CONTEST: Come Up with a Warning Label For a Ball

Playing off of yesterday’s zeedknattd
, about a trial lawyer who annually releases a laughably litigious TOP 10 DANGEROUS TOY LIST, which some of the media still treat as legit, here’s our Free-Range Kids contest:

Come up with a product warning that a nervous company might put on a ball. Any kind of ball. 

Winner gets a copy of Free-Range Kids, the book, signed by me.

Deadline for entries is the 5 p.m. Eastern Time, next Weds, Nov. 23, the day before Thanksgiving. In case of similar entries, first one posted wins.

And remember: Type carefully! Your fingers are precious! –  L


May be toxic if ground into fine powder, mixed with sugar and eggs, and baked into cookies frosted with lead.

May be toxic if ground into fine powder, mixed with sugar and eggs, baked into cookies and frosted with lead.


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92 Responses to CONTEST: Come Up with a Warning Label For a Ball

  1. Adam Kampia November 18, 2016 at 10:54 am #

    Not to be used as a flotation device.

  2. diane November 18, 2016 at 10:57 am #

    WARNING: This device is not designed to be thrown at anyone.

  3. Scott November 18, 2016 at 11:09 am #

    WARNING: Due to it’s shape, this device does not provide a stable support. Do not attempt to sit or stand upon the ball. Severe physical harm or death may occur.

  4. Jeremy November 18, 2016 at 11:11 am #


  5. Christina November 18, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    Warning!! For decorative purposes only. Other uses may result in disfigurement, as can occur by placing in a high velocity cannon, choking or breathing restrictions, from placing in dislocated jaw, breathing restrictions or palpitations , such as by chasing ball by persons with undiagnosed medical condition, being struck by secondary moving object, as may occur with contact Or non contact sports, or death by uncontrollable laughter. Keep out of reach from children ages 18 and under.

  6. CLamb November 18, 2016 at 11:26 am #

    For external use only.

  7. En Passant November 18, 2016 at 11:30 am #

    Old hat (brazenly stolen from SNL, who did this long ago):

    Warning: Pregnant women, the elderly, and children under 10 should avoid prolonged exposure to Happy Fun Ball.

    Caution: Happy Fun Ball may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds.

    Happy Fun Ball contains a liquid core, which, if exposed due to rupture, should not be touched, inhaled, or looked at.

    Do not use Happy Fun Ball on concrete.

    Discontinue use of Happy Fun Ball if any of the following occurs:

    tingling in extremities
    loss of balance or coordination
    slurred speech
    temporary blindness
    profuse sweating
    or heart palpitations.

    If Happy Fun Ball begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head.

    Happy Fun Ball may stick to certain types of skin.

    When not in use, Happy Fun Ball should be returned to its special container and kept under refrigeration. Failure to do so relieves the makers of Happy Fun Ball, Wacky Products Incorporated, and its parent company, Global Chemical Unlimited, of any and all liability.

    Ingredients of Happy Fun Ball include an unknown glowing green substance which fell to Earth, presumably from outer space.

    Happy Fun Ball has been shipped to our troops in Saudi Arabia and is being dropped by our warplanes on Iraq.

    Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

  8. jimc5499 November 18, 2016 at 11:36 am #

    WARNING: This toy may cause impact injury when travelling at high speeds.
    This toy may change direction suddenly and unpredictably when impacting an object at high speeds.
    This toy may leech cancer causing chemicals in California. It is safe in all other States.

  9. lollipoplover November 18, 2016 at 11:44 am #


    BALLS may be bigger than BRAINS.

  10. JC Bowe November 18, 2016 at 11:59 am #

    Trigger Warning – this warning will talk about possible injuries – if you’ve possibly been injured in the past you may be triggered if you read this warning!!

    WARNING – this device is dangerous and should not be used in any possible way. Injuries possible include but are not limited to bruising, loss of eye, red mark, use of imagination and creativity, choking, tripping, broken bone, head injury, even death. This device should not be removed from it’s shipping container as doing so could also cause an injury or death.

  11. Doug Bergman November 18, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

    DANGER: Direct contact with sub-abdominal region may result in extreme amusement.

  12. John B. November 18, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

    WARNING: Choking hazard for all children 16-years-old or under. Do not place in mouth. Throwing and chasing this object could cause fatigue and an elevated heart rate in children 12-years-old or under resulting in lower subcutaneous fat levels. Adult supervision recommended.

  13. Matthew Trescher November 18, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

    WARNING: this is a toy and not to be used as an actual ball.

  14. fred schueler November 18, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

    May cause scratches and abrasions to face and arms if reached for when batted under a Multiflora Rose bush (this warning based on personal experience)

  15. Shawn L. November 18, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    “Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball”

    … This contest ought to have an extra rule: entries culled from the “Happy Fun Ball” fake ad from Saturday Night Live, will be ineligible.

  16. stacey November 18, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    Do not attempt to reinvent.

  17. Neil S November 18, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

    Caution: Sharp edges.

  18. Elisabeth November 18, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    WARNING: Use of this toy may result in young children associating the spherical shape with pleasurable experiences and excitement, thereby exposing them to threats from other more dangerous spherical objects including, but not limited to:
    – Bombs of the variety documented in films about known terrorist, Wile E. Coyote;
    – Noses on creepy clowns that could lure them into the woods or a life in the circus;
    – the Moon, a low-gravity region known for causing suffocation and interest in rocket science.

  19. Robert Monroe, Jr. November 18, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    Caution: Ball may provide user with minutes if not hours of fun providing the user with unreal expectations of happiness when playing with other toys. Adults are encouraged to limit playing time and removing the toy when the user shows signs of enjoying themselves.

  20. Shelly Stow November 18, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

    Warning: This object is prone to bouncing. Do not operate without wearing protective eye goggles and a nose and mouth guard.

  21. bob magee November 18, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    Caution: for educational purposes only.
    Not to be taken internally.
    Drop with caution – ball may bounce.
    Do not play “ball” in traffic
    Do not play “ball” while driving
    Caution: “ball” may provoke nostalgia in older persons. Not responsible for pulled muscles.
    Do not place small children on “ball”
    May not be organic or hypo-allergenic; use caution when engaging with “ball”

  22. Kenny Felder November 18, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    WARNING: Nine out of ten safety experts agree that no matter what you do or don’t do with this ball, your child will die some day.

  23. Kenny Felder November 18, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    For recreational purposes only. Do not use as a metaphor for having a great time. Do not use as a metaphor for masculinity or courage. Do not confuse with a formal dance.

  24. Kenny Felder November 18, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

    Do not clutch this ball tightly in your right hand and then jump off a ten-story building. (*This would work best with a little stick figure drawing.)

  25. Rhonda Fisher November 18, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

    WARNING: Children and adults who attempt to use this ball may experience frustration, angst, or disappointment when realizing they cannot catch it easily or throw it straight enough. Some may think practice will improve on this skill, but it is strongly recommended that a safe space be provided for users who are overwhelmed by their inability to use the ball perfectly.

  26. BL November 18, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

    Excessive use may cause drowsiness.

  27. En Passant November 18, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

    Shawn L. wrote November 18, 2016 at 12:25 pm:

    … This contest ought to have an extra rule: entries culled from the “Happy Fun Ball” fake ad from Saturday Night Live, will be ineligible.

    Harumph! I did not cull those warnings from SNL. As I wrote in the first line, I brazenly stole them.

  28. Emily November 18, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

    Dangerous when combined with childhood.

  29. Janet November 18, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

    WARNING: Toy intended to be used in social groups. May exacerbate pale skin, poor muscle tone, loneliness or depression in neighborhoods lacking sufficient numbers of free range kids.

  30. Kirsten November 18, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

    What could go wrong with a brightly colored ball made of soft plastic in a size that fits easily in a child’s hands? Plenty! Balls teach children that it is all right to throw things – what else do you think they will throw once the ball has taught them this? The bottom line is BALL THROWING IS VIOLENCE. Yes, even when there’s no “victim” because in a sense when a ball is thrown we all become victims. And although we all attempt to watch our children’s every move every second of the day there may be several seconds once in a while when you take your eye off your child, such as when your spouse is standing right in front of you shouting your name, and during those seconds your child might actually be tempted to throw the ball *at* someone. Can you imagine the heartache of being “that parent”, yes, the one whose darling, lovable, imperfect, snowflakes-on-lashes, “I love your more”, adorable, angel of a work in progress has committed VIOLENCE against another child? And think of the costs of the years of psychiatry bills and prescriptions for OAADS-SPT (Outward Abnormal Aggression Disorder Syndrome with Spherical Propellant Tendencies)?

  31. That mum November 18, 2016 at 1:29 pm #

    Do not ingest.

  32. Backroads November 18, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

    Not to be used to exclude other children. Sharing and play circle use strongly recommended.

  33. Mike November 18, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

    Caution: Contains maximum volume per surface area. May cause unexpected geometric research into spheres. Danger: Triple surface integrals are hard to master, using this device may result in mathematical University degrees.

  34. Alanna November 18, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

    Danger:You could get hit in the face with this toy.

  35. Joyce Farrell November 18, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

    Do not destroy! Ball lives matter!

  36. Alanna November 18, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

    Warning: Ball carries germs. Wash after each use.

  37. Rick November 18, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

    “WARNING! To avoid risk of serious injury or death: Always wear groin protection. Never put ball in orifices. Do not roll or throw ball near a street, drain, sewer, or body of water without adult supervision. Do not attempt to ski while throwing ball near trees, light poles or other vertical hazards. Do not throw ball while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Ball may trigger emotional distress in some college students. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes consult your doctor first before attempting to throw ball.”

  38. Havva November 18, 2016 at 2:31 pm #

    Warning: When exposed to ball, child may demand to be allowed outside. Exposure to ball may cause child to meet and engage with strangers.

  39. Joyce Farrell November 18, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

    May interfere with digestion if swallowed.

  40. Rhiannon November 18, 2016 at 5:08 pm #

    WARNING: Do not allow you child to play with this toy unless heavily supervised by a capable and responsible adult who has been suitably indoctrinated by our society into believing that absolutely everything in the world is an immediate threat to our children.

  41. Brett Knoss November 18, 2016 at 5:34 pm #

    This object can be filled with drugs weapons or chokable ojects. Discard if seperated.

  42. Mya Greene November 18, 2016 at 6:19 pm #

    Warning: Using this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling is a violation of Federal law. For external use only. If ingested contact poison control immediately. Give milk or water if conscious, and do not induce vomiting. CHOKING HAZARD: This toy contains a small ball. Keep out of reach of children.

  43. lsl November 18, 2016 at 6:24 pm #

    Inspired by the rain delay at the World Series:

    Warning: Do not use when wet. Balls may become slippery and hard to control. If filled with water, they may also cause a concussion if they come into contact with heads at high speeds.

  44. Gregory Dwyer November 18, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

    Warning: This toy lacks corners and therefore presents great danger to those who make their money suing over injuries sustained by toys.

  45. AB November 18, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

    All balls must submit to background checks and fingerprinting, and no ball will be left alone with a child without the presence of at least one other ball in the room.

  46. Chuck G November 18, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

    Realizing that this is probably a better place to submit my entry than on Twitter…

    “WARNING! This ball is spherically symmetrical and may inspire curiosity in areas such as mathematics, physics, and logic which can lead to thinking for ones own self.”

  47. SanityAnyone? November 18, 2016 at 9:41 pm #

    CAUTION: Use of ball in front of other children may lead to jealousy, whining and tantrums. Playing catch with another child may cause dangerous feelings of marginalization by onlookers.

    NOTE: Playing ball is an excellent STEM enrichment activity. Be sure to discuss concepts such as velocity, angles of incidence and refraction, and geometry with responsible adults at each use.

  48. SanityAnyone? November 18, 2016 at 9:44 pm #

    Ooops… Make that incidence and reflection. Where was my responsible adult when I wrote that?

  49. SanityAnyone? November 18, 2016 at 9:48 pm #

    Warning, if you bounce this too high it might break through the ceiling causing the house to cave in on you.

    Alaina, 12

  50. SanityAnyone? November 18, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

    My 3 kids and I laughed our heads off at these. Here’s one from my 13 year old son.

    Warning: Do not misgender toy formerly known as “ball”.

  51. Rags November 18, 2016 at 11:44 pm #

    WARNING: This spherical, globe shaped object is almost as sharp as the minds that object to a child’s right to be children, and a parent’s right to raise them according to their values.

  52. John S November 19, 2016 at 12:44 am #

    Important! Please read all instructions and warnings before use.

    Caution! Use of this object may lead untrained or unprepared users to perform dangerous acts in the presence of others, including but not limited to kicking and swinging at the object with sticks, bats, and other long cylindrical objects in order to propel the object in a direction as fast as possible. Manufacturer strongly recommends only manufacturer-certified shoes, bats, rackets, mallets be used for these and other relevant purposes or uses.

    If the user wishes to throw, kick, or swing at this object, he* should be first properly trained and if possible certified in the use of this object order to minimize chances of this object going in directions the user does not wish to direct it.

    To minimize chances of injury or disability, manufacturer recommends user to be at all times not less than ten (10) meters from the nearest or closest potential user and all spectators.

    Manufacturer shall not assume any fault or responsibility if this object damages any property including but not limited to plants; injures any onlooker, passerby, or pets; or causes any distress in any party, including but not limited to attempted theft, envy, refusal to allow other potential users access to this object.

    In case of question or dispute, in all cases the matter will be referred to mandatory binding arbitration.

    (*For legal purposes and needs, “he” shall be used in all instances.)

  53. sexhysteria November 19, 2016 at 5:42 am #

    Avoid contact with the genital area as harmful overstimulation may result.

  54. Becky Henza November 19, 2016 at 8:55 am #

    Use of this product has been shown to cause increases in neurotransmitters know to affect personality and mood, as well as increased heart rate and muscle tone. Consult with a physician before use. Discontinue use if personality changes or heartbeat becomes erratic. Manufacturer of this product is not responsible for any emotional distress use or discontinued use may cause. Use at your own risk.

  55. Gina November 19, 2016 at 11:07 am #

    Do not allow child to put mouth on ball near inflation opening. Child may inhale air and explode.

  56. Eyes Rolling November 19, 2016 at 6:08 pm #

    Warning! Excessive ball play may lead to increased aerobic capacity, muscle engorgement, prematurely attractive physique leading to dating, decreased studying, doping, steroid use and dropping out of school.

  57. SteveD November 19, 2016 at 6:14 pm #


    Any contact with this product — our website, personnel, or anything remotely related to this product, might result in harm or death. This is not likely to happen, but you have been warned. It’s a possibility. Our company guarantees nothing. What you get is what you get.

    We do not guarantee your satisfaction because satisfaction is a feeling and an emotional state that can change from good to bad, and back to good again, in a matter of seconds, minutes, or hours.

    Just as people have died because of their behavior related to many products — like walking into busy traffic while looking at a cellphone, or falling off a ladder — your use of our product is likely to be enjoyable and trouble-free depending our your state of mind at the moment.

    No one should use our product or website without realizing that this contact might mean death to either you, your relatives, friends, or even random strangers.

  58. CrazyCatLady November 19, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

    Warning! Use of this item may lead to an understanding of physics! Do not use without a certified Science Teacher!

  59. CrazyCatLady November 19, 2016 at 8:25 pm #

    Because every warning must have some basis in fact, here is one from person experience that I am currently recovering from:

    Soccer ball: “Use of this item in a game may result in players tripping, causing heads to collide resulting broken cheek bone.”

    I was assistant coach for the day, and offered to play as the boys’ team was short on players. The kid whose head hit my face was my son. I am a bit wary of balls flying in the air right now (at least until this heals.) This group has over 200 kids playing each fall and spring session and has been doing this for at least 7 years. I am the first to have an injury of this sort.

  60. Jessica November 19, 2016 at 8:26 pm #

    I think the very first one wins. “flotation device” is hilarious, Adam

  61. Chris November 20, 2016 at 5:01 am #

    For collectors only. Not for children.

    (actual product warning label, found on a tin toy)

  62. BL November 20, 2016 at 7:45 am #

    “For collectors only. Not for children.

    (actual product warning label, found on a tin toy)”

    Not surprising. Probably 95% of the toys middle-aged and older people used when they were kids are now considered lethally dangerous, hopelessly politically incorrect, or both.

  63. Korou November 20, 2016 at 9:18 am #

    This ball is small, soft and round.
    Use it at your own risk.

  64. Jill November 20, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

    Ball is to be played with only under the supervision of two adults certified in CPR who have undergone an extensive background check.
    Adult males who own white vans and who could possibly, by some stretch of the imagination, be described as “creepy,” are automatically disqualified to act as supervisors of minor children playing with ball. Attempting to do so may result in a minimum fine of $25,000 and imprisonment of five to ten years.
    Running with ball is discouraged, as it may result in falling down.
    Throwing the ball at another person is an act of aggression and may be subject to fine or imprisonment in a juvenile detention facility, (aka “kid jail.”)
    Looking at ball for prolonged periods of time in direct sunlight may cause retinal damage. Wear proper eye protection at all times.
    Kicking ball is forbidden. Don’t even think about it.
    Rolling ball rapidly is also forbidden, as it angers the Elder Gods.
    Do not bounce ball.
    Do not eat ball.
    Do not speak harshly to ball.
    Sitting quietly and contemplating ball is allowed with written permission from the Unified Council on Approved Activities.
    Do not Bake ball in a 350-degree oven for forty-five minutes, or until tender.
    Do not attempt to smoke the ball. It will not get you high, no matter what your cousin Michael says.

  65. Earth.W November 20, 2016 at 4:07 pm #

    Caution: Round thing may cause child to enjoy sunlight and have provide exercise.

  66. Papilio November 20, 2016 at 5:15 pm #

    Warning: May contain traces of latex

    Actually, it wouldn’t surprise me if this were real already…

  67. ras November 20, 2016 at 6:33 pm #

    This ball will not lie to Mom about how the lamp got broken.

  68. Chris November 20, 2016 at 9:17 pm #

    May become a projectile if thrown or kicked.

  69. Nancy November 20, 2016 at 9:49 pm #

    Warning: you may poke your eye out
    (Inspired by “A Christmas Story”)

  70. Floyd Stearns November 20, 2016 at 9:52 pm #


    These balls, especially the red ones, may contain really bad stuff and/or inflated with gaseous chemicals known by the State of California (as are most elements known to man) to cause really huge bouts of nausea and Gastrointestinal Symptoms and Anxiety Disorders.

    It is advised that these balls be handled only with gloved hands and a properly fitted gas mask.

  71. Nikola November 21, 2016 at 2:47 am #

    WARNING: Do not leave your child unattended when using this product. Not to be used as a flotation device. Read safety manual before use.

  72. Nikola November 21, 2016 at 3:09 am #

    WARNING: May cause traumatic injuries, or aggressive behavior. Consult your doctor before using this product. Call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms: memory gaps (during periods of use), hyperfocus, elevated heart rate, sweating, heavy breathing, redness of skin, increased body temperature.

  73. Eberhard W. November 21, 2016 at 7:50 am #

    WARNING: Ball comes with rounded edges and might slip through hands.

  74. Miss P November 21, 2016 at 10:06 am #

    “May bounce if dropped”

    Bob Magee did this one, I just shortened it.

  75. AmyO November 21, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

    WARNING! Do not kick, toss, throw, roll, bounce, or juggle ball. Such actions may result in minor injury or death. Recommended for holding only. Choking hazard for children under the age of 12, somehow. Do not allow children to play unsupervised, ever.

  76. Xena November 21, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

    Reflection in shiny ball may be distorted.

  77. chris watts November 21, 2016 at 4:55 pm #

    Warning- This ball contains air from the Peoples Republic of China. Inhalation may result in cognitive impairment or autism.

  78. Missus H. November 21, 2016 at 8:42 pm #

    Caution: Ball may roll.

  79. Noims November 22, 2016 at 11:37 am #

    Warning: liable to explode under pressure

  80. Shelly James November 22, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

    If exposed to heat, Ball may expand and explode. Do not play with Ball near a heat source, or anyplace that is ever exposed to heat, such as a kitchen, a room with a radiator, or outdoors.

    Prolonged play with Ball may result in sweating, heavy breathing, or both. Please monitor your heart rate at all times while playing with Ball.

  81. Yonassan Gershom November 22, 2016 at 4:24 pm #

    Warning: Do not bounce, throw, or hit this ball in the direction of other people. May cause bruises to ego if dropped.

  82. Brian Langford November 22, 2016 at 5:07 pm #

    Warning – trip hazard! Do not throw at or kick at anyone, may cause injury! Do not drop on, throw at or kick at hard surface as ball may bounce unpredictably!

  83. Trevor November 22, 2016 at 6:35 pm #

    caution. This object is intended for recreational use. It’s shape is designed so that it may be held in the hand and it’s weight has been calibrated in order to be thrown 0 to 60 feet. It’s materials are manufactured so no damage occurs to the body when it is caught. We will not be held liable for malicious use and advise all customers to use

    And then it starts over, because it’s a ball.

  84. Jessica November 22, 2016 at 9:46 pm #

    Warning: This ball should be used under adult supervision only. Do not use in slippery or slightly damp conditions. To be used on soft padded surfaces only. Use of a helmet is recommended. If any hole or tear develops discard immediately.

  85. Sally November 23, 2016 at 12:42 am #

    Not to be used by children under 13. Should only be used under careful supervision of a watchful adult.

  86. intlreader November 23, 2016 at 2:49 am #

    Avoid contact with ground (it may bounce) and atmosphere (it may fly).

  87. Derek W Logue of November 23, 2016 at 8:18 am #

    I’d make a joke right now but I lack the BALLS to do it. Heh.

  88. Richard November 23, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

    (copied from FB)

    Warning: may cause exhaustion and shortness of breath. Prolonged use may seriously alter both emotional and physical balance and, depending on environmental factors, could contribute to sun exposure. Also almost certainly contains a substance known to the state of California to cause cancer, and known to kids everywhere to cause smiling.

    Do not taunt happy fun ball.

  89. BL November 23, 2016 at 4:44 pm #

    Warning: bouncing, striking or throwing the ball will void warranty.

  90. Gina November 26, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

    Who won? What was their warning????

  91. Emily November 26, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

    >>Who won? What was their warning????<<

    Maybe Lenore's just going to send all of us participation ribbons, because competing in a "warning label for a ball" contest may result in low self-esteem from losing.

  92. whencut November 29, 2016 at 9:01 am #

    The term ‘special kids’ often relates to kids with special needs. Special needs imply that a child has a medical, psychological or mental disorder. However, these kids are just similar to all the kids around except for that they have some disability, perhaps in the form of poor communication abilities, disruptive behaviors, sensory integration challenges or lack of focus in a kid concerning learning. It is for these kids and their parents that art therapy was formally introduced as a solution.