Readers — I get the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s alerts every day and this one slimed out at me: Fisher-Price is officially alerting all owners of its Rock ‘n Play Infant Sleeper that it is filled with large, sharp rocks to play with.
No. I joke. It’s alerting consumers to the fact the bouncy seat can develop mold if it’s not cleaned properly.
But…so can bellybuttons. So did all my children’s plastic bath toys. So can guacamole hidden behind the olives at the back of the fridge. (Don’t ask how I know.) Here’s the actual description of the heinous infraction on CPSC’s website:
Mold can develop between the removable seat cushion and the hard plastic frame of the sleeper when it remains wet/moist or is infrequently cleaned, posing a risk of exposure to mold to infants sleeping in the product. The CPSC advises that mold has been associated with respiratory illnesses and other infections. Although mold is not present at the time of purchase, mold growth can occur after use of the product.
How did we get to the point in our culture where we actually have to alert people to the amazing fact that if a kid is constantly sitting, possibly peeing, in a seat, and no one ever applies a little soapy water, things may start getting hairy…literally?
Of course it must be due to fear of litigation. (“Why didn’t someone TELL me a year’s worth of drool might get gross?”) The problem with this is that:
1) Fisher-Price has to worry that someone WOULD sue them about this problem.
2) That this in turn accustoms us to being warned about even the most obvious things. (“Remove baby before folding stroller.”) Which –
3) Seems to suggest that if we are NOT explicitly warned of the most obvious things, we should be able to sue any company for anything stupid that WE do. (“It doesn’t say NOT to put my arm up the exhaust pipe!” “Why didn’t it tell me I couldn’t microwave a live fish?” “I figured if candy bars taste good, so must iPhones!”)
Time to go bury my misery in a nice, big bowl of guacamole.
Mold magnet or litigation lure?