt, and a rubber padded suit, you know, for protection.

  6. William Jeffreys says:

    February 19th, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    What we need to do is get the need to control others classified as the mental disorder it is. Then when someone butts into your business, you could pat them on the shoulder and say “Oh, you poor dear. You have needstocontrolothersitis. I’m so sorry. Are you being treated?”

  7. Iluvatar says:

    February 20th, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    There are the Life Guard Nazis and then there are the Pool Chlorine Nazis; I give them royal HELL.

    I have had my fray w/ them, both when the kids were young and now that I am the only fart there.

    “Hey sir!, you CAN NOT go down the slide head first! You’re OUT!”

    “You can’t throw that frisbee here!”

    Frickin’ Nazis…

    “Sir! You can NOT do a bounce dive, half-gainer, back dive here!!”

    “Hey dude!?!?! I just DID” ( a blown kiss ensues and then I go for it on the jack-knifes – diving is GOOD!)

    Oh btw, would LOVE to see a DSM-IV category for the controlling bovine/NAZI!

    Hell yea! Put `em in an asylum (rock & roll – lol!!).

  8. PC says:

    February 22nd, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Ah yes, Nerf! Another great toy from the 70s has morphed from basketballs into semi-automatic blasters with foam bullets. So much fun for the kids but mom, a bit brainwashed into the idea that shooting each other with foam pellets sets a bad precedent, was not sure she wanted them around the house. Well, of course, they are a huge hit with the kids. And, last night, I had an all out Nerf b-ball battle with my 11 year old. It was more of a wrestling match with both of us getting kneed, tackled, bashed, leaving us with rug burns and many bruises – he’s become a tough little bugger and Dad got to have a little fun too.

  9. clark says:

    February 22nd, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Wow, did I ever create some bad grammar. I suppose I’m lucky it didn’t result in an arrest and a tasering or worse? Guess I was distracted by the descriptions of the attempt by the state to rub out fun, ban toys and cancel Christmas for everyone.

    Oh look, it’s danger, run!

    high dive boards
    unfenced swimming pools
    dogs without a leash
    unsupervised sledding
    kids playing cops and robbers
    kids playing dodge ball

    Think they will require baseballs to be made out of rubber soon too? Oh wait, rubber is dangerous too, how about nerf material?
    Do busybodies and control freaks spaz out when they see people playing football? I’d bet they would blow a gasket if they saw kids jumping off rooftops or from a tree branch and walking/jumping on thin ice. Or catching a snake, or grabbing a snapping turtle by the tail, and what about horse back riding? Watching that has Got to make some people very panic-stricken :P

    Yet somewhere, a child is taught how to noodle. Perhaps swimming should be banned altogether to prevent that?

    Yup, “Nowadays, every item, toy, word, gaze, thought, activity, and action poses a potential threat to some child somewhere, so it must be banned.”

    And the Wusification continues…

  10. Karen De Coster says:

    February 22nd, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    What I wouldn’t give for a good nerf battle or a wicked pillow fight ….

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